In this writing box, the tray below originally held brushes and inksticks. The round metal water-dropper that sits in a depression on the upper left side was used to add some water to the inkstone on which the inkstick was rubbed to make ink. The inkstone also sits in a fitted spce, to keep it from moving around as the inkstick is rubbed on it. The trees on the mountain include hinoki (cypress) tha, along with the cherry tree, are sometimes associated with Hatsuse Mountain in classical poetry. A large applied-silver moon looms from behind the mountain in a cloudless sky. The design on the inside of the lid shows a monkey with its baby reaching for the reflection of the thin-slivered moon in water. - abridged from description by Andrew Pekarik.
The boat is said to have been one of Sutemaru's toys. Resembling a real boat, it has a small cabin at the helm and another at the stern. A board with wheels is attached to the bottom of the boat so that it can be pulled.
This map of the world was originally paired with the screen, the Battle of Lepanto.
As early as the Heian era, warlords owned and used saddles with elegant lacquered designs. This saddle was owned by Hideyoshi. An inscription on the saddle suggests that it is an older structure that was redecorated for Hideyoshi.
See the Battle of Lepanto screen description, soc000618
This pair of ema [votive paintings] were produced by Kano Sunraku, one of the most gifted artists of the late Momoyama and early Edo periods. Admired for their strength and speed and venerated for their innate, resolute spirit, horses have played a conspicious role in Japanese religious practices, ceremonial rites, and warfare since ancient times. Early accounts describe how horses were used in Shinto shrines, where their participation in solemn rituals was thought to be efficacious in precipitating rainfall or, conversely, in discouraging excessive rain and restoring good weather. To carry out these objectives, shrines were equipped with a pair of good animals, one of a dark hue, to cause rain to fall, and a second, with a light coat, to bring back the sun. Horses, in addition to their function in rites intended to affect the weather, had a more basic role as messengers and intermediaries between the temporal world and the Shinto gods. - abridged from catalogue entries by Money Hickman.
Yamanba describes an otherworldly being who lives deep in the mountains. As the goddess of the mountains, Yamanba lives far outside the human community and is both respected and feared. The Yamanba mask is used in only one Noh play, Yamanba, written by Zeami in his later years, after he had experienced disfavor, exile, and personal diappointment, and it reflects a deeply Buddhist vision. In the play a young dancer, known as Yamanba because of her powerfully evocative performance impersonating the mountain goddess, travels on a pilgrimage through the mountains and meets the real Yamanba, who is portrayed in the first half of the play with a mask used to represent middle-aged women. After revealing her true identity to the girl, she returns in the second half of the play, wearing the Yamanba mask, and through dance and poetic song reveals the depth of her feeling. She describes herself as suspended between two world, the human world and the supernatural world, the world of attachment and the world beyond all emotion. - Andrew Pekarik
This jar [tsubo] was of a type of pottery commonly made for utilitarian storage. This example was probably employed as a fresh water jar for the tea ceremony.
This jinbaori, made of wool, is said to have been owned by Date Masamune, daimyo of Sendai. The jinbaori's purpose was originally functional, being worn over armor for protection against cold and rain. Horizontally centered on the back of this jacket of thin wool is the bamboo and sparrow crest ("mon") of the Date family embroidered in gold.
This pair of screens offers a novel interpretation of the four accomplishments of calligraphy, painting, music, and go (a board game). Yusho's pictorialization of the four accomplishments is very loose. The art of painting is represented by the trio viewing a scroll on the right screen. The corner of a go board on a red lacquer stand can be seen behind the outcrop of rocks in the lower right corner. Music is suggested by the brightly clad page bearing a zither in its protective covering on the left screen. Calligraphy is implied by the voluptuous beauty leaning against a treereading a folding book, as well as by the books on the low table. - abridged from catalogue entry by Christine Guth.
Although there is no consensus on which church is represented in this fan painting, most believe it to be the one on Shijobomon, due to its unusual three-story construction. This painting was among a series of sixty-one fans painted by Kano Shoshu, mounted in an album showing famous sites in and around Kyoto, of which only twenty-four paintings are thought to survive. - abridged from catalogue entry by Christine Guth.
Tokkuri, or sake flasks, were produced in great quantity by the Bizen kilns in the Momoyama period. In this examle, clean lines define the plump, barrel-shaped body, thin neck, and crisply finished mouth. The neat, concise form, made from a relatively fine-grained clay, provides a sympathetic surface for the red diagonal streaks which resulted from shielding a vessel wrapped in rice straw from direct contact with the flames during firing. The straw burns away, leaving the hidasuki on a background of unscorched white clay.
Bundai (writing table) and suzuribako (writing utensil box) decorated with a combination of bamboo, paulownia, and the phoenix. The background is done using a technique known as nashiji, similar in appearance to the skin of the nashi, or Japanese pear, in which metal flakes are suspended in lacquer.
This set of tosei gusoku, said to have been worn by Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) during his great triumph at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, was treasured as a symbol of Tokugawa dynastic power. According to shrine records, Ieyasu had the armor made after a dream in which he was Daikokuten, a god associated with weath and war. In Japanese the helmet shape is described as being in the style of a headdress traditionally worn by Daikokuten in sculptural and pictorial representations. The armor became known as the "dream-inspired form" and served as the model for many copies made by succeeding generation of Tokugawa rulers.
Originally owned and worn by Honda Tadakatsu (1548-1610), one of Tokugawa Ieyasu's generals and a powerful daimyo of Ise Province (a large part of present-day Mie Prefecture). The antlers are large but lightweight,being made of wood and layers of paper hardened with coats of black lacquer. The armor itself was made of leather, lacquer and iron.
Mino ware, Green Oribe type. This covered dish is a product of the Mino multi-chambered or "climbing" kilns, which produced Oribe ceramics characterized by an iridescent green copper glaze and underglaze iron drawing.
The Lotus Sutra is an impressive example from an original set of eight scrolls of the Lotus Sutra, commissioned by Empress Tofukumon'in. The popularity of the Lotus Sutra as a text for copying is partly due to the teachings of the sutra itself, which promises merit and reward to those who copy the text or have it copied or who treat it with veneration.
Mino ware, Nezumi Shino type.
This three-tier set of zushidana-type shelves includes a cabinet on the middle level in which the doors swing out and another lower level with a sliding door. The decorative motifs are based on the Heian-period romantic classic, The Tale of Genji. In addition to the lacquer and pulverized stone used in the motif, inlaid mother-of-pearl, gold, silver, and tin are also employed.
As the number of Christians in Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries grew, so did demand for religous paintings from Europe. Because supply far outstripped demand, it became apparent that native artists would have to be trained. Many times the artists were simply shown how to copy the European paintings directly, but in this screen, commonly thought to be a depiction of the Battle of Lepanto, no pictorial prototype appears to have been available. The composition is actually made up of an arbitrary pastiche of themes copied form various sources. The contending forces are the Turks, to the right, and the Christian battalions, tightly grouped to the left, with their logistical advantage, matchlock guns, clearly depicted.- abridged from catalogue entry by Money Hickman.