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  • Thumbnail for Calligraphy
    Calligraphy

    A lovely work of calligraphy near the student work and trophy display case in Kuriyagawa Middle School.

  • 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 Crane Scroll, Part 1
    Crane Scroll, Part 1 by Koetsu, Hon'ami , Sotatsu, Tawaraya

    The scroll, almost fifteen meters long, was designed to be viewed section by section. Delicate silver cranes dance across a golden shore, gliding through clouds of gold, sometimes in graceful formation, other times frolicking. The lavish gold and silver under painting, attributed to Tawaraya Sotatsu, captures the eye first, however it was not intended to be viewed as a self-sustaining composition, but rather as a background to highlight the darlky inked strokes created by the calligrapher's brush. Boldly inscribed by Hon'ami Koetsu in his distinctive calligraphic style, the texts include famous court verses, one by each of the Thirty-six Immortal Poets 0 famous poets of ancient Japan. - from text by John Carpenter.

  • Thumbnail for Emperor Go-Mizunoo
    Emperor Go-Mizunoo by Gen'yo Shonin [1634-1727]

    Ink and color painted I\image of the Tokugawa-era emperor Go-Mizunoo. The two poems were copied from inscriptions on other portraits of the emperor. The translation by Watanabe Akiyoshi is as follows: "Painful, this/withered tree fence hidden/ in the deep mountain;/ would that at least my heart's/ flowers were fragrantly abloom./ My life being thus,/ in this world that I will never revisit/ the thought of leaving a trace/ of my calligraphy for a moment-/ even that is sad." The artist Gen'yo, a Zen Buddhist nun, was Go-Mizunoo's granddaughter.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting of the gods of wealth and long life
    Fan painting of the gods of wealth and long life

    A New Years Haiku. Text: "Shaved up and ready (Sori-tatete)/ Pines by the door and breezes, (kadomatsu kaze-ya)/ Happiness, Wealth, Long Life (Fukurokuju). [Signed] Buson [seal]"

  • Thumbnail for Essays on Yueh I
    Essays on Yueh I by Qianlong

    Essay by Emperor Qianlong (reign 1736-1795) on Yueh I, handscroll. The text discusses the virtuous conduct of Yueh I, a general of the Warring States period who defected from the state of Yen, which he had served loyally, after losing the confidence of his ruler.

  • Thumbnail for Mi
    Mi

    Graphic of the hiragana character "mi."

  • 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 Seal
    Seal

    Bottom of seal with example of calligraphic seal script, commonly used for seals in China.

  • 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 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, 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.

  • Thumbnail for Chrysanthemums and Birds by Rock
    Chrysanthemums and Birds by Rock by Zhang, Gun

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting and a bronze-colored brocade silk mounting. The image is 33 cm x 120 cm and has dry, lively brush strokes illustrating an autumn scene of flowering chrysanthemum emerging from a deeply worn rock.

  • 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 Landscapes with Cranes - detail of inscription
    Landscapes with Cranes - detail of inscription by Lu Zhi (1496-1576) (attributed)

    This seventh album leaf is the text attributing the album to Lu Zhi. The attribution is spurious. The landscapes are fairly well done, but at times, the cranes are awkwardly rendered. The subject is an auspicious one, and the album would have made a nice birthday present, wishing the recipient a long life. The images are pleasant, probably dates to the Qing dynasty.10 1/2 x 12 inches. For one image from the album, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for General Zhu Zhixi in His Garden - seal and text detail
    General Zhu Zhixi in His Garden - seal and text detail by Jiao Bingzhen (1689-1726)

    Seal and text detail found on handscroll General Zhu Zhixi in His Garden. The inscription gives Jiao Bingzhen as the artist, though the painting is probably later in date. The painting depicts a scene from the biography of General Zhu Zhixi, president of the Board of War for the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty. A biography is appended. The scene shows the general in a library set into a garden, with servants nearby. To see the entire scroll, see related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Frontispiece to painting of One Hundred Boys
    Frontispiece to painting of One Hundred Boys by Gu Luo (1763-?)

    Frontispiece giving date and title to the painting of One Hundred Boys by Gu Luo. The painting employs the same pastel, bright palette for depicting an auspicious subject of 100 boys playing. This theme would have been functional as a gift for a newlywed couple. The image is delightful and humorous.11 15/16 x 88 15/16 inches. Ink and colors on silk. To see the entire scroll, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Landscape - detail of frontispiece
    Landscape - detail of frontispiece by attrib. Wang Hui (1632-1717)

    The Wang Hui attribution is probably spurious. The painting is, however, a good example of orthodox landscape in the late imperial period. 67 7/8" x 12 7/8". Ink and colors on satin. Very much darkened with some in-painting. To see the painting, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Mountain Scene - full view
    Mountain Scene - full view

    Hanging scroll; ink on paper. Dimensions: 56 x 16 1/4 in. Condition of this work is excellent.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Landscape after Huang Gongwang
    Fan painting - Landscape after Huang Gongwang by Gu Linshi (1865-1930)

    Pavilion over the water and the complex of distant mountains with the lines of coniferous trees, can be found in the most famous work of Huang. Foreground scenes of trees and pavilion, mountains to the left. Gu Linshi was by far the oldest of the group known as the "Nine Friends" of Suzhou, and his contribution was to carry the ideas and training of that generation into the twentieth century (see comments on the group under Fan #2). In the literature, Gu is discussed in combination with Lu Hui (1851-1920) (not represented in this collection), as artists who insisted on an awareness and respect for past traditions even as they forged new stylistic expressions. His standing is suggested by the inclusion of one of his works in the "Century in Crisis" exhibition, a work in the style of the late Yuan artist Xu Ben. Andrews recounts how Lu Hui and Gu Linshi, along with other Suzhou painters, emphasized the importance of traditional styles, although they knew and interacted with more iconoclastic painters from Shanghai. Gu and Wu Dacheng, a "rising political figure, …scholar, collector, calligrapher and amateur painter," organized the Yiyuan huaji, a painting society, at Gu's home in 1891. Gu was therefore a pivotal figure in an extended group of artists that included many of the names in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Gu came from an established family, and his grandfather Gu Wenbin (1811-1889) owned "…one of the most important collections in Suzhou at the time." His interest in and expertise on earlier artists is documented in the painting referred to above. There are more than thirty works by him referenced in Laing's lists of twentieth-century artists, testifying to his stature and popularity in his day. Gu says in his inscription that this fan is in the manner of the great Yuan master Huang Gongwang. It is not clear which specific painting of Huang's Gu is referring to, but elements in the composition, specifically the pavilion over the water and the complex of distant mountains with the lines of coniferous trees, can be found in the most famous work by Huang, the Fuchun Mountain Scroll. The manipulation of space is done well, with the foreground scene of trees and pavilion used as a repoussoire, so that the mountains to the left recede effectively into the distance. The classical reference fits well into the kind of paintings Gu did.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Landscape with pavilion at Yanzi ji
    Fan painting - Landscape with pavilion at Yanzi ji by Zhu Yiliang

    The pavilion on the promontory gives a vantage point from which one can enjoy the scene and while the boats under the sail out carry one across the waves. At the very end of the inscription is the name Hanshi, which is the zi of the Kangxi artist Zhu Yiliang. This would then be the earliest artist in the collection by far, but the identification should be accepted with some caution. Zhu Yiliang was known for calligraphy and seal carving, not painting. While the dedication does not contain the standard nineteenth century phrasing, the style is not convincingly eighteenth century. Finally, one would need to ask why a single early artist made his way into the collection. Could a later unrecorded artist have had used the name Hanshi as well? Only the emergence of other works signed with the same name will answer the question. The scene depicted is that of the cliff or promontory called the Yan[zi]ji on the banks of the broad Yangtze River. Although mountains may not have been so high in the south, no Chinese artist was restricted by photographic realism. The pavilion on the promontory gives a vantage point from which one can enjoy the scene or travel across the waves on one of the boats under sail. The inscription begins with two seven-character quatrains, then the title and the artist's name.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Landscape
    Fan painting - Landscape by Gu Yun (1835-1896)

    A round fan with a single large pine to the right, partly obscuring a complex buildings. A single figure is placed before a long table seen through the open window of tall structure at left center. A Single peak is in the left distance. Gu Yun is one of the best-documented artists in the collection, and information on his career can be found in several publications. There are five fans in this collection signed by the artist, and this provides an interesting opportunity to compare the brush manner and calligraphy of a single individual over time. While there are many precedents in the classical past for these standard elements of trees, houses, and distant mountains, the somewhat aggressive pine tree that dominates the paintings suggests some elements of the Shanghai school. The brushwork is quiet, however, and reminds one of Gu's conservative beginnings.

  • Thumbnail for Man Pointing (Kanzan) - closer view of signature and seal impression
    Man Pointing (Kanzan) - closer view of signature and seal impression

    Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper. Dimensions: 11 1/2 x 51 in. Condition is excellent. Represents the Chinese poet Han Shan (Japanese: Kanzan), and is a pair with 'Man with Broom at Feet', which represents Shide (Japanese: Jittoku).