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  • Thumbnail for Seventh hall of hell
    Seventh hall of hell

    The King of Taishan is the judge portrayed here. Shows people gaining merit such as the person saving ants from a river and releasing a snake. The main hell featured is Sword Mountain. One also sees Oxhead, a common torturer in hell. Purchased in 1982 in Taiwan.

  • 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 Xue Tao image
    Xue Tao image

    Rubbing from carving of the Tang poetess Xue Tao. From Chengdu in Sichuan Provence. Includes an accompanying stone inscription dated to the "29th year of Guangxu", or 1904.

  • 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 Life in a village
    Life in a village by Nie Ou, 1948-

    Painted by a female artist who taught herself to paint and who lived in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution.

  • Thumbnail for Wild orchid
    Wild orchid by Zhu Qizhan, 1892-1996

    Influenced by Western painters, this artist uses brilliant colors and quick, bold strokes. He was born and lived near Shanghai.

  • Thumbnail for Chrysanthemums and Birds by Rock
    Chrysanthemums and Birds by Rock by Zhang, Gun

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting and a bronze-colored brocade silk mounting. The image is 33 cm x 120 cm and has dry, lively brush strokes illustrating an autumn scene of flowering chrysanthemum emerging from a deeply worn rock with two birds ""fighting' while a third bird perches above.

  • Thumbnail for Landscapes and Figures, scholar
    Landscapes and Figures, scholar by Ren Xun

    Finely detailed Chinese painting of a scholar figure by a gnarled tree on the riverbank. The image area is 23.2 cm x 21 cm. The painting is a part of a set of four related paintings by Ren Xun. Ren Xun was the younger brother of Ren Xiong (1820-1864) and his family members were successful commercial painters in Shanghai and nearby regions and skilled in many subjects, including portraiture.

  • Thumbnail for Autumn Leaves and Chrysanthemums, full view
    Autumn Leaves and Chrysanthemums, full view by Jin Dui

    Horizontal Chinese painting; ink and colors on paper; 34.2 cm x 27.3 cm; white chrysanthemums, symbol of 9th month, autumn and fruit blossoms; calligraphy and one seal by artist.

  • Thumbnail for Orchids and Rocks, characters
    Orchids and Rocks, characters by Wu Shouxian

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting; black ink and tan on paper; image area 31 cm x 132.8 cm; brocade frame, flush roller with brocade ends; orchids adorn rock face; calligraphy, three seals.

  • Thumbnail for Immortal of Longevity and Deer
    Immortal of Longevity and Deer by Unknown

    Chinese painting using ink and colors on silk; image area 18 cm x 21.2 cm; subject from Daoist or folk belief;. Condition: good; upper end of mounting torn.

  • Thumbnail for Landscapes and Figures, mountain scene with house
    Landscapes and Figures, mountain scene with house by Ren Xun

    Chinese painting of a mountain scene that is part of a set of four related paintings. Ren Xun was the younger brother of Ren Xiong (1820-1864) and his family members were successful commercial painters in Shanghai and nearby regions and skilled in many subjects, including portraiture. Ren Xun followed the style of one of the eccentric painters, Chen Hongshu (1598-1652) in his figure paintings and was also skilled in bird-and-flower subjects. Both brothers were active in Shanghai and their styles are labeled “Shanghai School†for their colorful and decorative features and popular subjects.

  • 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 Imperial bronze bell (handle detail)
    Imperial bronze bell (handle detail)

    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 Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Heart Sutra)
    Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Heart Sutra) by Fang Chao Ling (b. 1914)

    Ink on paper, 28-3/8 x 49-3/4". This is a large calligraphic work transcribing a Buddhist text that is popularly known as the “Heart Sutra.†A number of transcriptions and translations may be found in the file. The artist’s inscription records a date of 1960. An important contemporary and woman artist working in traditional Chinese ink medium, Fang in known primarily for her painting. But, this calligraphic work in standard script could be used in teaching calligraphy. It is also useful for providing some gender balance in the calligraphy canon. Gu Kaizhi was said to have learned his art from a woman, after all. Fang, known primarily as a paintier, is the subject of a major retrospective recently at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

  • 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 Vertical painting of bird and flowers
    Vertical painting of bird and flowers

    Vertical painting of bird, lotus, and autumn grasses.

  • 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 Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: Boatwoman with fish
    Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: Boatwoman with fish

    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 Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: text for treading water pump
    Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: text for treading water pump

    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 Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: text for widow arch
    Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: text for widow arch

    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€