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  • Thumbnail for Rakuchu Rakugai - "In and Around the City of Kyoto" - detail from left side
    Rakuchu Rakugai - "In and Around the City of Kyoto" - detail from left side

    Detail of scene from right screen of an original pair of 6-fold screens; 67" H. x 142" W. (6 panels)The type originated in the Momoyama period, when they were presented to visiting warlords, to take home as a memento of their visit to Kyoto. This particular example is relatively late for the type, but a good example. The iconography for this particular type of screen pairs is set, and this example follows the program for the right hand screen of the original pair, depicting the colorful floats of the Gion Matsuri (Kyoto’s “signature†festival) in LR, and various Kyoto landmarks, like the Kiyomizudera (a temple with a veranda supported on high pilings) in the upper right.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait of a Man -  detail of inscription
    Portrait of a Man - detail of inscription

    Possibly an ancestor portrait of a Qing-type figure. Male has graying beard, wears traditional Qing cap.Bright blue, fur-lined robe decorated with cranes on phoenixes. Undergarment has 4-clawed dragons, flaming pearl, over stylized rocks and waves. Very cursive character faintly visible here. Further inscription on base of throne is written sideways.

  • Thumbnail for Butsudan - Private Buddhist altarpiece
    Butsudan - Private Buddhist altarpiece

    11.5 x 5 inches overall; figure 7.75"; base 3.75". Made of black lacquer. This kind of Buddhist family altar may have contained memorial tablets for dead ancestors, and/or images of various deities, depending on the sect of Buddhism. Historically, it was maintained by a family in the home, in addition to a Shinto household shrine. Label notes that the butsudan was a gift of S. Ogata.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait of a Man
    Portrait of a Man

    Possibly an ancestor portrait of a Qing type figure. Male has graying beard, wears traditional Qing cap. Bright blue, fur-lined robe decorated with cranes on phoenixes. Undergarment has 4-clawed dragons, flaming pearl, over stylized rocks and waves.

  • Thumbnail for Six Figures from Hokusai manga
    Six Figures from Hokusai manga by Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)

    Front label misspells the name, lists it as "Hokussai"; should be Hokusai. Registrar's printout also lists the artist's last name as Hokusai, first name as Katsushika; bear in mind that Japanese reverses the order we are used to in the West. So, Katsushika is the surname/family name; Hokusai, the name by which he is best known, is the personal name. On the back, says it was done 1820-30. This print is a page from Hokusai's Manga, a printed set of his sketchbooks, containing various figural, landscape, and bird-and-flower compositions, with a limited color palette involving the use of 3 blocks: the key block, which prints the black lines; a block inked for the flesh tones; and a block inked with light blue for the clothing. This particular page of the Manga shows male figures in various physical poses: the top two are bending/stretching, w. arms wrapped around legs, and hands clutching ankles. The middle two figures are seated and clutching each other's shoulders. The lower two are seated, and are engaged in leg wrestling.

  • Thumbnail for Wheel-thrown dark brown teabowl with brocade mat
    Wheel-thrown dark brown teabowl with brocade mat

    This teabowl, with its brocade mat and dark brown glaze, is said to have been one that was presented to soldiers upon their safe return in WWII. The teabowl has a right angle carved into the bottom of the foot; along the base of the bowl are Japanese characters; the mat is stripped aqua, mustard, forest green, orange, lavender and gray under a golden floral design with an animal all over.

  • Thumbnail for Tanegashima Rifle - detail of underside
    Tanegashima Rifle - detail of underside

    Flint and safety pin lacking, but otherwise in excellent condition. So, too, is the lacquered, fitted case, with its identifying mon, or crest of the daimyo clan for whom it was made. The firearm refers to one of the most interesting periods of Japanese history, and can be dated to a fairly precise time period, because such weapons did not exist in Japan before they were introduced by the Portuguese in 1543. The Portuguese had been blown off course in a storm and made landfall at Tanegashima, a small island off the coast of Kyushu (hence the name "Tanegashima" Rifle). This weapon is much more rare than a samurai sword because the time when it was in use was of such short duration. Use of such guns was banned early in the Edo period. This rifle is heavy! Metal fittings with lion on butt end. On lower surface of the rifle, metal fittings, as in sword furniture, with cloud pattern near the end (cf. smoke from firing). Halfway down is a flaming jewel. Back near the trigger, a 3-clawed dragon form in the clouds. Behind the dragon is a character on a round metal insert; then the trigger; on the bottom of the butt, another character. On the sides of the shoulder piece is further decoration (left side, cherry blossoms; right side, kara-shishi [Chinese lion-dog), and on upper surface is peony, often associated with the lion-dog in Japanese decorative arts. Above the trigger is a samurai helmet; on the metal assembly is another character, prob. the maker's symbol. Lacquered case is shaped to fit the rifle, and bears the mon of a five-petaled flower with circular petals, possibly a plum, within a circle.

  • Thumbnail for Shuji version of the Diamond  Mandala
    Shuji version of the Diamond Mandala

    16.25 x 14.25 inches. In Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, the Diamond World Mandala (J.: Kongkokai Mandara) is the active principle of the cosmos, the noumenal, or transcendent, spiritual expressio of the wisdom of Dainichi Nyorai, the Cosmic Universal Buddha in the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism. Over 1300 figures occupy 9 sections, with Dainich Nyorai in the center of the top row. The "kongo" [Sanskrit - vajra] actually means 'thunderbolt', the most comonly seen ritual implement of Shingon practice. In the shuji version of the mandara, seen here, Sanskrit characters called "seed-characters" (shuji) are substituted for the anthropomorphic forms of deities found on the traditional form. It should not necessarily be assumed that those who used a shuji mandara would be able to read the characters. The small scale suggests private usage, rather than hanging in a public place in a temple. Silk brocade mount is later; wood frame.

  • Thumbnail for Bishamon-ten (Tamon-ten), Guardian King of the North - back view
    Bishamon-ten (Tamon-ten), Guardian King of the North - back view

    23" high. Tamon-ten (Skt.: Vaishravana; Ch.: Duowen) is the alternate name for the Guardian King who later became known as Bishamon-ten. He is also one of the Shitenno, the one associated with the Northern direction, traditionally held to be the most dangerous direction from which evil spirits emanate -- so dangerous that cities in China and Japan, set up according to feng shui principles -- situate a Buddhist temple in that Northeast corner, to protect the city from those evil spirits. Tamon-ten holds a halberd in one hand (missing in this example), and a reliquary/stupa in the other hand, here resembling a flaming jewel). Paint has darkened, flaked off; no gilding visible.

  • Thumbnail for Sumo Wrestler Defeating a Westerner
    Sumo Wrestler Defeating a Westerner by Ipposai YOSHIFUJI (1828-87)

    Image of Sumo wrestler successfully tossing a westerner while man and woman looking on. Japanese characters are written on the top of the print and the lower right side. One of a series of prints that appeared during the time between the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853, and the actual beginning of the Meiji Era (1868-1912).

  • Thumbnail for Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section eight
    Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section eight

    Watercolor on paper with gold border on top and bottom of scroll, depicting drawing of parts of samurai's armor including helmet.

  • Thumbnail for Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section three
    Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section three

    Watercolor on paper with gold border on top and bottom of scroll, depicting drawing of parts of samurai's armor including helmet.

  • Thumbnail for Japanese Woman in Western Dress, Accompanied by a Servant Japanese Garb
    Japanese Woman in Western Dress, Accompanied by a Servant Japanese Garb by Ipposai YOSHITORA (?) (fl. c. 1850-80)

    Presents the contrast between native traditional female garb (worn by the servant girl), and the new European style clothing for women. The figure in Western garb here, however, still holds a Chinese fan shape decorated with a wave pattern. Yoshitora was a pupil of leading late Edo period printmaker Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861) was a member of the Yokohama School, but he did not reside there, and probably based his designs on the figures he could have seen in Western engravings. Publisher's seal, with stylized lotus over waves, identifies the publisher as Sakai Kawaguchi.

  • Thumbnail for Bishamon-ten (Tamon-ten), Guardian King of the North
    Bishamon-ten (Tamon-ten), Guardian King of the North

    23" high made of carved wood. Tamon-ten (Skt.: Vaishravana; Ch.: Duowen) is the alternate name for the Guardian King who later became known as Bishamon-ten. He is also one of the Shitenno, the one associated with the Northern direction, traditionally held to be the most dangerous direction from which evil spirits emanate -- so dangerous that cities in China and Japan, set up according to feng shui principles -- situate a Buddhist temple in that Northeast corner, to protect the city from those evil spirits. Tamon-ten holds a halberd in one hand (missing in this example), and a reliquary/stupa in the other hand, here resembling a flaming jewel). Paint has darkened, flaked off; no gilding visible.

  • Thumbnail for Mughal miniature painting - Man with White Beard and white Plumed Hat
    Mughal miniature painting - Man with White Beard and white Plumed Hat by Unknown

    Paint on ivory, 4-3/4 (L) x 3 (W) inches. Portrait of a prince wearing an elaborate turban of blue, brown, red and green with a floral design and white plum in front; brown fur is wrapped around his neck and hanging down on his cranberry garment which is covered with jewelry; four corners of the ivory have a floral motif while the portrait is enclosed in a oval wavy grey background.

  • Thumbnail for Padmasambhava (Thangka)
    Padmasambhava (Thangka) by Unknown

    This is a colored pencil drawing representing a thangka form, 23-1/2 (L) x 18 (W) inches. The Indian guru Padmasambhava is shown in the top center. Below to his left is his patron, the 8th century Tibetan king Trisong Detsen who invited him to spread Buddhist Dharma in Tibet. To his lower right is the Khembo (abbot) Shay-Wa-Tsen, who mediated between Padmasambhava and the king. A pair of crossed thunderbolts (vajras) ae located in the center of the composition. The snowy Himalayas and a clear blue sky are shown behind them. This image is also very skillfully rendered by an artist with prior training in the making of thangka paintings.

  • Thumbnail for One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi - back view
    One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi - back view

    16.5 inches in height. Originally painted; much has worn away. Inlaid eyes. Modern base. Almost a dancing stance, w. left foot partially raised, right hand on hip, left hand extended. The DePauw label identifies it as a Guardian Figure of Shogun Jizo, but this does not make sense; it is clearly not Jizo, as Jizo is a bodhisattva who is shown with a shaved head and dressed as a Buddhist priest; he is not a shogun, and not a guardian figure. It appears rather to be one of the Junishinsho (12 Guardian Generals) of Yakushi, the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. There is one general to guard each of 12 Vows of Healing that Yakushi was believed to have made. The most famous examples of this type of guardian figure are at Shin-Yakushiji in Nara (8th c.), and at Muroji (9th c.)

  • Thumbnail for Rakuchu Rakugai - "In and Around the City of Kyoto" - detail
    Rakuchu Rakugai - "In and Around the City of Kyoto" - detail

    Detail of right screen of an original pair of 6-fold screens; 67" H. x 142" W. (6 panels). The type originated in the Momoyama period, when they were presented to visiting warlords, to take home as a memento of their visit to Kyoto. This particular example is relatively late for the type, but a good example. The iconography for this particular type of screen pairs is set, and this example follows the program for the right hand screen of the original pair, depicting the colorful floats of the Gion Matsuri (Kyoto’s “signature†festival) in LR, and various Kyoto landmarks, like the Kiyomizudera (a temple with a veranda supported on high pilings) in the upper right.

  • Thumbnail for Tanegashima Rifle
    Tanegashima Rifle

    Flint and safety pin lacking, but otherwise in excellent condition. So, too, is the lacquered, fitted case, with its identifying mon, or crest of the daimyo clan for whom it was made. The firearm refers to one of the most interesting periods of Japanese history, and can be dated to a fairly precise time period, because such weapons did not exist in Japan before they were introduced by the Portuguese in 1543. The Portuguese had been blown off course in a storm and made landfall at Tanegashima, a small island off the coast of Kyushu (hence the name "Tanegashima" Rifle). This weapon is much more rare than a samurai sword because the time when it was in use was of such short duration. Use of such guns was banned early in the Edo period. This rifle is heavy! Metal fittings with lion on butt end. On lower surface of the rifle, metal fittings, as in sword furniture, with cloud pattern near the end (cf. smoke from firing). Halfway down is a flaming jewel. Back near the trigger, a 3-clawed dragon form in the clouds. Behind the dragon is a character on a round metal insert; then the trigger; on the bottom of the butt, another character. On the sides of the shoulder piece is further decoration (left side, cherry blossoms; right side, kara-shishi [Chinese lion-dog), and on upper surface is peony, often associated with the lion-dog in Japanese decorative arts. Above the trigger is a samurai helmet; on the metal assembly is another character, prob. the maker's symbol. Lacquered case is shaped to fit the rifle, and bears the mon of a five-petaled flower with circular petals, possibly a plum, within a circle.

  • Thumbnail for Shuji version of the Womb  Mandala
    Shuji version of the Womb Mandala

    16.25 x 14.25 inches. The Womb Mandala (J.: Taizokai Mandara) is the static principle of the cosmos; the matrix of all things, i.e., the material world of physical phenomena, with Dainichi Nyorai, the Cosmic Universal Buddha in the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism occupying the center. In the shuji version of this mandara, Sanskrit characters substitute for the images of Buddhas and other Buddhist deities normally seen on the mandara form. As a pair, this painting is coupled with the Diamond World Mandala [J: Kongokai Mandara] and are the "seed character" (shuji) versions of the Ryokai Mandara, or Mandalas of the Two Worlds. These pairs of mandara are devotional aids in the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan, emphasizing the phenomenal and the transcendant sides of the Cosmic, Universal Buddha Dainichi Nyorai. The pair of mandalas would be hung in a Shingon temple to provide focal points for contemplation and ritual religious practice, and could also have been used in initiation ceremonies for new initiates into the disciplines of Shingon. The small scale of this shuji pair suggests private devotional usage. These are later examples of a significant type, and the two should always be displayed together, as they would have been hung together in the temple.

  • Thumbnail for Bishamon-ten (Tamon-ten), Guardian King of the North - side view
    Bishamon-ten (Tamon-ten), Guardian King of the North - side view

    23" high. Tamon-ten (Skt.: Vaishravana; Ch.: Duowen) is the alternate name for the Guardian King who later became known as Bishamon-ten. He is also one of the Shitenno, the one associated with the Northern direction, traditionally held to be the most dangerous direction from which evil spirits emanate -- so dangerous that cities in China and Japan, set up according to feng shui principles -- situate a Buddhist temple in that Northeast corner, to protect the city from those evil spirits. Tamon-ten holds a halberd in one hand (missing in this example), and a reliquary/stupa in the other hand, here resembling a flaming jewel). Paint has darkened, flaked off; no gilding visible.

  • Thumbnail for Womb Mandala -  detail of center figures
    Womb Mandala - detail of center figures

    49 x 39 inches. The Womb Mandala (J.: Taizokai Mandara) is paired with the Diamond Mandala [J: Kongokai Mandara]. Together the two are known as the Mandalas of the Two Worlds [J: Ryokai Mandara], referring in Esoteric Buddhism of the Shingon Sect to the phenomenal [J: Taizokai] and the transcentdental [J: Kongokai] manifestations of the Cosmic, Universal Buddha[J: Dainichi Nyorai] that is encountered in Esoteric Buddhism. The Cosmic Buddha, Dainichi Nyorai, occupies the center of a red lotus blossom at the heart of the mandala; Buddhas of the four directions and four bodhisattvas associated with each one radiate from him on each of 8 petals. Wrathful manifestations [J: myoo] are below the lotus, and around it are arranged the hundreds of other figures.

  • Thumbnail for Views of Osaka
    Views of Osaka

    One of a pair (originally) of 6-panel screens; each panel is 68" x 25".A pre-modern work, a variant, in the Edo Period, of the Rakuchû Rakugai type of views of Kyoto. Here, we see scenes of Osaka. Suyari (clouds) applied in pieces.

  • Thumbnail for Tanegashima Rifle case
    Tanegashima Rifle case

    Flint and safety pin lacking, but otherwise in excellent condition. So, too, is the lacquered, fitted case, with its identifying mon, or crest of the daimyo clan for whom it was made. The firearm refers to one of the most interesting periods of Japanese history, and can be dated to a fairly precise time period, because such weapons did not exist in Japan before they were introduced by the Portuguese in 1543. The Portuguese had been blown off course in a storm and made landfall at Tanegashima, a small island off the coast of Kyushu (hence the name "Tanegashima" Rifle). This weapon is much more rare than a samurai sword because the time when it was in use was of such short duration. Use of such guns was banned early in the Edo period. This rifle is heavy! Metal fittings with lion on butt end. On lower surface of the rifle, metal fittings, as in sword furniture, with cloud pattern near the end (cf. smoke from firing). Halfway down is a flaming jewel. Back near the trigger, a 3-clawed dragon form in the clouds. Behind the dragon is a character on a round metal insert; then the trigger; on the bottom of the butt, another character. On the sides of the shoulder piece is further decoration (left side, cherry blossoms; right side, kara-shishi [Chinese lion-dog), and on upper surface is peony, often associated with the lion-dog in Japanese decorative arts. Above the trigger is a samurai helmet; on the metal assembly is another character, prob. the maker's symbol. Lacquered case is shaped to fit the rifle, and bears the mon of a five-petaled flower with circular petals, possibly a plum, within a circle.

  • Thumbnail for The Daimond Mandala - detail of central panel with deities
    The Daimond Mandala - detail of central panel with deities

    The Diamond Mandala (Kongokai Mandara; Skt.: Garbhadhatu Mandala) is paired with the Womb Mandala (Kongokai Mandara; Skt.: Vajradhatu Mandala). Together, the two forms are known as the Ryokai Mandara (or "Mandalas of the Two Worlds"), referring in Esoteric Buddhism of the Shingon sect to the phenomenal (Taizokai) and the transcendental (Kongokai) manifestations of Dainichi Nyorai (the version of the Cosmic, Universal Buddha Roshana [Skt. Vairocana] that is encountered in Esoteric Buddhism).