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  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  National Peace Memorial Hall, sign, Hall of Rememberance
    Hiroshima: National Peace Memorial Hall, sign, Hall of Rememberance

    “The Hall of Rememberance - The Hall of Remembrance is provided for recollection of the victims, prayer for the peaceful repose of their souls, and contemplation of peace.†-- The Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, and a similar monument in Nagasaki, were founded by the Japanese national government recently. The Hall in Hiroshima was founded in 2002, and is housed in a stunning architectural achievement designed by Kenzo Tange. -- The center contains several elements, including the Hall of Rememberance, a staggering exhibition of the names and photographs of the victims of the explosion, and a library devoted to collecting and preserving memoirs of the victims.

  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  National Peace Memorial Hall, sign describing continuing radiation related illnesses and deaths since 1945
    Hiroshima: National Peace Memorial Hall, sign describing continuing radiation related illnesses and deaths since 1945

    The injuries inflicted by the atomic bomb appeared to be healing by the end of 1945, but a high percentage of those who seemed to be recovering later fell victim to a vast array of aftereffects, including keloid scars, leukemia and other cancers. Since 1946, thousands of people have passed away each year, and the pain and anxiety of many survivors continue.

  • 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 Geese on a Pond [A]
    Geese on a Pond [A] 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 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 Landscape
    Landscape by Yu Jianhua, 1895-1979

    Artist is a native of Jinan in Shantung. He was an art historian, educator and author of books about Chinese art. The inscription: A westerly breeze rises in the mountains, and it ripples the flow of a distant river. The fisherman by the shore is called to pull up the silk bait, and he listens to the woodsman's song. Other text: Returning to Shanghai from north Fuchien in the spring of 1946, I found some old paper at home. It was fun to paint on it. No other paper can match its softness.

  • Thumbnail for Buffalo Shepherd
    Buffalo Shepherd by Li Keran, 1907-1989

    Artist is known as the ""Buffalo artist."" Painted for Prof. and Mrs. Fang-yu Wang.

  • Thumbnail for Figures in a Garden
    Figures in a Garden by Qian, Hui'an

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting; ink and colors on paper; image area 39.4 cm x 142.8 cm; brocade frame, mounted on paper with flush roller and brocade ends; subject bearded sage with staff, possibly Confucius or Lao Tzu, and woman standing on a bridge; calligraphy and seal.

  • Thumbnail for Figures in a Garden
    Figures in a Garden by Qian, Hui'an

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting; ink and colors on paper; image area 39.4 cm x 142.8 cm; brocade frame, mounted on paper with flush roller and brocade ends; subject bearded sage with staff, possibly Confucius or Lao Tzu, and woman standing on a bridge; calligraphy and seal.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of a branch of loquats (detail)
    Painting of a branch of loquats (detail) 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 Painting of a squash vine (detail of squash)
    Painting of a squash vine (detail of squash) 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 Landscape
    Landscape by Pu Ju

    Vertical landscape done in the blue and green style, with small pavilion on a rocky outcropping above man in small boat below. Four line inscription links the foreground imagery with that of the far distance. Three seals placed at varying points on the painting.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of a branch of loquats
    Painting of a branch of loquats 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 Rubbing of stone engraving depiction of the poetess Xie Tao
    Rubbing of stone engraving depiction of the poetess Xie Tao

    Although of lesser quality, this depiction of Xie Tao is interesting because it is a rare (imaginary) portrayal of a woman writer. The text at the top of the scroll is her biography. Xie (768 – 831/32) was a noted courtesan/poetess who lied in Chengdu, Sichuan. In addition to her poetry she is famous for developing an ornamented paper to be used for writing out brief poems.

  • 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 Kitchen Gods
    Kitchen Gods

    15-1/8" x 19-7/7". Popular print, woodcut on red paper. The gods Can Gung and Can Ma.

  • 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 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 - 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.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Landscape with calligraphy
    Fan painting - Landscape with calligraphy by Gu Yun (1835-1896) and Zhang Xiong (1803-1886)

    Painting and Calligraphy: On the right, seal script inscription and landscape by Gu Yun; on the left, clerical script inscription and flowers by Zhang Xiong. Detail is found above floral imagery by Zhang Xiong. See the other works by Gu Yun in the collection for details on his life. Zhang Xiong was an older and equally well-known artist, famed in particular for his flower paintings. As Brown says, he was a "…staunch traditionalist who defended the classical heritage." As much as or more than many of the other artists in the group he was known for his scholarly background, and his studio, the Silver Vine Blossoms Lodge, "…was so elegantly and exquisitely appointed that within its four walls there was no a single speck of dust." He was known, in particular, for the clerical script, which he uses in this fan. Fleeing before the Taiping rebels, he moved to Shanghai where his fame as scholar and artist continued. Later, he was nominated for a position at the court, but declined. The two diminutive images on this fan seem almost inconsequential, but in fact this work that documents a relationship between two important artists of the time may be one of the jewels in this collection. Gu's painting depicts an empty pavilion set before a lake with mountains on the farther shore; Zhang's crysanthemum, the flower of autumn, echoes the mood and hints at the season in which the work was done. The brushwork in Gu's painting is the most convincing of that in any of the other fans in the collection. Any Chinese connoisseur would treasure this example of Zhang Xiong's calligraphy, in which he cites a portion of a poem by the great Song dynasty literatus Su Shi, as more than just a painting. This is a wonderful work that should reward further study.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Xiaohong Softly Sings and I Play the Vertical Flute - detail of figures
    Fan painting - Xiaohong Softly Sings and I Play the Vertical Flute - detail of figures by Shen Zhaohan (1856-1941)

    Man and woman in a boat moored before a large rock. Shen Zhaohan, zi Xinhai, lived well into the twentieth century. Would that someone would have interviewed him before he died in 1941. A recent work records his activity in the early twentieth century, when he was a member and for a time Director of the Shanghai-based Yuyuan Shuhua Shanhui (The Yu Garden Charitable Association of Calligraphy and Painting), which was founded only in 1909. Laing records two other artist organizations to which he belonged. Such group activities document the social organizations formed by painters in the early twentieth century to improve their status in the community and financial well-being. He would certainly have been conversant with those of the "Nine Friends" that were of his generation. The works recorded in Laing's Index are dated between 1896 and 1935, so the 1884 date would make this one of his earliest works. The thin elongated faces are clear references back to the Shanghai School and painters like Ren Xun, Qian Huian, and Ni Tian. His other recorded works are all figures and flowers. Even though there is clear precedent for the style that Zhaohan uses here, the painting has an attractive composition, with the two figures set to the right framed by the diagonal of the large rock behind them. The technique in the drapery of the figures is well done, and in line with other late nineteenth century artists. The artist has provided the title in his inscription.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Scholar in nature
    Fan painting - Scholar in nature by Wu Guxiang (1843-1903)

    Scholar seated on a rock beneath a pine tree. This subject has been repeated ten thousand times over the centuries: the solitary scholar communing with nature, with trees and water about him. One distinctive feature here is the scholar's hat, which suggests a Korean costume. Again, the colophon may contain some answers.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Monkey in a landscape, with insects
    Fan painting - Monkey in a landscape, with insects by Gu Yun (1835-1896)

    A pair of monkeys on the rock silhouetted against the distant mountains. Even though Gu Yun was a prolific artist, there is no clear explanation as to why there are so many of his works in this collection. This is an unusual subject, and the explanation probably lies in the colophon, not yet translated. Gu Yun's classical training is evident in the foreground rocks and trees. The composition works well, with the pair of monkeys on the rock silhouetted against the distant mountains.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - The Lute Song
    Fan painting - The Lute Song by Shen Yuebin (act. 1820-1850)

    A single woman in her boat and two men in theirs, both placed along the banks of the river. The identification of the artist is tentative at best, and rests on the interpretation of the character Yi. Yilou is the pen name of Shen Yuebin, who exists only as a single entry in the dictionary of artist's names. The entry states he was known for his regular script, but does not mention painting. Nevertheless, the careful organization of the composition and the meticulous brushwork in an almost miniature scene implies someone who could work with a similar approach in calligraphy. All elements in this scene refer to the story of the Lute Song: the single woman in her boat and the two men in theirs, both placed along the banks of the river. By laying out the banks of the river as overlapping spits of land separated by wide expanses of water, the artist introduces an aura of emptiness and melancholy that suits the story well. This is an innovative approach to an event often depicted.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Landscape - detail of calligraphy
    Fan painting - Landscape - detail of calligraphy by Datong

    A dense landscape with a stream on the right and the houses to the rear. On the left, two large pines overhang a pavilion in which a scholar sits, presumably writing a letter. The name of this artist does not appear in standard sources. This is a very competent, even ambitious, work. As the title suggests, the scholar in the hut is "composing a scented letter among streams and mountains." On the left, two large pines overhang a pavilion in which a scholar sits, presumably writing a letter. The dense landscape with a stream on the right and houses to the rear suggests a precedent in the Yuan dynasty masters Wang Meng or Huang Gongwang, although there is no specific clue in the inscription. This is a very good artist, and in time he will be identified.