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  • Thumbnail for Landscape - detail of frontispiece
    Landscape - detail of frontispiece by attrib. Wang Hui (1632-1717)

    The Wang Hui attribution is probably spurious. The painting is, however, a good example of orthodox landscape in the late imperial period. 67 7/8" x 12 7/8". Ink and colors on satin. Very much darkened with some in-painting. To see the painting, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Woman With a Fan from an Album of Eight Genre Scenes
    Woman With a Fan from an Album of Eight Genre Scenes by Shen Quan (1672-1762)

    Shen Quan's album of figures include a 1) female immortal goddess on a donkey, 2) a scene of parting, with a male figure carrying a gourd, 3) a couple kneeling before an altar, 4) the three sages (Buddha, Confucius, Laozi), 5) a female immortal with female attendant and deer, 6) a pair of figures cutting bamboo, 7) the woman with a fan, and 8) a pair of musicians. The paintings are competent , but not outstanding. They represent a variety of popular figures, gods, practices and would have had popular appeal in the late imperial period. They demonstrate the strength and vitality of narrative imagery, even in the post-Dong Qichang age, when orthodox landscape painting was dominated with elite views of painting. Each is 6 3/16 x 10 3/8 inches. Ink and colors on silk. To view another of the genre scenes, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Great Egret - detail
    Great Egret - detail by Wang Yuan

    Possibly a work by a follower of Zhao Mengfu. The painting is very fine, probably cut down from a larger composition and now in a Japanese mounting. The subject and composition are inspired by Song bird-and-flower painting, but the slightly stylized qualities suggest a later date, possibly as early as the late Yuan, but also possibly Ming dynasty. To view the entire work, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Scholars' Occupations
    Scholars' Occupations by Gu Luo (1763-?)

    This colorful and pleasant image of scholars in a garden is a standard subject. It shows scholars playing chess, examining painting or calligraphy, playing the zithers. Servant boys bring books behind. It is an idealized image, set in springtime, and would have been appealing to scholars and to those who shared scholarly, cultural values. 12 5/8 x 106 5/8 inches. Ink and colors on paper.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of One Hundred Boys
    Painting of One Hundred Boys by Gu Luo (1763-?)

    Gu Luo employs the same pastel, bright palette for depicting an auspicious subject of 100 boys playing. This theme would have been functional as a gift for a newlywed couple. The image is delightful and humorous. 11 15/16 x 88 15/16 inches. Ink and colors on silk.

  • Thumbnail for Image of Li Tiekuai from Album of 9 Sketches
    Image of Li Tiekuai from Album of 9 Sketches by Li Yunzhou

    The images are lively and engaging. Subjects are humorous, yet sensitively done. Style owes something to the Shanghai school of painting. 1) sage and boy gathering mushrooms, 2) itinerant blind musicians, 3) sage with bamboo fishing pole, 4) children playing music, 5) scholar leaning on a rock, 6) children lighting a firecracker, 7) Li Tiekuai, 8) scholars about to write at a low stone table, 9) female zither player. Ink on paper. The album is in poor condition. To view another image from the album, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait of Huang Daozhou accompanying painting of Bamboo in Dew, Pine in Wind
    Portrait of Huang Daozhou accompanying painting of Bamboo in Dew, Pine in Wind by Jiao Bingzhen

    This image precedes a very long handscroll that includes an additional series of colophons as well as a title frontispiece. It is historically quite interesting since the artist of the handscroll, Huang Daozhou, was a notable Ming patriot and martyr. His biography is included beside the portrait, which precede the ink bamboo and pine. The authors of the other colophons praise Huang. 103 x 15 1/2 inches.

  • Thumbnail for Scholars' Occupations - detail of inscription and seal
    Scholars' Occupations - detail of inscription and seal by Gu Luo (1763-?)

    Detail of the inscription and seal found on the Scholars' Occupations handscroll. This colorful and pleasant image of scholars in a garden is a standard subject. It shows scholars playing chess, examining painting or calligraphy, playing the zithers. Servant boys bring books behind. It is an idealized image, set in springtime, and would have been appealing to scholars and to those who shared scholarly, cultural values. 12 5/8 x 106 5/8 inches for entire handscroll. To view the scroll, click on the related record number below.

  • Thumbnail for Landscapes with Cranes - detail of inscription
    Landscapes with Cranes - detail of inscription by Lu Zhi (1496-1576) (attributed)

    This seventh album leaf is the text attributing the album to Lu Zhi. The attribution is spurious. The landscapes are fairly well done, but at times, the cranes are awkwardly rendered. The subject is an auspicious one, and the album would have made a nice birthday present, wishing the recipient a long life. The images are pleasant, probably dates to the Qing dynasty.10 1/2 x 12 inches. For one image from the album, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Landscape attributed to Wang Hui
    Landscape attributed to Wang Hui by attrib. Wang Hui (1632-1717)

    The Wang Hui attribution is probably spurious. The painting is, however, a good example of orthodox landscape in the late imperial period. 67 7/8" x 12 7/8". Ink and colors on satin. Very much darkened with some in-painting. To view the frontispiece, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Suzhou Landscape
    Suzhou Landscape by Xu Fang (1622-1694)

    A decent, if not innovative example of the scholar-literati, late orthodox style. The misty 'Mi' dotting on the middle and the distant mountains is applied rather mechanically. But we can enter the landscape and move through it as the scholar crossing the bridge demonstrates. 12" x 67 1/2". Ink on paper.

  • Thumbnail for Amitabha Dharani Sutra - end of scroll
    Amitabha Dharani Sutra - end of scroll

    On the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation, Charles R. Bennett ('07) gifted this woodblock-printed, illustrated Buddhist text to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Dating to the year 975, the Amitabha Sutra is probably the earliest printed object in the college's collection. Consider that the world's earliest dated printed book is the Buddhist Diamond Sutra of 868 (now in the British Library) and that the Gutenberg Bible hails from the mid-1400s. Mr. Bennett, who lived and worked in China for two decades after graduating, remarked that the sutra was recovered from a brick of a pagoda in the city of Hangzhou. Indeed , on September 25, 1924, the famous Leifeng ("Thunder Peak") Pagoda collapsed. Erected by a regional king, the Leifeng Pagoda stood on the southern bank of the scenic West Lake for nearly a millenium. In 2000-01, a team of excavators revealed an underground chamber filled with gilt silver and bronze sculptures along with artifacts of stone and jade. In addition, the excavation confirmed the presence of bricks with cylindrical cavities that once held printed sutras. Bowdoin's sutra, not quite 3 inches high but almost seven feet long, is currently mounted as a handscroll. Its condition attests to its age, but as we may still distinguish from right to left a dedication, an illustration, and a sutra text. The dedication tells us that the king, Wang Qianchu, commissioned 84,000 copies of this sutra to be placed in the pagoda in the 8th month of the year 975. The illustration shows two distinct moments. At right a worshipper kneels at an altar table placed before a holy triad comprised of a seated Buddhist deity and a pair of monks. At left, the deity appears to a beseeching worshipper. Radiant jewels hang from above, fragrant flowers rain down, and a splendid stupa is placed at the center, giving the scene a sacred air. Following the illustration, the text records a story of how Buddha once restored a crumbling pagoda. It seems likely that by placing many copies of this sutra in Leifeng Pagoda, the king could ensure the building's continued existence. From a text drafted for a Bowdoin College Museum of Art newsletter by De-nin D. Lee. The entire work measures approximately 3" x 7'. Woodblock-printed, illustrated Buddhist text. To view other images related to this work, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Three Friends of Winter - detail of character inscription
    Three Friends of Winter - detail of character inscription by Yun Bing

    The subject is not really the three friends, since instead of pine, bamboo, and plum, we have plum, bamboo, two birds, a peony and a rock. The inscription gives Yun Bing, the daughter of Yun Shouping, as the artist. However, given the inaccurate descriptive title, we must be skeptical of that attribution. The painting may be somewhat later than the hopeful 1703 date. 38 x 16 1/16 inches. Ink and colors on silk.

  • Thumbnail for Amitabha Dharani Sutra - frontispiece with illustration
    Amitabha Dharani Sutra - frontispiece with illustration

    On the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation, Charles R. Bennett ('07) gifted this woodblock-printed, illustrated Buddhist text to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Dating to the year 975, the Amitabha Sutra is probably the earliest printed object in the college's collection. Consider that the world's earliest dated printed book is the Buddhist Diamond Sutra of 868 (now in the British Library) and that the Gutenberg Bible hails from the mid-1400s. Mr. Bennett, who lived and worked in China for two decades after graduating, remarked that the sutra was recovered from a brick of a pagoda in the city of Hangzhou. Indeed , on September 25, 1924, the famous Leifeng ("Thunder Peak") Pagoda collapsed. Erected by a regional king, the Leifeng Pagoda stood on the southern bank of the scenic West Lake for nearly a millenium. In 2000-01, a team of excavators revealed an underground chamber filled with gilt silver and bronze sculptures along with artifacts of stone and jade. In addition, the excavation confirmed the presence of bricks with cylindrical cavities that once held printed sutras. Bowdoin's sutra, not quite 3 inches high but almost seven feet long, is currently mounted as a handscroll. Its condition attests to its age, but as we may still distinguish from right to left a dedication, an illustration, and a sutra text. The dedication tells us that the king, Wang Qianchu, commissioned 84,000 copies of this sutra to be placed in the pagoda in the 8th month of the year 975. The illustration shows two distinct moments. At right a worshipper kneels at an altar table placed before a holy triad comprised of a seated Buddhist deity and a pair of monks. At left, the deity appears to a beseeching worshipper. Radiant jewels hang from above, fragrant flowers rain down, and a splendid stupa is placed at the center, giving the scene a sacred air. Following the illustration, the text records a story of how Buddha once restored a crumbling pagoda. It seems likely that by placing many copies of this sutra in Leifeng Pagoda, the king could ensure the building's continued existence. From text drafted for a Bowdoin College Museum of Art newsletter by De-nin D. Lee. The entire scroll measures approximately 3" x 7'. Woodblock-printed, illustrated Buddhist text. To view the text that accompanies this illustration, click on related records below.

  • Thumbnail for Crane by Pine and Waterfall from Album of 11 Miniature Sketches)
    Crane by Pine and Waterfall from Album of 11 Miniature Sketches) by Jin Xiaqi

    These sketches depict animals in landscapes 1) crane by pine and waterfall 2) two horses by stream 3) ox-herder and two oxen crossing a stone bridge 4) dragon cavorting above a frothy sea 5) a pair of peacocks on a riverbank 6) a group of horses in a pasture 7) mandarin ducks in a pond 8) monkey clinging to a hillock 9) white goats on a hillside 10) a pair of white cranes near bamboo 11) three spotted deer, plantain, and rock. Each album leaf is 5 1/16 x 3 1/2 inches. Ink and colors on silk. To see another image from the album, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Children Playing Music (Album of 9 Sketches)
    Children Playing Music (Album of 9 Sketches) by Li Yunzhou

    The images are lively and engaging. Subjects are humorous, yet sensitively done. Style owes something to the Shanghai school of painting. 1) sage and boy gathering mushrooms, 2) itinerant blind musicians, 3) sage with bamboo fishing pole, 4) children playing music, 5) scholar leaning on a rock, 6) children lighting a firecracker, 7) Li Tiekuai, 8) scholars about to write at a low stone table, 9) female zither player. Ink on paper. The condition of the works is poor. To view another image from the album, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Buddhist Deity
    Buddhist Deity

    Lotus flowers typically grow in muddy-bottomed ponds, but they bloom without the slightest stain. This image offers a vivid and powerful metaphor of purity emerging from an imperfect or polluted world. In a small painting recently acquired by the Museum, a crimson lotus with fine gold veins serves as a fitting throne for a Buddhist deity. The deity is Cundi, a feminine form of Avalokitesvara, the most beloved bodhisattva in East Asia. Framed by a perfect white orb and haloes around the body and head, the deity sits cross-legged, or in 'lotus' position. She wears an elaborate crown and jeweled necklace, and her superhuman abilities are signaled by a third eye in the center of her forehead an eighteen arms. Two primary hands communicate through their conventional gesture of teaching, while most of the others grasp symbolic objects, such as the sword of wisdom, the wheel of the Buddhist dharma (or law), and the fruit of enlightenment. Emerging from the sea below, two male figures wear dragon crowns and colorful robes, and carry jade scepters. They are the dragon kings Nanda and Upananda. Each raises an arm to lend additional support to the lotus, suggesting service to Buddhism. The painting is fine and decorative, typical of the courtly style of the eighteenth century. At this time in China, Manchu emperors embraced the esoteric teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and were active patrons of Buddhist art. The image of Cundi, who is unaffected by the turbulent waters and the winds below, presents an image of serenity and she continues to capture our attention today. Text by De-nin D. Lee - published in Bowdoin College Museum of Art newsletter Spring 2006, p7.

  • Thumbnail for Monkey Clinging to Hillock from an Album of 11 Miniature Sketches)
    Monkey Clinging to Hillock from an Album of 11 Miniature Sketches) by Jin Xiaqi

    These sketches depict animals in landscapes 1) crane by pine and waterfall 2) two horses by stream 3) ox-herder and two oxen crossing a stone bridge 4) dragon cavorting above a frothy sea 5) a pair of peacocks on a riverbank 6) a group of horses in a pasture 7) mandarin ducks in a pond 8) monkey clinging to a hillock 9) white goats on a hillside 10) a pair of white cranes near bamboo 11) three spotted deer, plantain, and rock. Each album leaf is 5 1 /16 x 3 1/2 inches. Ink and colors on silk. To view another image from this album, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Amitabha Dharani Sutra - middle of scroll
    Amitabha Dharani Sutra - middle of scroll

    On the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation, Charles R. Bennett ('07) gifted this woodblock-printed, illustrated Buddhist text to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Dating to the year 975, the Amitabha Sutra is probably the earliest printed object in the college's collection. Consider that the world's earliest dated printed book is the Buddhist Diamond Sutra of 868 (now in the British Library) and that the Gutenberg Bible hails from the mid-1400s. Mr. Bennett, who lived and worked in China for two decades after graduating, remarked that the sutra was recovered from a brick of a pagoda in the city of Hangzhou. Indeed , on September 25, 1924, the famous Leifeng ("Thunder Peak") Pagoda collapsed. Erected by a regional king, the Leifeng Pagoda stood on the southern bank of the scenic West Lake for nearly a millenium. In 2000-01, a team of excavators revealed an underground chamber filled with gilt silver and bronze sculptures along with artifacts of stone and jade. In addition, the excavation confirmed the presence of bricks with cylindrical cavities that once held printed sutras. Bowdoin's sutra, not quite 3 inches high but almost seven feet long, is currently mounted as a handscroll. Its condition attests to its age, but as we may still distinguish from right to left a dedication, an illustration, and a sutra text. The dedication tells us that the king, Wang Qianchu, commissioned 84,000 copies of this sutra to be placed in the pagoda in the 8th month of the year 975. The illustration shows two distinct moments. At right a worshipper kneels at an altar table placed before a holy triad comprised of a seated Buddhist deity and a pair of monks. At left, the deity appears to a beseeching worshipper. Radiant jewels hang from above, fragrant flowers rain down, and a splendid stupa is placed at the center, giving the scene a sacred air. Following the illustration, the text records a story of how Buddha once restored a crumbling pagoda. It seems likely that by placing many copies of this sutra in Leifeng Pagoda, the king could ensure the building's continued existence. (text drafted for a Bowdoin College Museum of Art newsletter by De-nin D. Lee. The entire scroll measures approximately 3" x 7'. Woodblock-printed, illustrated Buddhist text. To view more of the scroll, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for General Zhu Zhixi in His Garden - colophons and text
    General Zhu Zhixi in His Garden - colophons and text by Jiao Bingzhen (1689-1726)

    Colophons and text attached to the handscroll General Zhu Zhixi in His Garden. The inscription gives Jiao Bingzhen as the artist, though the painting is probably later in date. The painting depicts a scene from the biography of General Zhu Zhixi, president of the Board of War for the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty. A biography is appended. The scene shows the general in a library set into a garden, with servants nearby.To see the entire scroll, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Frontispiece to painting of One Hundred Boys
    Frontispiece to painting of One Hundred Boys by Gu Luo (1763-?)

    Frontispiece giving date and title to the painting of One Hundred Boys by Gu Luo. The painting employs the same pastel, bright palette for depicting an auspicious subject of 100 boys playing. This theme would have been functional as a gift for a newlywed couple. The image is delightful and humorous.11 15/16 x 88 15/16 inches. Ink and colors on silk. To see the entire scroll, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Bamboo in Dew, Pine in Wind
    Bamboo in Dew, Pine in Wind by Huang Daozhou, Jiao Bingzhen

    This very long handscroll includes an additional series of colophons as well as a title frontispiece. It is historically quite interesting as the artist, Huang Daozhou, was a notable Ming patriot and martyr. His biography is included beside the portrait, which precedes the ink bamboo and pine. The authors of the other colophons praise Huang. The painting Bamboo in Dew, Pine in Wind is preceded by a biography of Huang Daozhou, and a portrait of Huang attributed to Jiao Bingzhen. 103 x 15 1/2 inches. Ink on satin for the painting. The portrait can be seen by clicking on the related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Landscape in the style of Ni Zan from an Album of Eight Miniature Landscapes
    Landscape in the style of Ni Zan from an Album of Eight Miniature Landscapes by Zhang Peidun (1772-1846)

    This album of landscapes demonstrates Zhang's ability to paint in a number of classic idioms, including the misty "Mi" family style, and the style of Ni Zan. The album could have functioned as an artist's sketchbook of compositions and styles, but it would have had value for collectors. A good representation of the orthodox styles available to artists of the late imperial period. 7 5/8 x 4 7/8 inches. Ink on paper.

  • Thumbnail for General Zhu Zhixi in His Garden - title inscription and seal
    General Zhu Zhixi in His Garden - title inscription and seal by Jiao Bingzhen (1689-1726)

    Title inscription and seal attached to handscroll General Zhu Zhixi in His Garden. The inscription gives Jiao Bingzhen as the artist, though the painting is probably later in date. The painting depicts a scene from the biography of General Zhu Zhixi, president of the Board of War for the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty. A biography is appended. The scene shows the general in a library set into a garden, with servants nearby. To see the entire scroll, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Landscape in the style of Mi Fu from Album of Eight Minature Landscapes
    Landscape in the style of Mi Fu from Album of Eight Minature Landscapes by Zhang Peidun (1772-1846)

    This album of landscapes demonstrates Zhang's ability to paint in a number of classic idioms, including the misty "Mi" family style, and the style of Ni Zan. The album could have functioned as an artist's sketchbook of compositions and styles, but it would have had value for collectors. A good representation of the orthodox styles available to artists of the late imperial period. 7 5/8 x 4 7/8 inches. Ink on paper. See related album leaf by clicking on related record below.