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  • Thumbnail for Painted Padmapani Bodhisattva
    Painted Padmapani Bodhisattva

    In Cave 1, a well-preserved painted mural features this image of Padmapani Bodhisattva, carrying the lotus (padma) in his right hand and viewing the suffering of the world.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, painted Shiva Nataraj
    Kailash Cave Temple, painted Shiva Nataraj

    A brightly painted image on an inside pillar in the area outside the inner sanctum presents a lively image of the dancing Shiva Nataraj. In some parts of the temple, the ancient pigments seem to have been preserved, probably due to their placement in areas protected from the elements.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, gray Makara
    Ellora, Datta Temple, gray Makara

    On a pillar of the temple is this gray makara, a mythical aquatic beast associated with the Ganges gharial, a species of crocodile. The makara is associated with Kamadeva, god of desire, as well as the goddess Ganga and the Vedic god of the sea, Varuna.

  • Thumbnail for Dogmatism
    Dogmatism

    An official in this illustration is depicted carrying an umbrella labelled "dogmatism," refusing to let the rain water the flowers and plants. A writer nearby asks him "Why won't you let the flowers and sprouts get some spring rain?" The official answers "That would never do! As soon as there is rain, poisonous weeds would grow up."

  • Thumbnail for Illustrations of the Japan-China War
    Illustrations of the Japan-China War

    Title page from a book of illustrations from the Japan-China War of 1894-1895. Features two grinning men in britches and caps holding Japan's war flag aloft.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait of Kichijo-ten
    Portrait of Kichijo-ten

    Although the temple painting was created for religious worship, the full cheeks and small red lips of the subject suggest strongly feminine features.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of Mounted Warrior
    Painting of Mounted Warrior

    A depiction of a high-ranking warrior on a horse, his sword unsheathed for battle. This image has traditionally been identified as Ashikaga Takauji, head of his clan and founder of the Muromachi shogunate who lived most of his life on the battlefield.

  • Thumbnail for Battle of Lepanto, Detail B
    Battle of Lepanto, Detail B

    See the Battle of Lepanto screen description, soc000618

  • Thumbnail for Horses
    Horses by Sunraku, Kano (1559-1635)

    This pair of ema [votive paintings] were produced by Kano Sunraku, one of the most gifted artists of the late Momoyama and early Edo periods. Admired for their strength and speed and venerated for their innate, resolute spirit, horses have played a conspicious role in Japanese religious practices, ceremonial rites, and warfare since ancient times. Early accounts describe how horses were used in Shinto shrines, where their participation in solemn rituals was thought to be efficacious in precipitating rainfall or, conversely, in discouraging excessive rain and restoring good weather. To carry out these objectives, shrines were equipped with a pair of good animals, one of a dark hue, to cause rain to fall, and a second, with a light coat, to bring back the sun. Horses, in addition to their function in rites intended to affect the weather, had a more basic role as messengers and intermediaries between the temporal world and the Shinto gods. - abridged from catalogue entries by Money Hickman.

  • Thumbnail for Korean monk
    Korean monk

    This is a juxtapose of old and new, fast and slow. This is how one may look at Korea by seeing that there is a modern time and a historical time. Seoul, South Korea

  • Thumbnail for Seventh hall of hell
    Seventh hall of hell

    The King of Taishan is the judge portrayed here. Shows people gaining merit such as the person saving ants from a river and releasing a snake. The main hell featured is Sword Mountain. One also sees Oxhead, a common torturer in hell. Purchased in 1982 in Taiwan.

  • Thumbnail for Tangkha
    Tangkha

    Depicts the wrathful deity Mahakala with three Gelukpa lamas above [most likelyTsongkapa and his two main disciples] and images of Green and White Tara below. Said to be from the Tibetan region of China.

  • Thumbnail for Amida Buddha
    Amida Buddha

    Painted ink on paper image of the Pure Land Buddha Amida. May also be a representation of Amitayus, "The Buddha of Long Life" based on the iconography of the 'long life' symbol on the deity's robe. Purchased in the early 1980's in Taiwan.

  • 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 Landscape
    Landscape by Wu Tao, 1840-1895

    This painting reflects a strong traditional influence. The inscription: Spring breezes blow over the Peach Blossom Brook, and a touch of green circles the gray land.

  • Thumbnail for Ken Tenju hanging scroll, full view
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, full 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 Narcissus and Fungus, full view
    Narcissus and Fungus, full view by Wu Shouxian

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting; black ink and red on paper; image area 31 cm x 132.5 cm; brocade frame, flush roller with brocade ends; red fungus (mushrooms) regarded as the plant of long life or immortality and symbol of the good; calligraphy, three seals.

  • Thumbnail for Tang Yin portrait, close-up of figure
    Tang Yin portrait, close-up of figure by Signed 'Tang Yin'

    Chinese vertical scroll painting, likely a forgery; colors on silk, brocade frame mounted on paper, flush roller with brocade ends; image area 20.4 cm x 55.8 cm; subject Chang Hsien the archer, patron of child-bearing; birth of male child announced by hanging bow at door or gate, calligraphy, five seals. The subject matter does not match the artist’s inscription. Tang Yin is very well known for his versatility, including calligraphy, figures, and landscapes. He was also known for his literary talents and free-spirited lifestyle. His artistic reputation is reflected in many writings, including novels and dramas in later eras and his love of women is depicted in the performing arts and popular culture. Tang Yin was known as a commercial painter who sold his works and took commissions. Many of the extant works that bear his signature are forgeries. The artist of this painting displays a unique manner in his brushwork, with angular and edgy outlines that reflect the influence of Zhou Chen (still alive in the 1530s), another famous painter of Tang Yin’s era. Tang Yin originally studied painting with Zhou Chen, however Zhou Chen occasionally ghost-painted for Tang Yin due to the huge demand for Tang’s paintings. Another possibility is that the inscription of this painting was done by Tang Yin and the figure was done by Zhou Chen.

  • 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 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 Pair of Japanese landscapes
    Pair of Japanese landscapes by Tani Bunchô (1763-1840)

    27 ½" x 74". The brushstroke’s ability to balance the creation of “space†(kukan) with the needs of “spacing†(kuhaku) is clear in the trees in the Union College Bunchô Scrolls, where there is an acceptable image of foliage, but on closer inspection, the leaves are seen to be as carefully separated as the tarashikomi plants in the Union College Tosa Screens. In addition, the Union College Bunchô Scrolls show many brushstrokes in which both sides of the line are used to render forms. We see such “double edged brushstrokes†in the contours of the mountains, where the smooth run of the top of a line creates the overall rounded form of a peak, but the bottom has a series of bumps that render boulders within. Similarly, a single stroke suffices to create the branch of a tree, but because the two sides of the resulting line are different, the limb thins and has knobs and twists. When Ukiyo-e cutters carved such “double-edged brushstrokes†into the block, they had to cut the two sides of each line separately anyway, so it was easy to reproduce their differing movements.

  • Thumbnail for Six-fold Screen, Bird and Flower
    Six-fold Screen, Bird and Flower by Kanô Yoshinobu II (1774-1826)

    67 ¾†x 12’. the Union College Yoshinobu II Screen are a particularly interesting way to understand the differences between Kanô School painting and Ukiyo-e because while the two differed in the late Tokugawa Period (1615-1868), they originally started out much more similar.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait of a Boxer Supporter
    Portrait of a Boxer Supporter

    28 1/8" x 18 15/16 inches, ink and colors on paper. Formal family portrait of a supporter of the Boxer rebellion. Signed 'Charles F. Gammon 1900'.

  • Thumbnail for Buddhist Deity
    Buddhist Deity

    Lotus flowers typically grow in muddy-bottomed ponds, but they bloom without the slightest stain. This image offers a vivid and powerful metaphor of purity emerging from an imperfect or polluted world. In a small painting recently acquired by the Museum, a crimson lotus with fine gold veins serves as a fitting throne for a Buddhist deity. The deity is Cundi, a feminine form of Avalokitesvara, the most beloved bodhisattva in East Asia. Framed by a perfect white orb and haloes around the body and head, the deity sits cross-legged, or in 'lotus' position. She wears an elaborate crown and jeweled necklace, and her superhuman abilities are signaled by a third eye in the center of her forehead an eighteen arms. Two primary hands communicate through their conventional gesture of teaching, while most of the others grasp symbolic objects, such as the sword of wisdom, the wheel of the Buddhist dharma (or law), and the fruit of enlightenment. Emerging from the sea below, two male figures wear dragon crowns and colorful robes, and carry jade scepters. They are the dragon kings Nanda and Upananda. Each raises an arm to lend additional support to the lotus, suggesting service to Buddhism. The painting is fine and decorative, typical of the courtly style of the eighteenth century. At this time in China, Manchu emperors embraced the esoteric teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and were active patrons of Buddhist art. The image of Cundi, who is unaffected by the turbulent waters and the winds below, presents an image of serenity and she continues to capture our attention today. Text by De-nin D. Lee - published in Bowdoin College Museum of Art newsletter Spring 2006, p7.

  • Thumbnail for Great Egret
    Great Egret by Wang Yuan

    Possibly a work by a follower of Zhao Mengfu. The painting is very fine, probably cut down from a larger composition and now in a Japanese mounting. The subject and composition are inspired by Song bird-and-flower painting, but the slightly stylized qualities suggest a later date, possibly as early as the late Yuan, but also possibly Ming dynasty. To view a detail of the egret, click on related record below.