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  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 023, bamboo utensils, Yibin, Sichuan
    Thorp Collection 023, bamboo utensils, Yibin, Sichuan

    Bamboo utensils, Yibin, Sichuan. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Dragon Surrenders
    Dragon Surrenders

    Illustration from Manhua showing Soviet engineers helping to tame the dragon of the Heilongjiang, or 'Black Dragon River,' in China's far northeast.

  • Thumbnail for Geisha, 2
    Geisha, 2

    Andy Bernard, St Olaf student, takes some time out from shopping to get his picture taken with a geisha.

  • Thumbnail for Cloissone bowl
    Cloissone bowl

    Large cloissone bowl with lotus motif. Possibly used in Buddhist ceremonies as an offering dish.

  • Thumbnail for The actor Iwai Kumesaburo VI as Shizuka-gozen
    The actor Iwai Kumesaburo VI as Shizuka-gozen by Utagawa Toyokuni I

    A student of Toyoharu, Toyokuni became the head of the Utagawa school after his master’s death. At eighteen the artist published his first works, a series of illustrations of Japanese folk tales and thereafter he devoted much of his early career to the creation of bijin-ga. He achieved the greatest renown, however, for actor prints in which he was one of the first to show the full bodies and the costumes of his subjects. Like his contemporary Kitagawa Utamaro, Toyokuni was punished for the content of some of his prints, at one point being sentenced to fifty days in hand-shackles for his series Ehon Taiheki (The Taihei Romance Illustrated). By the 1820s Toyokuni’s name had become synonymous with fine prints of actors and their roles. A tragic female character in numerous Kabuki plays, Shizuka-gozen offered Kabuki actors a chance to portray the gamut of emotions from love to mourning and demanded a great degree of agility and grace as she danced before the gods and her captors.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze censor - detail of bottom
    Bronze censor - detail of bottom

    This neatly fashioned rectangular box and openwork cover cleverly becomes a utilitarian incense burner, the pierced cover cast to allow incense to subtly drift upwards through a Buddhist inspired swastika decoration. The taotie handles and the geometric pattern on the ground areas add an archaistic element to the design. The base is inscribed with a dedicatory inscription. The base is inscribed with a dedicatory inscription to the person or persons receiving the gfit. In a panel surrounded by meander squares, there are twenty charcters in seal script. Of these, the character "chen" for "minister or officer" appears twice following characters which must have disignated names, and the character "shi" for "gentleman" follows in the same fashion. 4 1/8in. high, 6in. x 4 5/8 inches wide.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze censor - detail of side
    Bronze censor - detail of side

    This neatly fashioned rectangular box and openwork cover cleverly becomes a utilitarian incense burner, the pierced cover cast to allow incense to subtly drift upwards through a Buddhist inspired swastika decoration. The taotie handles and the geometric pattern on the ground areas add an archaistic element to the design. The base is inscribed with a dedicatory inscription. 41/8in. high, 6in. x 4 5/8 inches wide

  • Thumbnail for Bamboo
    Bamboo by Wang Qiyuan, 1895-1975

    The artist was born into the family of a Confucian scholar. He departed from traditional painting by using oils in the Western style as well as ink and watercolors. In 1941 he left China for the United States founding a school of Chinese brushwork in New York.

  • Thumbnail for Large porcelain dish - detail of design and glaze
    Large porcelain dish - detail of design and glaze

    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 The Courtesan Shigeoka of Okamotoya Brothel
    The Courtesan Shigeoka of Okamotoya Brothel by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

    From the Sugato no Hana Bijin Kurabe (Comparison of Beauties with Flowers) 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 restrictive censorship laws were passed in the 1840s, many artists turned to generalized pictures of the latest fashions and more domestic settings for their images of beauties.

  • Thumbnail for The actor Ichimura Uzaemon XIII as the scoundrel Benten-Kozo Kikunosuke
    The actor Ichimura Uzaemon XIII as the scoundrel Benten-Kozo Kikunosuke by Utagawa Yoshiiku

    A pupil of Kuniyoshi, who despite the innovations and new subject matters and styles brought on by the Meiji period continued to practice a fairly traditional style of ukiyo-e. Ukiyo-e artists were often commissioned to execute portraits of kabuki actors in some of their most famous and popular roles. These portraits served as advertisements of an upcoming performance and as souvenirs for fans of kabuki, who would often loudly shout and cheer when one of their favorite actors struck a particularly dramatic and expressive pose (mie). Like many professions in Japan, acting was often a family tradition, thus like some ukiyo-e artists, actors would take the name of their predecessor and simply add a number to mark their position in the line of succession. The scoundrel in this case is the lead in a popular Kabuki play of the Edo period written by Kawatake Mokuami (1816– 1893). The role demands a wide range for an actor who must transform from a young maiden into a rough criminal.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze rice measure - side view
    Bronze rice measure - side 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 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 Geese on a Pond [A]
    Geese on a Pond [A] by Ren Zun, 1835-1893

    This pair of paintings was painted by an artist of the "Shanghai School" at that time a derogatory term applied by the traditionalists. He was a member of a family of professional artists. The inscription: Painted in the summer of 1872 in the reign of Emperor Tangzhi by Fuchang, Ren Zun, in Wumen.

  • Thumbnail for Mother and children
    Mother and children by Qiu Chu (Tuling Neishi), Miss Qiu, mid 16th century

    Artist was the elder daughter of famous professional painter Chiu Ying (Qiu Ying) who taught her how to paint. She often painted women and children of aristicratic families.

  • 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 - detail of bottom
    Large porcelain dish - detail of bottom

    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 Ancestor (female)
    Ancestor (female) by anonymous

    Anonymous female ancestor portrait.

  • Thumbnail for The courtesan Yaegiri of the Oginoya Brothel and a portrait of the priest Jakuren
    The courtesan Yaegiri of the Oginoya Brothel and a portrait of the priest Jakuren 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. Jakuren was a poet and a Buddhist monk was instrumental in compiling the Shinkokinshu (New Collection of Ancient and Modern Waka), around 1205 – 1206, which included thirty-five of his own works. The poem card at the top of this image depicts an image of the poet and his poem which was number eighty-seven in the well-known Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poems by 100 Artists), a collection of tanka (five line poems of 31 syllables, arranged as 5, 7, 5, 7, 7).

  • Thumbnail for Bronze mirror stand
    Bronze mirror stand

    Cast in the form of a recumbent unicorn or qilin supporting a crescent shaped base for a mirror, this mythical beast carries its head turned to its left and has its legs folded beneath the equine body. In traditional Chinese mythology the predominant characteristic of the qilin is that of benevolence and kindness, offering an evocative addition to a court dressing table. 5.75 inches high x 7 5/16 wide x 4.25 deep.

  • Thumbnail for Uki-e: The interior of the Ichimura-za Theater, Edo
    Uki-e: The interior of the Ichimura-za Theater, Edo by Utagawa Toyoharu

    Utagawa Toyharu was the founder of the Utagawa school of ukiyo-e painting and printmaking. He was born in Kyoto and studied Kano school painting under Tsuruzawa Tangei. Upon moving to Edo in the 1760s he studied with Shigenaga and Sekien and began releasing his own work shortly thereafter. In 1763 he became a printmaker in the ukiyo-e tradition. After establishing himself as a foremost master of printmaking, Toyoharu began to take pupils, among them Toyohiro and Toyokuni, who assumed Toyoharu’s title after his death. Toyoharu’s output was diverse. He is probably best-known for creating the innovative uki-e or perspective print, which was a melding of Japanese and Western art tastes for composition and design. He created several landscape print series in the uki-e manner but he also worked within traditional subject matters and designs. The perspective print illustrates the influence of western images as they made there way into Japan. While contrary to traditional Japanese depictions of space, perspective was particularly appropriate to depictions of the floating world. Attending the Japanese theater, particularly Kabuki, was a popular pastime in the theater quarters of Edo and other large cities. Many plays depicted well-known historical and literary events from Japan’s past, while others featured narratives of a particularly modern bent. The uki-e print was able to capture the bustle and din of the Kabuki theater and the pleasure quarters in which they were located.

  • Thumbnail for Book illustration: Hanasobu (Iris Insata)
    Book illustration: Hanasobu (Iris Insata) by Kuwagata Keisai

    Practiced both painting and printmaking, recognized for his “realistic†depictions of Edo environs and culture. Some of the earliest uses of woodblock printing in Japan were for the recording of objects and events, images of which were bound together into record books and encyclopedias. With a renewed interest in science brought about by increased exposure to the west many artists used the skills learned in depicting ceremonial and symbolic flora and fauna to create catalogues and books of native flora and fauna. These images bear only the artist’s signature and do not include publishers’ and cravers’ marks because the prints were not intended to be sold on the print market but rather bound into a book.

  • 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 Shallow porcelain saucer dish - detail of bottom
    Shallow porcelain saucer dish - detail of bottom

    This doucai enameled dish is decorated with maidens in a terrace garden scene within a border of pine, prunus and bamboo, the “three friends of winterâ€. These plants are emblematic of longevity, as each hearty growth survives the cold, harsh winter months. The dish is inscribed on the base with an apocryphal Ming Dynasty Zhenghua (1465-1487) reign mark, but the decoration, enamel technique and subject matter are clearly 18th century.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze rice measure - side view
    Bronze rice measure - side 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.