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

    67 inches H. x 142 inches 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 the 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 on throne
    Portrait of a Man - detail of inscription on throne

    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 in lower right. Further inscription on base of throne and written sideways shown here.

  • 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 The Daimond Mandala - detail of central panel deity
    The Daimond Mandala - detail of central panel deity

    The Diamond Mandala (Kongokai Mandara; Skt.: Garbhadhatu Mandala) is paired with the Womb Mandala (Taizokai 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). The other one of this pair is catalogued

  • Thumbnail for Ivory Figure with a Spinning Face
    Ivory Figure with a Spinning Face

    Noh performer with long hair holds bells for Shinto Dance in his raised arm. The figure's head spins up from a calm face to that of a demon like face; figure's garment has a geometric/floral motif; he holds a fan in his left had and wears a cap on his head; his hair is tied back with a bow which is broken on one side.

  • Thumbnail for Views of Osaka - detail from leftt side panel
    Views of Osaka - detail from leftt side panel

    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 Rakuchu Rakugai type of views of Kyoto. Here, we see scenes of Osaka. Suyari (clouds) applied in pieces.

  • Thumbnail for Views of Osaka - detail from right side panel
    Views of Osaka - detail from right side panel

    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 Rakuchu Rakugai type of views of Kyoto. Here, we see scenes of Osaka. Suyari (clouds) applied in pieces.

  • Thumbnail for Bunraku, Head of a Demon
    Bunraku, Head of a Demon

    Wood, long hair, paint, inlaid eyes and handler's stick. This mask type is often used for the role of a beautiful woman driven mad by tragic events or, more often, by jealousy. 6-1/2 (L) x 3-1/2 (W) x 15-1/4 (H)

  • 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).

  • Thumbnail for Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) (Thangka) - detail
    Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) (Thangka) - detail by Unknown

    Ground mineral pigment on cotton, silk, 47-3/4 (L) x 29 (W) inches. Padmasambhava was the Indian Guru who brought Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century, where he is credited with founding the Nyingmapa sect. He is shown surrounded by mahasiddhas (great yogic adepts) and manifestations of his various forms. Above, from right, are Vajrahana and consort, Vajrapani, Amitabha, two mahasiddhas, an unidentified figure, Mahakala and consort, Chenrezi, a Dakini, Lodan chrogsre, Nyama Oxer, and Shakyasengge. Flanking him ae his tow consorts, Mandarawa and Yeshetsogyal. Below are a protective deity, Guru Sengge, lion headed Dakini, Dorje Drolo, Rahu, Begtse, a guardian figure, Dorje Legspa on a snow lion, and a group of heavenly musicians on another snow lion in the lower right.

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

    Ground mineral pigment on cotton, silk, 64 (L) x 34-1/2 (W) inches. Amitabha is depicted here at the center of his paradise flanked by Avalokiteshwara and Padmasambhava. Below are eight bodhisattavas, musicians, a devotee and two monks on lotuses. Painted in the Central Tibetan style.

  • Thumbnail for Mughal miniature painting - Portrait
    Mughal miniature painting - Portrait by Unknown

    Paint on ivory, 3-1/2 (L) x 1-3/4 (W) inches. Portrait painted on an ivory oval with ivory filigree framework.(following are additional Notes) The object has many colors- brown, red, green, white, blue.

  • Thumbnail for Mughal (miniature painting) Portrait of a Seated Old Man with a White Beard
    Mughal (miniature painting) Portrait of a Seated Old Man with a White Beard by Unknown

    Paint on ivory, 3-1/2 (L) x 1-3/4 (W) inches. Framed, painted on ivory with gildng and polychrome. Mughal prince wearing gilt headdress and robes. Prince is seated with his left arm resting on the chair's arm while his hand is near his long necklaces hanging around his neck; in the background is a gold curtain hanging on his right side with a floral design of multi colors behind him with some white geometric shapes.

  • Thumbnail for Khedrupje’s Vision of Tsongkhapa on a Tiger - Thangka detail
    Khedrupje’s Vision of Tsongkhapa on a Tiger - Thangka detail by Unknown

    Ground mineral pigment on cotton, silk brocade backing, 49-1/2 (L) x 29 (W) inches. Je Tsongkhapa, c. 1357-1419 is revered as a manifestation of Manjushri, the god of wisdom, founder of the Galugpa or Yellow Hat sect, and a proponent of the Kadampa school of Buddhism. The tiger is sometimes shown as his vahana (vehicle), indicatin gTsongkhapa's ability to control the tiger-like bodily senses. He holds a skull in his left hand and a flaming sword in his right. At the top left is the Third Panchen Lama (Yontenod Palden Yoshe) and at the right is the philosopher-sage Nagarjuna. Along the bottom, left to right, are Jedung Lozang Palden, Mahakala and Asanga.

  • Thumbnail for Small Kadmpa chorten (Sanskrit: stupa)
    Small Kadmpa chorten (Sanskrit: stupa) by Unknown

    Bronze with one turquoise bead, painted leather base, 7-1/8 (H) x 3-3/4 (Circumference). This was given as a gift to Bruce Walker in 1968 by Gyalo Thondup, brother of the present Dalai Lama. This once held relics. The black and leather covering was apparently added to reseal the base when they were removed. The upper section of the leather was cut and stitched to create eight lotus petals. The antiquity and provenance of this piece makes it of particular interest. The leather addition indirectly suggests the story of some unknown dramatic event in its recent history.

  • 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 Womb Mandala -  detail of center
    Womb Mandala - detail of center

    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 Plum-Blossom Viewing at Kameido Gardens
    Plum-Blossom Viewing at Kameido Gardens by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1855)

    One of a series of views of Tokyo famous places (Edo in feudal times). Hiroshige signature is at left. In upper right is series cartouche, Edo Meisho, which identifies the print as coming from one of several series of prints by Hiroshige that were published with this title; one such series of 45 prints was published in 1853. Titles say, beginning at left :Edo Famous Places (Edo Meisho), Kameido, Plum View Tea House, Hiroshige. (Yamanka). Image depicts a multitude of people in various acts outside:walking, talking, sitting on large benches and carrying trays. Image size 8-1/8 (L) x 13-1/8 (W).

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

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

  • Thumbnail for Tanegashima Rifle case - detail of emblem
    Tanegashima Rifle case - detail of emblem

    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 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 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 Map of Japan, 19th Century
    Map of Japan, 19th Century by Tirion

    Map by Dutchman, Tirion, documents the history of Japan during the period when it was closed off from most of the world in the Edo period. This shows the Dutch presence in Nagasaki during the Edo period.