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  • Thumbnail for Tibetan Skull Drum
    Tibetan Skull Drum

    As described in the pamphlet, this is a "skull hand-drum, dating from Qing dynasty. Made from the skull caps of a boy and girl joined together at the tops and covered with lamb or monkey skin."

  • Thumbnail for Emperor Qianlong
    Emperor Qianlong by Giuseppe Castiglione

    Portrait of the Chinese Emperor Qianlong; detail taken from "In My Heart There Is the Power to Reign Peaceably."

  • Thumbnail for Qiu Jin
    Qiu Jin

    Portrait of Qiu Jin, a "spirited radical" woman and supporter of Sun Yat-sen's Revolutionary Alliance.

  • Thumbnail for Empress Dowager Cixi
    Empress Dowager Cixi

    Portrait of the Empress Dowager Cixi, wife of Qing Emperor Xianfeng; she died in 1908.

  • Thumbnail for First Train Starting from Shanghai
    First Train Starting from Shanghai

    Engraving depicting the first train starting from Shanghai, marking the opening of the first railroad train in China.

  • Thumbnail for Hair ornaments
    Hair ornaments

    This image shows a variety of golden or gilt hair ornaments in forms popular with women of the elite class in the Qing dynasty. Floral imagery and images of phoenixes are common. Other materials present include coral and kingfisher feathers.

  • Thumbnail for Bridal skirt ornament
    Bridal skirt ornament

    Embroidered frontispiece thought to have been worn by brides after the wedding ceremony. Each dangling portion carries good luck motifs.

  • Thumbnail for Yixing teapot - bottom
    Yixing teapot - bottom

    Bottom of Yixing teapot showing impression of seal.

  • Thumbnail for Dish with red bat motif - side view
    Dish with red bat motif - side view

    Pedestal dish with underglaze enamel painting. Bat motif seen as lucky in China.

  • Thumbnail for Coin sword
    Coin sword

    Sword made of coins threaded onto a string. Said to have been hung over the cots of newborn babies to ward off evil spirits.

  • Thumbnail for Embroidered baby hat
    Embroidered baby hat

    Hat put on infant or young child in order to protect it from evil spirits.

  • Thumbnail for Snuff holder
    Snuff holder

    Tobacco or snuff holder made of silver.

  • Thumbnail for Porcelain saucer dish - detail of side
    Porcelain saucer dish - detail of side

    This doucai enameled shallow dish is decorated on the interior with a central lappet roundel within double circle borders; the exterior depicts three cranes, emblematic of longevity amongst cloud scrolls and fungus. The base is inscribed with a Yongzheng (1723-1735) reign mark and is of the period, however the quality of the enameling and porcelain suggest that it was not intended for the Imperial household.

  • Thumbnail for Small Purse
    Small Purse

    Embroidered purse of about 3 inches square sowing images of butterflies and peonies. Given the subject matter of the images, it was probably used by a woman.

  • 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 Porcelain saucer dish
    Porcelain saucer dish

    This doucai enameled shallow dish is decorated on the interior with a central lappet roundel within double circle borders; the exterior depicts three cranes, emblematic of longevity amongst cloud scrolls and fungus. The base is inscribed with a Yongzheng (1723-1735) reign mark and is of the period, however the quality of the enameling and porcelain suggest that it was not intended for the Imperial household. 1 7/16 inches high x 7 1/16 inches wide.

  • 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 Lotus, full view
    Lotus, full view 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 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 Portrait, full view
    Portrait, full view by Unknown

    19th century portrait depicting a subject seated in a garden by a stream, chrysanthemum in a vase and a pine tree. The chrysanthemum in the vase symbolizes autumn while the pine tree represents longevity. The image area is 67cm x 130.5 cm and was made using Chinese ink and colors on paper in a silk mounting. The subject and artiistic style are reminiscent of the famous artist, Ren Xiong (1820-1864). Ren Xiong and his family members were successful commercial painters in Shanghai and nearby regions and skilled in many subjects, including portraiture.

  • 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 Shadow puppet (set of 3)
    Shadow puppet (set of 3)

    These shadow puppets represent one of the traditional Chinese crafts. They also represent one of the popular-level puppet theater traditions in China (the others being hand puppets and string puppets). The shadow puppets are cut and carved out of thin sections of hide, which is then given coatings of color. These examples are in pristine condition and retain their brilliant colors. One of the shadow puppets wears a Manchu headdress and Manchu platform shoes. The treatment of the eye sockets suggests that these puppets were made in the Beijing area

  • Thumbnail for Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women (front and bottom)
    Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women (front and bottom)

    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 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 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.