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  • Thumbnail for Samurai surimono - limited edition print
    Samurai surimono - limited edition print

    Original surimono by the celebrated master Utagawa Toyohiro, done c. 1795. Toyohiro was a noted ukiyo-e painter, printmaker and illustrator; had studied under Toyoharu, whose studio he entered in 1782. Surimono were limited edition prints, privately commissioned and published to announce or commemorate a special event. They are therefore quite rare, and, if their condition is good, much higher in value than prints for which there are hundreds of extant copies. They are often richly embossed and/or gilded, as here, where there is gilding on the sword scabbard, and plum blossoms embossed and faintly visible. This example has an unusual horizontal format for a print. Because it was a surimono? There do not appear to be any creases; was it rolled, originally? Subject is a bald samurai with shaved pate and muttonchop whiskers. Wears blue hakama decorated with 20 cranes. Huge sword, with some gilding on the sword scabbard. L. hand holds an oversized square box (for sake?). R. hand is an upraised fist. Presence of cranes (symbols of long life) and plum blossoms (blooming at the time of the lunar New Year, and also symbols of bravery) make this an auspicious image, perhaps associated with the New Year holiday.

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

    Detail of left side of screens done in paper on a wood frame. Right screen of an original pair of 6-fold screens; 67" H. x 142" 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 this 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 One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi - front right side
    One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi - front right side

    16.5 inches in height. Originally painted; much has worn away. Inlaid eyes. Modern base. Almost a dancing stance, w. left foot partially raised, right hand on hip, left hand extended. The DePauw label identifies it as a Guardian Figure of Shogun Jizo, but this does not make sense; it is clearly not Jizo, as Jizo is a bodhisattva who is shown with a shaved head and dressed as a Buddhist priest; he is not a shogun, and not a guardian figure. It appears rather to be one of the Junishinsho (12 Guardian Generals) of Yakushi, the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. There is one general to guard each of 12 Vows of Healing that Yakushi was believed to have made. The most famous examples of this type of guardian figure are at Shin-Yakushiji in Nara (8th c.), and at Muroji (9th c.)

  • Thumbnail for Womb Mandala
    Womb Mandala

    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 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 Two Sumo Wrestlers
    Two Sumo Wrestlers by Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)

    14 x 9 inches. Two sumo wrestlers, grappling in the ring.

  • Thumbnail for The Daimond Mandala- detail of panel with vajra motif
    The Daimond Mandala- detail of panel with vajra motif

    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 The Daimond Mandala
    The Daimond Mandala

    49 x 39 inches. The Diamond Mandala (J: Kongokai Mandara; Skt.: Garbhadhatu Mandala) is paired with the Womb Mandala (J: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).

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

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

  • Thumbnail for One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi - back view
    One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi - back view

    16.5 inches in height. Originally painted; much has worn away. Inlaid eyes. Modern base. Almost a dancing stance, w. left foot partially raised, right hand on hip, left hand extended. The DePauw label identifies it as a Guardian Figure of Shogun Jizo, but this does not make sense; it is clearly not Jizo, as Jizo is a bodhisattva who is shown with a shaved head and dressed as a Buddhist priest; he is not a shogun, and not a guardian figure. It appears rather to be one of the Junishinsho (12 Guardian Generals) of Yakushi, the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. There is one general to guard each of 12 Vows of Healing that Yakushi was believed to have made. The most famous examples of this type of guardian figure are at Shin-Yakushiji in Nara (8th c.), and at Muroji (9th c.)

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

    Detail of right screen of an original pair of 6-fold screens; 67" H. x 142" 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 this 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 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 Womb Mandala -  detail of center figures
    Womb Mandala - detail of center figures

    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 Views of Osaka
    Views of Osaka

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

  • Thumbnail for Tanegashima Rifle case
    Tanegashima Rifle case

    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 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 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 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.

  • 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 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 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 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 Tanegashima Rifle - detail of muzzle end
    Tanegashima Rifle - detail of muzzle end

    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.