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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 Ellora, Jain Temple, guru poster photo
    Ellora, Jain Temple, guru poster photo

    The guru of this temple, a digambara monk, is shown on this poster with the broom he uses to brush small animals and insects from his path in order not to harm any living being.

  • Thumbnail for Bamboo
    Bamboo by Wang Qiyuan, 1895-1975

    The artist was born into the family of a Confucian scholar. He departed from traditional painting by using oils in the Western style as well as ink and watercolors. In 1941 he left China for the United States founding a school of Chinese brushwork in New York.

  • 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 Shrimp
    Shrimp by Qi Baishi, 1863-1957

    This artist has been called the "Picasso of China." Known for his simple compositions, economy of brush strokes, and bold contrasting colors.

  • Thumbnail for Eagle on Plum
    Eagle on Plum by Chang Xuchi, 1899-1956

    This powerful image of an eagle on a branch was painted in Boston as a demonstration piece in 1943 during the artist's American tour.

  • 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 Narcissus and Fungus, characters
    Narcissus and Fungus, characters by Wu Shouxian

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting; black ink and red on paper; image area 31 cm x 132.5 cm; brocade frame, flush roller with brocade ends; red fungus (mushrooms) regarded as the plant of long life or immortality and symbol of the good; calligraphy, three seals.

  • 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 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 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 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.

  • 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 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 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 Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: meat seller
    Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: 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 Dao Coin with ancient script
    Chinese Dao Coin with ancient script

    Dao are early coins made in the shape of weapons, datable to between the first century BCE to the first century CE. Material: cast metal alloy. Size: 11 X 2.2 cm. Contains script that appears to be a descendant of oracle bone script, the earliest form of Chinese writing. This is an example of early coinage that was issued while the economy evolved from a barter to an monetary economy. Bronze knives and bronze spades were common barter items in ancient China, but a bit awkward or hazardous to carry around to trade. Some of China's first coins were made to look like a knife or like a stylized spade, so that people would think of them as money, however they were too thin and fragile to be used for anything but money. The knife coin and the spade coin developed in different areas of China about the same time. This knife coin is called the ""Ming"" after the city where it was made (not the dynasty that was much later).

  • 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 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 Chinese table (top surface)
    Chinese table (top surface) 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 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 - Calligraphy - detail of script
    Fan painting - Calligraphy - detail of script by Wu Xizai (1799-1870)

    Calligraphy: Thirteen lines of running script, alternating between long and short lines. After these lines are six more, in much the same calligraphy, but with smaller characters, that contain the dedication and signature. Detail is of signature and seal. Wu Xizai's career mirrored that of a number of well-educated and talented men of his generation whose success and aspirations were affected by the epochal political events of his time, most notably the Taiping Rebellion, which laid waste the center of China during the mid-century. Originally from Yangzhou, a city with a tragic past but a lively artistic life in the mid-Qing, he came from a middle-class family-his father made a living as a fortune teller and physiognomist-but was recognized as a promising scholar and appointed as a shengyuan or "flourishing talent." As early as 1819, as a very young man, he had participated in the editing of the writings of his teacher Bao Shichen (1775-1855), one of the most important calligraphers of the Qing Dynasty. Wu was later to name his own studio the Shi Shen Xuan (the Student of Shen's (Bao Shichen) Studio). Bao's praise of Wu's calligraphy certainly promoted this student's success. Indeed, a section of Bao Shichen's famous treatise Yizhou shuangji was written as a response to questions raised by Wu. A decade later, around 1829, he came under the influence of Deng Shiju (1743-1805), perhaps the greatest of the calligraphic innovater in the Qing. Around the mid 1830s he was in contact with Tang Yifen, whose fan painting is also in this collection, another important painter and calligrapher of the time. In 1853 he was forced to flee the city before the advancing Taiping rebels. Until 1864 he remained a refugee in Taizhou, supported by members of the upper class who admired his calligraphy and painting. In his later years, with his sight failing, he leaned even more heavily on the good graces of those he had known. Wu Yun (1811-1883), a prominent collector and benefactor, was particularly important. The artist used the name "Xizai" between the years 1848 to 1861, after which he abandoned the name to avoid the taboo of using a character in the personal name of the Tongzhi Emperor, Zaichun. Works with "Xizai" in the signature or seal can therefore be dated before 1861, which would be true of both of these examples. As noted earlier, Wu suffered reverses of his health in his later years, and it is not yet certain how many works from the last decade of his life actually exist. Because of his fame, Wu's work was forged even in his lifetime. Brown documents the history of the rise and fall of critical interest in this artist, from popularity to obscurity, and then a renewed interest after a Japanese publication of his ouvre in 1978. His work influenced major artists of the next generation such as Zhao Zhiqian and Wu Changshuo. The calligraphy here has characteristics found in published works by the artist, including an idiosyncratic approach to the structure, as if every time a character were written he had to search for a new way to put the pieces together. Sometimes this is less successful than others.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Landscape
    Fan painting - Landscape by Zheng Shifang

    Landscape in the style of Dong Yuan. Dense piled up mountains on the right and distant vista on the left, complete with architecture and a single walking figure. The identification of the artist is based on the pen name he uses. Liutian is Zheng Shifang, a native of Licheng in Shandong province. One of the few northerners in this collection, there are many reasons why he might have been in the south, perhaps on an administrative assignment, perhaps as a clerk for a more famous official. No dates are given, or other details on his career, other than the fact he was known for landscape. That is easy to accept, and while a tentative nineteenth-century date is appropriate given his inclusion in this collection, the style of the work could easily date it to the previous century. In contrast to the style of Shen Zhaohan, this landscape painting is redolent of the classical orthodox school of the early Qing. The composition, with its dense piled-up mountains on the right and distant vista on the left, complete with architecture and a single walking figure, creates a grand world in this tiny space. The artist's erudition is emphasized by his reference to stylistic precedent in the Five Dynasties artist Dong Yuan (Dong Beiyuan), and he says he is seeking out the "hoary force of his qi." The long stringy strokes that texture the mountains also evoke this heritage.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Willows along a bank
    Fan painting - Willows along a bank by Yang Zhao

    A copse of willows grows by the water. To the right is a home with a figure seen through the door; to the left a skiff moves over the water. In the background a range of mountains rise above the mist that hangs over the water. Although the seal, at least, seems fairly clear in indicating the name Yang Zhao, the name does not appear in standard sources. A copse of willows grows by the water. To the right is a home with a figure seen through the door; to the left a skiff moves over the water. In the background a range of mountains rises above the mist that hangs over the water. The composition is very conservative, going back ultimately to such scenes painted by the Song master Zhao Lingrang, although he would not have included the mountains. The device of using the mist to screen the base of the mountains is, in fact, an archaic device developed before painters found a way to move the eye back into space from foreground to distance. The application of color also goes back to early times, especially since the brush line is so little in evidence. Whether this artist specialized in such scenes or was simply making a reference back into the past is impossible to say.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Pipa Song - detail of inscription
    Fan painting - Pipa Song - detail of inscription by Wang Su (1794-1877)

    Woman with pipa in a boat. Wang Su was well known in his day, and his work has appeared in recent exhibitions. He lived through the tumultuous mid-century era when the Opium War and Taiping rebellion wrecked havoc across the land. His nephew, a student of his, died in the rebellion. Brown says that Wang Su was "…not known for his native talent, either in painting or in calligraphy, yet he was able to overcome his deficiencies through industry and diligence." Conscious of the expectation that successful painters have literary skills, he developed a minor reputation in poetry and attached long inscriptions on some of his paintings. Wang Su was known for his figure paintings, often in the style of Gai Qi and Fei Danxiu, two well-known figure painters of the middle Qing. As in the painting in the Henricksen collection, this one has a melancholy air about it, and probably refers to the famous Tang dynasty poem, The Pipa Song, written by Bai Zhuyi in 816. The poem recounts an event in which Bai Zhuyi travelled to Xunyang and visited with a friend on his boat. From across the waters came the sound of the pipa, the Chinese lute, played with surpassing skill. Both men knew that only a musician trained in the capital could play so well. It turned out the player was a courtesan, grown old and now unwanted. She joined the men on the boat and played for them. The event was a favorite subject for artists, and evoked the passing of time and the fading of earthly pleasures. The subject is properly identified as an illustration to the poem Pipa Song.