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  • Thumbnail for Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (1 view 1)
    Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (1 view 1)

    1 1/2"h x 1 3/4"l (including base). Side view of finely carved gourd showing scenes from literature and opera.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (2 view 3)
    Chinese Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (2 view 3)

    1 1/2"h x 1 3/4"l (including base). Side view of finely carved gourd showing scenes from literature and opera.

  • Thumbnail for Carved Nuts with Literary Scenes - top view
    Carved Nuts with Literary Scenes - top view

    1 1/2""h x 1 3/4""l (including base). Finely carved sampan with moveable windows and doors set on a peach stone stand carved with raised flowers on an inverted chevron ground.

  • 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 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 Chinese Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (1 view 2)
    Chinese Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (1 view 2)

    1 1/2" h x 1 3/4" l (including base). Side view of finely carved gourd showing scenes from literature and opera.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (2 view 1)
    Chinese Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (2 view 1)

    1 1/2"h x 1 3/4"l (including base). Side view of finely carved gourd showing scenes from literature and opera.

  • Thumbnail for Haiku poetry image enters the 21st century
    Haiku poetry image enters the 21st century

    In the last half of the 17th c., Basho, the great master of the haiku form, wrote "On the withered bough/ A crow has alighted/ Nightfall in autumn." -- In this photo, captured on a chilly, damp autumn evening in northern Honshu, we can sense the spirit of Basho's poem translated into the 21st century. -- keywords: aesthetics, poetry, literature, haiku, Basho

  • Thumbnail for Four Accomplishments, Right Screen
    Four Accomplishments, Right Screen by Yusho, Kaiho (1533-1615)

    For description of this work, see left screen, soc0006111.

  • Thumbnail for Sumo legend
    Sumo legend

    The earliest written mention of Sumo is found in the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters), a book from the year 712, which is the oldest example of Japanese writing. The Kojiki relates a legend about how possession of the Japanese islands was determined by a Sumo match 2,500 years ago between the gods Takemikazuchi and Takeminakata. The two men grappled on the shores of Izumo along the Japan Sea coast until the latter finally lost. Thus control of the archipelago was ceded to the Japanese people led by Takemikazuchi, who is said to have established the imperial family from which the present emperor traces his ancestry. Thus Sumo from the start was different from most other sporting matches; each match a historical recreation.

  • Thumbnail for Xue Tao image
    Xue Tao image

    Rubbing from carving of the Tang poetess Xue Tao. From Chengdu in Sichuan Provence. Includes an accompanying stone inscription dated to the "29th year of Guangxu", or 1904.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (1 view 3)
    Chinese Carved Gourd with Literary Scenes (1 view 3)

    1 1/2"h x 1 3/4"l (including base). Side view of finely carved gourd showing scenes from literature and opera.

  • Thumbnail for Hana chiru sato
    Hana chiru sato by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864)

    From the series "Faithful depictions of the figure of the shining prince" (Sono sugata Hikaru no utushi-e). Woodblock print; ink and colors on paper. This print is number 11 in the series. It is heavily trimmed along the left side and is missing its border. This print isfrom a series satirizing the Tale of Genji, the celebrated tenth century Japanese novel of Heian period courtly life, focusing on the assorted love affairs of Prince Genji and his clan. The Tale of Genji, by the court lady Murasaki Shikibu, is one of the most popular themes for illustrated book and paintings throughout Japanese history. The novel is renowned as the world's first novel. It includes 54 chapters, so most series have 54 prints plus a title page. These prints essentially parody the original in order to make the ancient subject more appealing to a contemporary audience. Therefore, the artist represented the figures in contemporary clothing and placed them in a modern setting.

  • Thumbnail for Indian Text Written on Palm Leaves entitled: Rahasya (Mystery) (leaves spread out)
    Indian Text Written on Palm Leaves entitled: Rahasya (Mystery) (leaves spread out)

    Width: 37 cm. Material: wood and green palm leaves; housed in a silk-covered hammered metal cylinder Date of text, 18th century; container possibly Chinese made later to house this document. This Sanskrit text is entitled “Rahasya†or Mystery and it is ascribed to Brahma. The Mystery contains religious legends. The Mystery is written on palm leaves in Grantham characters. The palm leaves were allowed to yellow to make the written characters more visible.

  • Thumbnail for Procession of Sparrows (A Japanese fairy tale)
    Procession of Sparrows (A Japanese fairy tale) by Ogata, Gekko

    Processing people in multicolored robes dancing, purple color bled through the paper.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Ramayana scenes
    Kailash Cave Temple, Ramayana scenes

    Familiar scenes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana, cover one outer wall of the main temple. The parallel wall on the other side tells the story of the Mahabharata in carved vignettes of well-known episodes.

  • 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 2
    Crane scroll, part 2 by Sotatsu, Tawaraya , Koetsu, Hon'ami

    See Crane scroll, part 1 (soc000277)

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

    See Crane scroll, part 1 (soc000277)

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

    See Crane scroll, part 1 (soc000277)

  • 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 Four Accomplishments, Left Screen
    Four Accomplishments, Left Screen by Yusho, Kaiho (1533-1615)

    This pair of screens offers a novel interpretation of the four accomplishments of calligraphy, painting, music, and go (a board game). Yusho's pictorialization of the four accomplishments is very loose. The art of painting is represented by the trio viewing a scroll on the right screen. The corner of a go board on a red lacquer stand can be seen behind the outcrop of rocks in the lower right corner. Music is suggested by the brightly clad page bearing a zither in its protective covering on the left screen. Calligraphy is implied by the voluptuous beauty leaning against a treereading a folding book, as well as by the books on the low table. - abridged from catalogue entry by Christine Guth.

  • Thumbnail for Gifted Novelist
    Gifted Novelist

    Natsume Soseki, professor of English and later employee of the Asahi Shinbun, produced fine literature with liberal and original themes. He first achieved success with his novel, I Am A Cat.

  • Thumbnail for Umega-e - woodblock print
    Umega-e - woodblock print by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864)

    From the series: Faithful depictions of the figure of the shining prince (Sono sugata Hikaru no utushi-e). Woodblock print; ink and colors on paper. This print is number 32 in the series. The borders of this print has been trimmed. This print is from a series satirizing the Tale of Genji, the celebrated tenth century Japanese novel of Heian period courtly life, focusing on the assorted love affairs of Prince Genji and his clan. The Tale of Genji, by the court lady Murasaki Shikibu, is one of the most popular themes for illustrated book and paintings throughout Japanese history. The novel is renowned as the world's first novel. It includes 54 chapters, so most series have 54 prints plus a title page. These prints essentially parody the original in order to make the ancient subject more appealing to a contemporary audience. Therefore, the artist represented the figures in contemporary clothing and placed them in a modern setting.

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

    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.