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  • Thumbnail for Bronze Censer and Jug with Gold and Silver Inlay
    Bronze Censer and Jug with Gold and Silver Inlay

    Bronze censer and jug featuring gold and silver inlays and reign mark of Xuande (reign 1426-35 AD), but copying earlier styles from the Chinese bronze age.

  • Thumbnail for Teacher and Protege
    Teacher and Protege

    Professor Ernest F. Fenollosa (seated) came to Japan in 1878 to introduce Western art forms, but left Japan with a sincere respect for Japanese painting and sculpting. He is shown here with Okakura Kakuzo.

  • Thumbnail for Snow at Yamanaka Village, near Fujiwaka
    Snow at Yamanaka Village, near Fujiwaka by Utagawa Hiroshige

    One of the most well known 19th century ukiyo-e artists, famous for his landscape views, particularly his images of the Tokaido. 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. Often palaces decorated with traditional Kano painting would have rooms devoted to each season of the year. Though appealing to a far less sophisticated audience, Hiroshige continued an interest in the seasons frequently depicting particular stations along the Tokaido in a variety of climactic conditions. Fujikawa was station number thirty-seven. Though innovative in both his use of a more western perspective and in many of his subject matters, Hiroshige, nevertheless, evinced a careful understanding of Japanese landscape traditions.

  • 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 Shrimp
    Shrimp by Qi Baishi, 1863-1957

    This artist has been called the "Picasso of China." Known for his simple compositions, economy of brush strokes, and bold contrasting colors.

  • Thumbnail for Eagle on Plum
    Eagle on Plum by Chang Xuchi, 1899-1956

    This powerful image of an eagle on a branch was painted in Boston as a demonstration piece in 1943 during the artist's American tour.

  • Thumbnail for Viewing a painting
    Viewing a painting by attributed to Chen Hongshou, 1598-1652

    Two scholars in a garden examine a scroll painting.

  • Thumbnail for Ancestor (female)
    Ancestor (female) by anonymous

    Anonymous female ancestor portrait.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze mirror - back view
    Bronze mirror - back view

    The mirror is cast with typical grape vine and lion decoration on the reverse, a subject frequently seen in Tang mirrors; the reflecting surface is now degraded. 4 inches in width.

  • Thumbnail for Kana-dehon Chushingura Act IV: Oboshi Yuranosuke display's Hangan's sword
    Kana-dehon Chushingura Act IV: Oboshi Yuranosuke display's Hangan's sword by Eisen Keisai

    From the Kanadehon Chushingura (Model of the Kana Syllabury: the Forty-seven Loyal Retainers) series. Keisei Eisen was born in Edo, the son of a calligraphy artist. He was apprenticed to Kikugawa Eizan and studied traditional painting before becoming a printmaker. Throughout his career, Eisen’s work was productive and varied. Book illustrations and prints were his first commissioned works. Early on, he achieved lasting fame for his bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women), and both contributed to and edited the Ukiyo-e ruiko (History of Prints of the Floating World) one of the few surviving sources of information-rich material on printmaking art and artists in Japan. At times, he struck partnerships with other artists of his age, such as his collaboration with Hiroshige, which resulted in a series of landscape prints entitled The Sixty-nine Stations on the Kiso Highway. Eisen also released many surimono (privately issued prints), shunga (erotic prints), and some landscape pieces. In addition to his career as a printmaker, Eisen pursued other sources of income. A self-described hard-drinker who humbly titled his version of Japanese print history Mumeio zhuihitsu (Essays by a Nameless Old Man), Eisen was also the manager and proprietor of a brothel for a time. Today, however he is most famous for his portrayals of the beauties of old Japan. Kana-dehon Chushingura (Model of the Kana Syllabury: the Forty-seven Loyal Retainers) was a popular and frequently performed Kabuki play in the late 18th and early 19th century in Edo. Based on actual historical events from 1701 – 1703, the play tells of forty-seven ronin (samurai without a lord) who seek revenge for the unjust death of their leader Enya-Hangan. Act IV: Enya-hangan commits hara-kiri, while his loyal retainer Yuranosuke vows revenge on Moronao

  • Thumbnail for The Tenryu River near Mitsuke station
    The Tenryu River near Mitsuke station by Utagawa Hiroshige

    From the first Tokaido series, Hoeido Tokaido edition. One of the most well-known 19th century ukiyo-e artists, famous for his landscape views, particularly his images of the Tokaido. 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. This was near station number twenty-eight.

  • 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 Street Drama, characters
    Street Drama, characters by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

    Horizontal Japanese Ukiyo-e print; two panels from probable triptych; black and polychrome woodblock print on paper; various seals of Kuniyoshi, including “Ichiyosai†(a style name of Kuniyoshi). Artist is known for his depictions of heroic episodes in Japanese history. In his later work he tended to have a taste for the bizarre and the ghoulish. His work is influenced by European models, and in this work, the background has some degree of vanishing-point perspective. The works of Kuniyoshi are collected by many museums around the world, including Metropolitan of New York, Boston, San Francisco, Cleveland, The British Museum London, and the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City.

  • 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, 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 Senju Bridge by Night, front view
    Senju Bridge by Night, front view by Shoda Koho

    Yet another print from the Hasegawa series of night scenes, this one foregrounds lantern-carrying pedestrians and a portable shop crossing the silhouetted bridge, with glimmers of light on a distant shore beyond passing boats.

  • 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 Ken Tenju hanging scroll, picture view
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, picture 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 Ken Tenju hanging scroll, upper seal
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, upper seal 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 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 Bronze vessel (detail)
    Bronze vessel (detail)

    In ancient Japan (prior to the Meiji era, 1868-1912), metalwork was solely for swords and Buddhist statues. During the Meiji era, a decree abolishing sword-wearing and the restoration of Shintoism, the original religion of Japan, as the national religion caused the making of metalwork to shift to objects for export and home consumption; the functions of objects and subject of decoration tended to be secular. This vase, designed with a style of Chinese bronze vessel, bears 8 different scenes on the entire body. There are four large panels, with subjects ranging from figurative to seascapes, on the main body of the vessel, and four small horizontal scenes, landscapes and seascapes are the subjects (possibly a display of the four seasons), on the bottom. The designs are done in relief. The borders of the panels are also ornamented with plant patterns, chrysanthemums and gingko tree leaves in particular common Japanese floral motif. A great deal of artistic appeal and distinctive styles are the trademark of Meiji metalwork.

  • 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 14
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 14 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).