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  • Thumbnail for Japanese ceramics: Large dish with plant design, E-Shino ware.
    Japanese ceramics: Large dish with plant design, E-Shino ware. by unknown

    This large dish with plant design is an example of the type of Shino known as E-Shino, Pictured Shino. E-Shino pieces feature brush decoration applied to the piece before it is covered with the Shino glaze. The Shino glaze is composed almost entirely of one particular feldspathic rock and produced a great variety of surfaces, depending on how thickly the glaze was applied, the temperature reached in the kiln, and the atmosphere of the kiln (how smoky the fire was during critical phases of the firing). Zoom in on this image to see how lush the Shino surface was on many pieces.

  • Thumbnail for Japanese Ceramics: Dish with handle, Ao-oribe ware, view 02.
    Japanese Ceramics: Dish with handle, Ao-oribe ware, view 02. by unknown

    Another view of the Oribe dish shown in image ecasia000370, showing more clearly the interior of the piece.

  • Thumbnail for Birds and Flowers
    Birds and Flowers by Tohaku, Hasegawa (1539-1610)

    This folding screen, originally the left half of a pair, is considered an early work of the artist Tohaku. Birds and Flowers demonstrates Tohaku's debt to earlier Kano artists and to the painting traditions established by Sesshu Toyo.

  • Thumbnail for Saddle and Stirrups with Design of Reeds and Dew
    Saddle and Stirrups with Design of Reeds and Dew

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Battle of Lepanto, Detail B
    Battle of Lepanto, Detail B

    See the Battle of Lepanto screen description, soc000618

  • Thumbnail for Horses
    Horses by Sunraku, Kano (1559-1635)

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Noh Mask: Yamanba
    Noh Mask: Yamanba

    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

  • Thumbnail for Set of armor-back view
    Set of armor-back view

    Set of armor including helmet, chest armor, shoulder, thigh, and arm armor, and shirts. Very well made. From Kyushu. Only the helmet was photographed.

  • Thumbnail for Covered Dish
    Covered Dish

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Lotus Sutra
    Lotus Sutra

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Bowl

    Mino ware, Nezumi Shino type.

  • Thumbnail for Tale of Genji Designs on Set of Shelves
    Tale of Genji Designs on Set of Shelves

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Battle of Lepanto
    Battle of Lepanto

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Four Accomplishments, Right Screen
    Four Accomplishments, Right Screen by Yusho, Kaiho (1533-1615)

    For description of this work, see left screen, soc0006111.

  • Thumbnail for Set of armor-front view
    Set of armor-front view

    Set of armor including helmet, chest armor, shoulder, thigh, and arm armor, and shirts. Very well made. Only the helmet was photographed.

  • 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 Japanese Ceramics: Square dish with bird design, Ao-Oribe ware.
    Japanese Ceramics: Square dish with bird design, Ao-Oribe ware. by unknown

    Square dish with bird design, from the Mino region of Gifu Prefecture. Characteristic Ao-Oribe style ware, with brush decoration done in iron oxide under white glaze, with copper green glaze. Museum Purchase B67P8

  • Thumbnail for Shodenji, garden w/ borrowed scenery
    Shodenji, garden w/ borrowed scenery

    Garden at Shodenji, Kyoto. Probably late 16th c. or early 17th c. Restored during Edo period and, again, 1936. Carefully trimmed azaleas represent rocks in garden. Good example of “borrowed scenery†-- profile of Mt. Hiei in background is part of design of garden.

  • Thumbnail for Katsura Detached Imperial Villa, detail, garden
    Katsura Detached Imperial Villa, detail, garden

    Detail, stone lantern in garden at Katsura. Begun in late 16th c., completed in second quarter of 17th c. (between 1620 and 1642, various dates given by different sources). Begun by Prince Hachijo Toshito, completed by his son, Noritada.

  • Thumbnail for Tales of Ise, Sagabon edition
    Tales of Ise, Sagabon edition

    Published by Suminokura Soan. "Sagabon versions of Ise Monogatari (Tales of Ise), which were published in ten separate editions, allowed this tenth-century collection of poem tales to assume its place as one of the best-known Japanese classics. The book consists of 125 brief chapters, each usually centering on a poem or two, recounting courtier and various companions. At first glance it may be hard to tell that these volumes were printed with movable wooden type. The connected characters appear to be written with a brush, but close examination reveals that no more than two or three kana characters are connected. The anonymous woodblock-printed illustrations of these Ise editions are derived from hand-drawn manuscripts with limited circulation." - abridged from description by John T Carpenter.

  • Thumbnail for Sake Flask
    Sake Flask

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Crane scroll, part 4
    Crane scroll, part 4 by Sotatsu, Tawaraya , Koetsu, Hon'ami

    See Crane scroll, part 1 (soc000277)

  • Thumbnail for Writing Table and Writing Utensil Box
    Writing Table and Writing Utensil Box

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Horses
    Horses by Hideyori, Kano (d. ca 1576/7)

    A dappled white horse (ema) bucks, head restrained by a bridle tied to steaks in the ground. One half of a set.

  • Thumbnail for Samurai  Armor II
    Samurai Armor II

    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.