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  • Thumbnail for Japanese Ceramics:  Fresh water jar, Iga ware.
    Japanese Ceramics: Fresh water jar, Iga ware. by unknown

    This Fresh water jar ("mizusashi") is a tea ceremony vessel, an example of Iga ware, a style of vessel created in Mie Prefecture and valued highly by tea masters. Approximately 9 or 10 inch tall, wheel thrown using a light stoneware clay body, fired in a wood fueled kiln with resulting flashing coloration and some natural ash glaze deposits. The black lid of the jar is lacquer, rather than clay, as was frequently the case with tea vessels. The soft clay was manipulated, probably while the piece was still on the potter's wheel, deliberately deforming the piece slightly, which has the effect of emphasizing the soft, malleable nature of the material before it is fired.

  • Thumbnail for Writing Utensil Box with Designs of Hatsuse Mountain Landscape and Monkeys
    Writing Utensil Box with Designs of Hatsuse Mountain Landscape and Monkeys

    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.

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

    See Crane scroll, part 1 (soc000277)

  • 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 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 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 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 Ema
    Ema by Motonobu, Kano

    This painting by Kano Motonobu (1476-1559) shows a spirited steed, restrained by two lines leading from its bridle to stakes in the foreground.

  • Thumbnail for One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi
    One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi

    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 East Asian Ceramics:  Then and Now.  03,  Shino-ware Ewer
    East Asian Ceramics: Then and Now. 03, Shino-ware Ewer by unknown

    Shino-ware was associated with kilns of the Mino district, near Tajimi in Gifu prefecture, central Honshu, north of Nagoya and Seto. Shino-ware is characterized by its glaze, which is known simply as Shino. It is usually a thick white glaze with a soft lustrous surface, neither matte nor glossy, and a surprising sense of tactile softness to the touch. Often, on the rim or other ridges of a form, the color will break to a warm orangish color, hinting at a sense of the clay body under the glaze (or it may suggest other images, as with the rim of Mrs. Ota's tea bowl in the Kawabata novel, Thousand Cranes). It is a subtle and rich glaze, one much favored by masters of tea. Often, but not always, designs were painted on the surface of pieces before they were glazed. These patterns, painted with an iron slip or pigment, are partially obscured and softened by the glaze over them, creating both a quiet subtlety of design and a sense of depth to the glazed surface. -- An aside about this particular piece is the difference in color of the lid of the ewer and the body of the ewer, proper, suggesting that perhaps the pieces were fired apart from one another and that, even if they were immediately side by side in the kiln, the atmosphere in the kiln (the amount of smokiness or clarity of flame) was slightly different around each of the two pieces. A problem that will be recognized by all potters, today, just as then. -- Russell Tyson Purchase Fund Income, 1966.332

  • 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 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 Samboin, Daigoji, upper pond garden
    Samboin, Daigoji, upper pond garden

    View of middle section of the upper pond garden at Samboin, a garden built for Hideyoshi in the late 16th c.

  • 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 Jinbaori
    Jinbaori

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Crane scroll, part 3
    Crane scroll, part 3 by Koetsu, Hon'ami , Sotatsu, Tawaraya

    See Crane scroll, part 1 (soc000277)

  • Thumbnail for Toyotomi Sutemaru
    Toyotomi Sutemaru

    Portrait sculpture of Toyotomi Sutemaru (1589-1591), the first son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), died when he was just two years old. Hideyoshi built Shounji in eastern Kyoto as the child's memorial temple. This portrait was enshrined there. Made of polychromed wood.

  • 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 Set of armor-side view front facing left
    Set of armor-side view front facing left

    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 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 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 Poem and Cypress Trees
    Poem and Cypress Trees by Konoe Nobutada and Hasegawa Tohaku

    Among Konoe Nobutada's masterpieces is this six-panel screen that includes a waka poem - energetically inscribed in oversized kana - surrounding a sensitively brushed ink painting of a cypress grove. Recent scholarship has attributed the painting to Hasegawa Tohaku, based on a stylistic comparison to the brushwork and artistic expression of his famous Pines in Mist. - John T Carpenter

  • 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 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 Battle of Lepanto, Detail B
    Battle of Lepanto, Detail B

    See the Battle of Lepanto screen description, soc000618