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  • Thumbnail for Scene at the precincts of Shinmei Shrine, Shiba
    Scene at the precincts of Shinmei Shrine, Shiba by Utagawa Hiroshige

    From the Famous Places of Edo series and one of the most well-known 19th century ukiyo-e artists, famous for his landscape views, particularly his images of the Tokaido. This image was originally a part of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s collection of Japanese woodblock prints. It along with 36 others came to the Wriston from a benefactor who received them from Wright in lieu of a payment for printing services. Many of the prints have Wright’s handwritten notations in the margins. Though many of the Wright works in our collection are of lesser quality, the images serve as an example of the interest in Asian art that so informed Wright’s architecture. Though probably most known for his numerous editions of images from the Tokaido, Hiroshige also produced a number of prints and editions of other well-known landscape sites. Among them were Famous Places of the Eastern Capital, Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces, and Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji, among others. These series were a modern interpretation of a much earlier tradition in which Chinese artists and poets would paint and write about important locales. As in his Tokaido prints, however Hiroshige imbued these modern views with a sense of a specific contemporary time and place often employing a more western perspective and showing modern day viewers inhabiting the scene.

  • Thumbnail for Tsuchiyama Station: Rainfall at Mt. Suzuka
    Tsuchiyama Station: Rainfall at Mt. Suzuka by Utagawa Hiroshige

    From the Gyosho Tokaido (named after the calligraphy style used) edition. One of the most well-known 19th century ukiyo-e artists, famous for his landscape views, particularly his images of the Tokaido. This image was originally a part of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s collection of Japanese woodblock prints. It along with 36 others came to the Wriston from a benefactor who received them from Wright in lieu of a payment for printing services. Many of the prints have Wright’s handwritten notations in the margins. Though many of the Wright works in our collection are of lesser quality, the images serve as an example of the interest in Asian art that so informed Wright’s architecture. As the busiest highway in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Tokaido offered numerous chances to experience a variety of social classes and day-to-day activities. Numerous images of this highway were created during the Edo period, some in singular views and others in series, the most famous of which are Hiroshige’s numerous editions. The images depicted the commercial activity along the road and famous views seen on the journey. Hiroshige, in particular, also chose many of the views based on varying times of year and the weather conditions that offered an ever-changing impression of the landscape. Greatly influenced by his teacher Utagawa Toyoharu, Hiroshige often employed perspective views rather than the more traditional stacked and flattened views of the landscape found in the Kano school of painting. This slightly more western view helps to explain his popularity among 19th century artists in Europe. The pass at Mt. Suzuka was well-known for being an arduous and hard climb during the rainy season when the route turned into a muddy slough. In many of his Tokaido images, Hiroshige would depict the scene based on popular associations. Such images helped to cement travelers’ expectations and served as informal records of the trip. This was station number forty-nine.

  • Thumbnail for Tang Yin portrait, character inscription
    Tang Yin portrait, character inscription by Signed 'Tang Yin'

    Chinese vertical scroll painting, likely a forgery; colors on silk, brocade frame mounted on paper, flush roller with brocade ends; image area 20.4 cm x 55.8 cm; subject Chang Hsien the archer, patron of child-bearing; birth of male child announced by hanging bow at door or gate, calligraphy, five seals. The subject matter does not match the artist’s inscription. Tang Yin is very well known for his versatility, including calligraphy, figures, and landscapes. He was also known for his literary talents and free-spirited lifestyle.

  • Thumbnail for Ken Tenju hanging scroll, full view
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, full view by Tenju, Ken

    Japanese Edo period hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting and a brown brocade mounting. The image area is 28 cm x 187 cm and depicts the landscape of a Nanga school with the scene of a mountain and hut to the left, a river to the right, a bridge in the foreground, and an inscription to the upper right.

  • Thumbnail for Three unserved Tanzaku prints (poem cards)
    Three unserved Tanzaku prints (poem cards) by Utagawa Hiroshige

    Right: Girl Playing with a Battledore in the New Year Center: A Court Lady on an Outing for Picking herbs in the New Year Left: Paper Hina Dolls and a Peach Branch One of the most well known 19th century ukiyo-e artists, famous for his landscape views, particularly his images of the Tokaido. Most famous for his series of views along the Tokaido and of Edo and its surrounds, Hiroshige was also a prolific artist with a variety of subject matters. This sheet of three poem cards would have been cut into three separate prints.

  • 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 Lotus, characters
    Lotus, characters by Wu Shouxian

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting; black ink and trace of red on paper; image area 31 cm x 132.4 cm; brocade frame, flush roller with brocade ends; lotus represents purity, perfection, summer, and the flower carried by Ho Hsien-Ku, the eighth of the eight immortals revered in Buddhist worship; calligraphy, one seal by the artist.

  • Thumbnail for Jue or Libation Cup
    Jue or Libation Cup

    Late Shang period to early Western Zhou is often referred to as the 'Period of Brilliance' that marks the high point of Chinese Bronze Age, due to a relatively stability created by central political power. It was the era where the Jue form of ritual wine-drinking vessels was most encountered. The strong sense of spirituality and the feeling of peace of the time are well expressed in this remarkable Jue. Jue is one of the ritual wine-drinking bronze vessels for the elite class, exclusively in sacrifices and rituals. It was used to warm wine for libation. The stiff and compact body carries a sense of refrainment with a flat bottom, supported by three blade-shaped legs. The raised tail and restrained spout transform the Jue to a lively upright bird ready to soar upwards. The short rectangular posts are flat on the outer face and rounded on the inner face; they are uneven because one had been broken and insecurely mended with some white substance. The fractured joints between the body and the post caps indicate that they were casted separately. They stand on opposite sides of the rim, holding conical finials bearing a whirligig pattern carved in sunken incised lines; less visible on one post, due to heavy corrosion. The limited decoration of the vessel focuses on the upper section of the body with a narrow and single register, ornamented with a tiger motif rising from the background of dense spirals lei-wen (or 'thunder pattern'). It is bordered with a small repetitive circle motif and bisected by a flat handle, accentuated by a head of an archaic dragon. As part of the late Shang bronze ornaments, this combination of abstract animal figurative, geometrical form, and the lei-wen, almost always represents the conjuration of a cosmological myth. There are visible flaws on the ornament band and behind the handle. The seams are more visible on the outer faces, especially at the band of decoration. The Jue projects a sense of fierceness and reverent awe, due to the effects of the restrained decoration and the simplicity of the design. Prehistoric bronzes, as in the case of this vessel, were mostly found from large hoards or graves, evidently indicated on the inner and outer surfaces covered with emerald-green patina and traces of earthy incrustation. Its exceptional exquisiteness lies in the sense of austerity in shape and design, the aesthetic sense of technical gaucherie and the rough encrustation of beautiful emerald-green patina on the surface formed during centuries of burial.

  • Thumbnail for Nanko hanging scroll, full view
    Nanko hanging scroll, full view by Gakusen, Obe

    Japanese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting and a dark grey-blue mounting. The image area is 27 cm x 87.5 cm and depicts a Nanga school southern Chinese style with a scene of mountains in close proximity. Also known as “Haruku Kon†and “Tani Buncho,†Nanko studied Chinese painting in Nagasaki, where Chinese artists served as cultural envoys between China and Japan from the 17th century. The Nagasaki school mainly followed the southern school of the Ming and Qing eras and subjects were limited to landscapes. Nanko received commissions to execute paintings for the Imperial Palace. Although considered a Japanese painter, this instance of Nanko’s work is in one variant of the Chinese Nanga style, imitating the mi-dot brush stroke popular during the Sung dynasty.

  • Thumbnail for After Hiroshige, front view stage 1
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 1 by unknown

    One of nineteen prints which illustrate the process of making a multi-block multicolor woodblock print.The print reproduced is the view of Asakusa Kinryuzan (Asakusa Kannon Temple) from Ando Hiroshige’s Toto yukimi hakkei (Eight Views of Snow in the Eastern Capital).

  • Thumbnail for After Hiroshige, front view stage 3
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 3 by unknown

    One of nineteen prints which illustrate the process of making a multi-block multicolor woodblock print.The print reproduced is the view of Asakusa Kinryuzan (Asakusa Kannon Temple) from Ando Hiroshige’s Toto yukimi hakkei (Eight Views of Snow in the Eastern Capital).

  • 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 Cormorant Fishing, front view
    Cormorant Fishing, front view by Arai Yoshimune

    From the Hasegawa series. Flames of the fishing boat are obscured by the fisherman’s net, framed by a bridge silhouetted above. Another good example of shin-hanga.

  • Thumbnail for Orchids and Rocks, full view
    Orchids and Rocks, full view 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 Painting of chrysanthemums
    Painting of chrysanthemums 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 Woman’s skirt
    Woman’s skirt

    In all respects (cut, design, embroidered designs), these two garments are typical of the late 19th – early 20th century feminine fashions. The skirt is an example of one way such garments were fastened around the waist – by placing fabric loops over cloth buttons. A lithographed print by the late 19th century Shanghai artist Wu Youru depicts two women wearing such garments posing in a photographer’s studio.

  • Thumbnail for After Hiroshige, front view stage 15
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 15 by unknown

    One of nineteen prints which illustrate the process of making a multi-block multicolor One of nineteen prints which illustrate the process of making a multi-block multicolor woodblock print.The print reproduced is the view of Asakusa Kinryuzan (Asakusa Kannon Temple) from Ando Hiroshige’s Toto yukimi hakkei (Eight Views of Snow in the Eastern Capital).

  • Thumbnail for After Hiroshige, front view stage 10
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 10 by unknown

    One of nineteen prints which illustrate the process of making a multi-block multicolor woodblock print. The print reproduced is the view of Asakusa Kinryuzan (Asakusa Kannon Temple) from Ando Hiroshige’s Toto yukimi hakkei (Eight Views of Snow in the Eastern Capital).

  • Thumbnail for Imperial bronze bell (side detail)
    Imperial bronze bell (side 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 chrysanthemums (detail of the flowers)
    Painting of chrysanthemums (detail of the flowers) 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 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 Popular woodblock prints: pair of civil official door gods (1)
    Popular woodblock prints: pair of civil official door gods (1)

    Colored woodblock prints of popular images are associated with popular religious beliefs and ceremonies mostly observed at Chinese lunar New Year. Pairs of images of civilian officials holding auspicious symbols conveying wishes for happiness and prosperity were pasted on doors inside the house.

  • Thumbnail for Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women (side detail)
    Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women (side detail)

    Shoes for bound feet of Chinese women contrast with the “platform†shoes worn by Manchu women, who did not bind their feet. These platform shoes, it is said, enabled Manchu women to imitate the seductive sway of Chinese women with bound feet. The decoration on these shoes is appliqué, not embroidery.

  • Thumbnail for Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women
    Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women

    Shoes for bound feet of Chinese women contrast with the “platform†shoes worn by Manchu women, who did not bind their feet. These platform shoes, it is said, enabled Manchu women to imitate the seductive sway of Chinese women with bound feet. The decoration on these shoes is appliqué, not embroidery.

  • Thumbnail for Woman’s coat (back sleeve detail)
    Woman’s coat (back sleeve detail)

    This garment with the accompanying skirt are typical of the late 19th – early 20th century feminine fashions. A lithographed print by the late 19th century Shanghai artist Wu Youru depicts two women wearing such garments posing in a photographer’s studio.