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  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  National Peace Memorial Hall, sign describing nationalities of victims of the A-bomb at Hiroshima
    Hiroshima: National Peace Memorial Hall, sign describing nationalities of victims of the A-bomb at Hiroshima

    About 350,000 people are estimated to have been in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. Among these were many from Korean peninsula, which was then a Japanese colony, and include persons from China. Some of these had been conscripted. Also present were foreign students from China and Southeast Asia, and American prisoners of war.

  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  National Peace Memorial Hall, sign telling facts about the power of the explosion
    Hiroshima: National Peace Memorial Hall, sign telling facts about the power of the explosion

    The atomic bomb dropped at 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945, exploded at an altitude of approximately 580 meters over the city of Hiroshima. It emitted heat rays, blast, and radiation. In the vicinity of the hypocenter, heat from the bomb raised surface temperatures to 3,000 to 4,000 degrees C. and generated a blast that bkew 440 meters per second (aoubt 984 miles per hour). Simultaneously, an enormous amount of radiation was emitted. These three forms of energy instantly destroyed the entire city, indiscriminatey taking many precious lives.

  • Thumbnail for Chairman Mao
    Chairman Mao

    Lifesize print of Chairman Mao Zedong. Red inscription along the bottom says "We wish Chairman Mao long life". Righthand side says "Respectfully donated by a Red Guard organization".

  • Thumbnail for Fourth hall of hell
    Fourth hall of hell

    One of a series of ten hell scrolls. Shows the King of the Five Offices and his henchman as well as several of the hells under his control. Commonly seen in Taiwanese temples. Purchased in the early 1980's in Taiwan.

  • Thumbnail for Chess playing
    Chess playing by Fu Baoshi, 1904-1965

    Fu Baoshi was a literati painter, art educator and art historian. This painting reflects the period in the artist's life when his brush work had become bold, using a dotting method to bring harmony and unity to his landscapes.

  • Thumbnail for Seal

    Bottom of seal with example of calligraphic seal script, commonly used for seals in China.

  • Thumbnail for Geese on a Pond [B]
    Geese on a Pond [B] by Ren Zun, 1835-1893

    This pair of paintings was painted by an artist of the "Shanghai School" at that time a derogatory term applied by the traditionalists. He was a member of a family of professional artists. The inscription: Painted in the summer of 1872 in the reign of Emperor Tangzhi by Fuchang, Ren Zun, in Wumen.

  • Thumbnail for Dawn of the Year
    Dawn of the Year by Ding Fuzhi, 1879-1949

    Artist is a native of Hangzhou on the West Lake and he was an expert in seal carving. As a painter his work falls in the category of 'gongbihua', fine stroke painting. The title is inscribed by the artist.

  • Thumbnail for Xu Diao, Ferret and Mellon, view of roller
    Xu Diao, Ferret and Mellon, view of roller by Zhao, Zhiqian

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting depicting a ferret or porcupine nibbling a melon. The image area is 40 cm x 108 cm and was made with black and grey ink on silk and mounted with a brocade frame on a paper mount with teak roller. Zhao, well-known for his calligraphy and seal carving, is one of the most important Qing painters. His style synthesized the styles of Xu Wei ((1521-1593), shi Tao (or Dao Ji, among the “Four Monks of the Ming†1630 – unknown), and Li Shan (1686-unknown). This painting reflects one of Zhao’s later interests in zoology and marine creatures, in addition to his whimsical commentary on the ferret chewing the melon.

  • Thumbnail for Tang Yin portrait, character inscription
    Tang Yin portrait, character inscription by Signed 'Tang Yin'

    Chinese vertical scroll painting, likely a forgery; colors on silk, brocade frame mounted on paper, flush roller with brocade ends; image area 20.4 cm x 55.8 cm; subject Chang Hsien the archer, patron of child-bearing; birth of male child announced by hanging bow at door or gate, calligraphy, five seals. The subject matter does not match the artist’s inscription. Tang Yin is very well known for his versatility, including calligraphy, figures, and landscapes. He was also known for his literary talents and free-spirited lifestyle.

  • Thumbnail for Colored Landscape
    Colored Landscape by Guo Shiqiang , it is a good example.

    Vertical Chinese scroll painting; ink and light polychrome on paper; image size 35.8 cm x 112 cm; brocade frame mounted on paper, protruding teak roller ends; landscape with pavilions on stilts in river with rocks and trees.

  • Thumbnail for Pipa Song
    Pipa Song by Jiang Yun

    Horizontal Chinese painting; ink and colors on paper; 38.8 cm x 24.3 cm; lady and lute on covered barge, only mast and lanterns of another barge are visible, with willow, pine, and blossoming trees. Jiang Yun’s painting was a token of friendship, responding to a friend’s request. The subject is based on the famous Tang era poem, Lyrics of the Pipa (Lute) by Bai Juyi (772-846 C.E.).

  • Thumbnail for Imperial bronze bell
    Imperial bronze bell

    This bell is dated by the inscription in a cartouche as having been made in the 50th year of the reign of Emperor Kangxi, i.e. 1711. The bell was evidently meant to be part of a larger set of bells, thus it represents a continuation of the ancient practice of producing sets of bells that were suspended from a rack. Each bell was specifically manufactured to produce a particular note in the Chinese musical scale. The inscription on the opposite side of the bell has three characters indicating which musical note the bell produces when struck. In addition, this bell is an excellent example of superior quality, imperial level bronze casting.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of shrimp
    Painting of shrimp by Ch’i Pai-shih (Qi Baishi) (1863-1957)

    (Part of a set of four) Qi Baishi (1863-1957) is perhaps China’s most revered master of the twentieth century. These four paintings are representative of Qi’s floral, fruit and aquatic subjects. The cascading forms, bright colors and strong sense of abstract design in the compositions are characteristic of his style.

  • Thumbnail for Vertical painting of bird and flowers
    Vertical painting of bird and flowers

    Vertical painting of bird, lotus, and autumn grasses.

  • 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 Three Friends of Winter
    Three Friends of Winter 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, but given the inaccurate descriptive title, the attribution to Yun Bing is debatable. 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 Hong Yai Goes Out
    Hong Yai Goes Out by Su Liuming

    A professional painter of figures and narratives.

  • Thumbnail for Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: text for meat seller
    Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: text for meat seller

    A (Western style) bound volume, consisting of 175 pages with text in English by a missionary, with ink drawings done by a Chinese artist. Text and drawings illustrate Chinese people and their activities with detailed depiction of tools and other objects, and activities of everyday life in Fuzhou. According to Susan Huntington, this sort of book was commonly produced by British missionaries to India. This was a very impressive, interesting group of pictures of daily life and people of China. The black ink sketches on the right hand pages are labeled in Chinese, often with English translations. The left-side pages are English descriptions of the activities and objects illustrated by the ink drawings. Nathan Sites was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church who served in Fuzhou between 1861-1895. He was the first Ohio Wesleyan University graduate to serve as a missionary. The book was designed and commissioned by Rev. and Mrs. Nathan Sites, Methodist missionaries to “Fuhchou.†Drawings were made by a Chinese artist. The purpose of the book was to show relatives and friends in America the customs of Chinese in “Fuhchou.†A letter written November 7th, 1863 appears at the beginning of the journal: “Dear Friends at Home: Feeling anxious to give you as clear an understanding as we possibly could of the people, their dress, employments, mode of life of this heathen country, we hit upon the following plan as the best to convey to your minds their appearance, manner and customs. Most of these sketches are really life-like. We have seen men and women engaged in many of the employments here sketched.â€

  • Thumbnail for Chinese table (Board of Bishops detail)
    Chinese table (Board of Bishops detail) by Designed by Carl F. Kupfer, and made by Chinese students at Chinkiang Institute.

    Size: Height: 78.5 cm, length of the table-top: 118.5 cm, width of the table top: 71 cm. Material: Teakwood, Black Lacquer, and Mother of Pearl. The table was designed by Carl F. Kupfer. It was made of teakwood, black lacquer, and mother of pearl by Chinese students at Chinkiang Institute (a mission station) in 1899. No nails were used in its construction. The table is similar to one located in the Baldwin Wallace College Chapel. Both tables have the bishops’ likenesses and Chinese motifs. In the central rectangle of this table, there are figures representing the Board of Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church; at the corners of the rectangle, four small squares contain the likenesses of S. L. Baldwin, W. T. Smith, A. B. Leonard, and A. L. Palmer.

  • Thumbnail for Spring Floral Scene with Narcissus at Base of a Garden Rock
    Spring Floral Scene with Narcissus at Base of a Garden Rock

    Watercolor on paper. Label attached on lower left says in English and Chinese "My Dear Miss Dickshaw, Jang Yun Fang". Large flowers in pink and white with green leaves and brown limbs are peering up from large dark gray/black rocks while white flowers and green plants are grouped at the left hand side and bottom of the rocks; Japanese characters are on the top right hand side along with a red seal with another seal present under the inscription on the bottom left hand side.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Landscape after Huang Gongwang
    Fan painting - Landscape after Huang Gongwang by Gu Linshi (1865-1930)

    Pavilion over the water and the complex of distant mountains with the lines of coniferous trees, can be found in the most famous work of Huang. Foreground scenes of trees and pavilion, mountains to the left. Gu Linshi was by far the oldest of the group known as the "Nine Friends" of Suzhou, and his contribution was to carry the ideas and training of that generation into the twentieth century (see comments on the group under Fan #2). In the literature, Gu is discussed in combination with Lu Hui (1851-1920) (not represented in this collection), as artists who insisted on an awareness and respect for past traditions even as they forged new stylistic expressions. His standing is suggested by the inclusion of one of his works in the "Century in Crisis" exhibition, a work in the style of the late Yuan artist Xu Ben. Andrews recounts how Lu Hui and Gu Linshi, along with other Suzhou painters, emphasized the importance of traditional styles, although they knew and interacted with more iconoclastic painters from Shanghai. Gu and Wu Dacheng, a "rising political figure, …scholar, collector, calligrapher and amateur painter," organized the Yiyuan huaji, a painting society, at Gu's home in 1891. Gu was therefore a pivotal figure in an extended group of artists that included many of the names in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Gu came from an established family, and his grandfather Gu Wenbin (1811-1889) owned "…one of the most important collections in Suzhou at the time." His interest in and expertise on earlier artists is documented in the painting referred to above. There are more than thirty works by him referenced in Laing's lists of twentieth-century artists, testifying to his stature and popularity in his day. Gu says in his inscription that this fan is in the manner of the great Yuan master Huang Gongwang. It is not clear which specific painting of Huang's Gu is referring to, but elements in the composition, specifically the pavilion over the water and the complex of distant mountains with the lines of coniferous trees, can be found in the most famous work by Huang, the Fuchun Mountain Scroll. The manipulation of space is done well, with the foreground scene of trees and pavilion used as a repoussoire, so that the mountains to the left recede effectively into the distance. The classical reference fits well into the kind of paintings Gu did.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Lioness and Cub
    Fan painting - Lioness and Cub by Liu Deliu (1806-1875)

    A lioness walking from right to left, takes up most of the space in the fan. Her cub, facing the opposite direction, looks up at her as the mother's left forepaw rests on his back. Deliu was from Wujiang in Jiangsu province and was known as a specialist in painting plants and animals. He was a student of Xia Zhiding (1782-1827), a painter of similar subjects, but Xia was not well-known enough to have been mentioned in the modern literature. Deliu is said to have been the teacher of Lu Hui (another of the "Nine Friends"), but in this case the student far exceeded the teacher in both technical skill and production. At any rate, Deliu was already 45 when Lu Hui was born, and Lu Hui was just 24 when Deliu died, so the relation could not have been long-lived. Deliu was a "…highly refined individual-whose Red Pear Blossom Studio was known for its bright and sparkling interior, with a fine library and brushes and inkstones of the best quality." Although Brown praises Deliu's work, the relationship between Lu Hui and Deliu may have been more of patronage than teacher-student. He is one of the many artists in the collection that merit further study. A rather droll and amusing lioness, walking from right to left, takes up most of the space in the fan. Her cub, facing the opposite direction, looks up at her as the mother's left forepaw rests protectively on his back. The faces of the lions look more like dogs than lions, and other curious aspects of the anatomy-the long tails with pom-poms at the end and the elongated feet-make one wonder if Deliu had ever seen an actual lion. The statement in the inscription says that he was working in the style of Xinlo Shanren, or Hua Yan (1682-1765), a famous artist of the early Qing who specialized in figures and animals. The somewhat awkward rendering of the animal is mirrored in a painting of a fish in the collection of the Denver Museum of Art. One is tempted to see in the fish the same bemused expression worn by the lioness. The fish seems to float over, not in, the water, as does his companion, a frog.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Lady Reclining on a bench in a garden
    Fan painting - Lady Reclining on a bench in a garden by Xiaoyu, or the Lady Feng [?]

    Paintings of both men and women in gardens. A part of the iconography of the most images of women in the gardens is the wall, signifying that she was in a space enclosed. The identification of this woman is uncertain. Xiaoyu is taken from a seal, and the second character of the name (after Feng) is unclear, although even if it were readable there seems to be no likely woman artist with a first character Feng in her name in the dictionary. She does say that she did the work in Shanghai, and since women traveled little, this is likely where she lived. There are many paintings of both men and women in gardens. It is interesting that a part of the iconography of most images of women in gardens is the wall, signifying that she was in a space enclosed, a space that belonged to someone else, and by extension she was property within that space. Perhaps only in dreams could one escape. This work is competent, but not too impressive in either its brushwork or composition.