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  • Thumbnail for Ceremonial Axe
    Ceremonial Axe

    Bronze axe with man and beast motif. May have been a token of rank and an instrument in conducting human sacrifices. "The innocent face, flanked by a pair of animals, usually identified as tigers, seems blissfully unaware of any unhappy outcome, and the tigers, most ferocious of beasts, are surprisingly benign." [as quoted from Robert Thorpe]

  • 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 Life in a village
    Life in a village by Nie Ou, 1948-

    Painted by a female artist who taught herself to paint and who lived in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution.

  • Thumbnail for Embarrassed woman with an outstanding debt
    Embarrassed woman with an outstanding debt by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

    From the Myodensu Juroku Rikan (Sixteen Wonderful Considerations of Profit) series. The son of a silk dyer, Utagawa Kuniyoshi was apprenticed to the printmaker Utagawa Toyokuni I. whose other pupils included Toyoshige and Kunisada. Unlike his master, who specialized in actor portraits, Kuniyoshi excelled in depicting historical scenes and events along with celebrated warriors. Like many of his contemporaries, the artist experimented widely, producing prints of everything from landscapes to erotica. Kuniyoshi’s first published work was a set of book illustrations released in 1814, although his name remained obscure for several years until his publication of a print series depicting 75 heroes from Japanese lore and legend. When prints of actors and beautiful women (bijin-ga) were banned by the Japanese government in 1842, the Japanese middle class became enthusiastic supporters of Kuniyoshi’s seemingly inoffensive historical prints. In 1843, the artist released a satirical triptych print criticizing the Shogun, launching an official investigation that resulted in the destruction of Kuniyoshi’s woodblocks and unsold prints, as well as an official censure. The print, however, remained popular with the middle class. Bijin-ga (images of beauties) might be of actual contemporary and historic women or of an idealized type of beauty specific to a time and region. Courtesans in particular were usually depicted in the latest and most elaborate fashions of the day. After an increasing number of censorship laws were passed to limit the production of prints of famous courtesans, thought to corrupt the morals of the citizens of Japan, many artists turned to domestic images of mothers and daughters or women with servants and generalized pictures of the latest fashions in order to satisfy the demand for bijin-ga and skirt the laws.

  • Thumbnail for Shinmachi Bridge at Hodogaya Station 1833
    Shinmachi Bridge at Hodogaya Station 1833 by Utagawa Hiroshige

    From the Fifty-three Stations of the first Tokaido series from the 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. 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. This was station number four.

  • Thumbnail for Goyu Station: A wayside teahouse and travelers
    Goyu Station: A wayside teahouse and travelers 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. This was station thirty-five along the Tokaido. A whole new economy sprang up along the Tokaido when the Shogun made it a requirement for noblemen to make annual trips between the Shogun’s castle in Edo and the Emperor’s palace in Kyoto. Strategically placed inns, teahouses, and other shops offered places of rest and entertainment along the almost 300 mile long route.

  • Thumbnail for Landscape
    Landscape by Yu Jianhua, 1895-1979

    Artist is a native of Jinan in Shantung. He was an art historian, educator and author of books about Chinese art. The inscription: A westerly breeze rises in the mountains, and it ripples the flow of a distant river. The fisherman by the shore is called to pull up the silk bait, and he listens to the woodsman's song. Other text: Returning to Shanghai from north Fuchien in the spring of 1946, I found some old paper at home. It was fun to paint on it. No other paper can match its softness.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze rice measure - top view
    Bronze rice measure - top view

    This rectangular tapering vessel is an example of the everyday, utilitarian objects that were fashioned in mold cast bronze in the 18th century. The decoration, which incorporates neatly finished human figures in genre scenes along with typical decorative border embellishments, no doubt was fashioned for use in an important household, rather than for use in a less grand setting. 3 3/4in. high, 5 1/2in wide.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze oviform vase and hexagonal stand - bottom view
    Bronze oviform vase and hexagonal stand - bottom view

    This solidly cast, evenly patinated simple form recalls the subtlety of Song Dynasty ceramics, themselves, a revival of delicate archaic forms seen in ancient bronzes and pottery. This shape also is seen in varying forms in Ming and Qing Dynasty Imperial porcelains and the attached openwork fret-pattern hexagonal stand is a common early Qing embellishment found in both bronze vessels and porcelain.

  • Thumbnail for At play
    At play by Fu Xiaoshi, 1932-

    Fu Xiaoshi was one of the three children of Fu Baoshi, who also became artists like their father. He chose to become a figure painter. He had a difficult time during the Cultural Revolution.

  • Thumbnail for Wild orchid
    Wild orchid by Zhu Qizhan, 1892-1996

    Influenced by Western painters, this artist uses brilliant colors and quick, bold strokes. He was born and lived near Shanghai.

  • Thumbnail for Large porcelain dish - sideview
    Large porcelain dish - sideview

    The decoration on this blue and white charger was inspired by Islamic ceramics of the 16th and 17th centuries and influenced the decorative patterns used on 18th century Dutch Delft wares.

  • Thumbnail for Xu Diao, Ferret and Mellon, view of roller
    Xu Diao, Ferret and Mellon, view of roller by Zhao, Zhiqian

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting depicting a ferret or porcupine nibbling a melon. The image area is 40 cm x 108 cm and was made with black and grey ink on silk and mounted with a brocade frame on a paper mount with teak roller. Zhao, well-known for his calligraphy and seal carving, is one of the most important Qing painters. His style synthesized the styles of Xu Wei ((1521-1593), shi Tao (or Dao Ji, among the “Four Monks of the Ming†1630 – unknown), and Li Shan (1686-unknown). This painting reflects one of Zhao’s later interests in zoology and marine creatures, in addition to his whimsical commentary on the ferret chewing the melon.

  • Thumbnail for Woman in Twilight, front view
    Woman in Twilight, front view by unknown

    This print and five following are from a series of 21 night scenes published by Nishinomiya Y?saku of the Hasegawa publishing house between 1910 and 1920. They are fine examples of Shin-hanga “New Printmaking,†a movement reviving the studio/workshop methodology of earlier ukiyo-e. All the works are darkly inked, indicating night settings, and feature bokashi techniques to create atmospheric effects. Like most of the others, this print shows a traditional subject—a woman of the entertainment world walking to an assignment—with a subtle reference to Hiroshige in the firewatcher’s ladder and bell in the distance.

  • Thumbnail for Deep porcelain bowl - detail of reign mark on bottom
    Deep porcelain bowl - detail of reign mark on bottom

    This blue and white decorated porcelain bowl is an example of the popular bird and flower decorative motif of the early Qing Dynasty. Made at the Imperial porcelain factories at Jingtezhen in Jiangxi Provence, this bowl is inscribed with the reign mark of the Emperor Kangxi. These porcelain factories flourished during the Ming Dynasty but their output declined in quantity and quality immediately after the Manchu invasion. Under Kangxi’s patronage porcelain manufacture once again flourished and for the next 130 years some of the most exquisite porcelains were created to the delight of three successive Emperors. 8 1/2 inches in diameter.

  • Thumbnail for Landscapes and Figures, scholar
    Landscapes and Figures, scholar by Ren Xun

    Finely detailed Chinese painting of a scholar figure by a gnarled tree on the riverbank. The image area is 23.2 cm x 21 cm. The painting is a part of a set of four related paintings by Ren Xun. Ren Xun was the younger brother of Ren Xiong (1820-1864) and his family members were successful commercial painters in Shanghai and nearby regions and skilled in many subjects, including portraiture.

  • Thumbnail for Colored Landscape
    Colored Landscape by Guo Shiqiang , it is a good example.

    Vertical Chinese scroll painting; ink and light polychrome on paper; image size 35.8 cm x 112 cm; brocade frame mounted on paper, protruding teak roller ends; landscape with pavilions on stilts in river with rocks and trees.

  • 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 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 Moonlit Bridge on the Sumida River, front view
    Moonlit Bridge on the Sumida River, front view by Kobayashi Eijir?

    From the Hasegawa series. Inked in dark blue and black, this view of the bridge from below evokes Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, and Whistler.

  • Thumbnail for Gilt bronze pin
    Gilt bronze pin

    This intricate and beautifully detailed applique comprising three overlapping circular dragon discs could have been an adornment on a court or military dress or perhaps an attachment for a horse trapping. 1 inch high by 3 inches wide.

  • Thumbnail for Silla Bronze Mirror
    Silla Bronze Mirror

    Bronze mirrors initially appeared in Korea around the middle of the first millennium B.C. The dating of Korean mirrors is problematic for the lack of sources. This mirror is attributed the Silla period; a period of major creative force in the arts of Korea history; a period when imitations of Chinese mirrors and Korean-made pieces were simultaneously made. Artistic creativity of this period marks a departure from the rigid comparmentalized designs of early mirrors to a free refreshing design, suggesting that Silla mirrors were produced in the more peaceful years of the Koryo. Furthermore, in the past, mirrors were often copied, imported, as in the case of Japanese mirrors. Early mirrors are approximately 8-11 cm with simple geometric decorative patterns, slightly smaller than this one. To determine the authenticity, the provenance, and the exact period of this mirror would need extensive scientific analysis of the metal alloy content (copper, tin, or lead). The content of this report could only attempt to analyze the motifs of the period, which appear to be Korean in origin. Silla royal and aristocrat's tombs preserve objects of splendor with extraordinary beauty and sophisticated craftsmanship. Their quality and design reflect the Silla elite's refined tastes and their impetus in expressing social and political status. The shape of this mirror has a scalloped edge with pointed lobes in imitation of floral forms, symbolical of auspiciousness and prosperity, and stylized clouds that embellish the lobed petals. One side is flat and not well polished with sign of corrosion; it serves as a reflective surface. The other has an eyelet in in the center for a tassel to hold or hang the mirror. The visible influence of Chinese mirrors reflects on the narrative theme of this mirror with raised decorations of two figures nestled in a beautiful landscape backdropwith rocks and verdure: a male figure sitting under a tree, probably a cypress tree with typical clumps of leaves, playing a musical instrument on his lap while a lady dances to the rhythm of his music. Such a euphonious scene! There are no facial features; yet, the clothing style and headdress help identify the genderof these figures. The overall design is symmetrical. The detailed expression reveals a variation of fine technique refinement characteristically of the Silla period. Although unique to Korea, the motifs and subjects of everyday associations suggest an artistic interchange between China and Korea at that period. Similar mirrors with anrrative themes were found in both China and Korea.

  • Thumbnail for Nanko hanging scroll, character view
    Nanko hanging scroll, character 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 Ken Tenju hanging scroll, corner view
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, corner 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, view of characters
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, view of characters 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.