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  • 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 Great Fifth Dalai Lama and the Shunzhi Emperor
    Great Fifth Dalai Lama and the Shunzhi Emperor

    The Great Fifth Dalai Lama and the Shunzhi emperor at their meeting in Beijing in 1652. Mural, Great Western Hall, Potala Palace.

  • 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 Zhao Tomb
    Zhao Tomb

    Wall painting from tomb at Anping in Hebei province, China.

  • Thumbnail for Map of the World
    Map of the World

    This map of the world was originally paired with the screen, the Battle of Lepanto.

  • Thumbnail for Fourth hall of hell
    Fourth hall of hell

    One of a series of ten hell scrolls. Shows the King of the Five Offices and his henchman as well as several of the hells under his control. Commonly seen in Taiwanese temples. Purchased in the early 1980's in Taiwan.

  • 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 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 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 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 Ken Tenju hanging scroll, picture view
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, picture 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 Nanko hanging scroll, full view
    Nanko hanging scroll, full 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 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 Portrait, upper view
    Portrait, upper view by Unknown

    19th century portrait depicting a subject seated in a garden by a stream, chrysanthemum in a vase and a pine tree. The chrysanthemum in the vase symbolizes autumn while the pine tree represents longevity. The image area is 67cm x 130.5 cm and was made using Chinese ink and colors on paper in a silk mounting. The subject and artistic style are reminiscent of the famous artist, Ren Xiong (1820-1864). Ren Xiong and his family members were successful commercial painters in Shanghai and nearby regions and skilled in many subjects, including portraiture.

  • Thumbnail for Sumi-e (ink painting) and gold-leaf landscape
    Sumi-e (ink painting) and gold-leaf landscape by Insho Domoto (1891-1975)

    2’6â€x 2’9,†framed. Signed “Insho†and sealed.

  • Thumbnail for Bamboo in Dew, Pine in Wind
    Bamboo in Dew, Pine in Wind by Huang Daozhou, Jiao Bingzhen

    This very long handscroll includes an additional series of colophons as well as a title frontispiece. It is historically quite interesting as the artist, Huang Daozhou, was a notable Ming patriot and martyr. His biography is included beside the portrait, which precedes the ink bamboo and pine. The authors of the other colophons praise Huang. The painting Bamboo in Dew, Pine in Wind is preceded by a biography of Huang Daozhou, and a portrait of Huang attributed to Jiao Bingzhen. 103 x 15 1/2 inches. Ink on satin for the painting. The portrait can be seen by clicking on the related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of One Hundred Boys
    Painting of One Hundred Boys by Gu Luo (1763-?)

    Gu Luo 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.

  • 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 Landscapes with Cranes - one from an album of six
    Landscapes with Cranes - one from an album of six by Lu Zhi (1496-1576) (attributed)

    This album of landscapes with cranes includes a seventh leaf giving an attribution to the Ming dynasty master painter 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. The album contains six leaves total.

  • Thumbnail for Scholars' Occupations - detail of inscription and seal
    Scholars' Occupations - detail of inscription and seal by Gu Luo (1763-?)

    Detail of the inscription and seal found on the Scholars' Occupations handscroll. This colorful and pleasant image of scholars in a garden is a standard subject. It shows scholars playing chess, examining painting or calligraphy, playing the zithers. Servant boys bring books behind. It is an idealized image, set in springtime, and would have been appealing to scholars and to those who shared scholarly, cultural values. 12 5/8 x 106 5/8 inches for entire handscroll. To view the scroll, click on the related record number below.

  • Thumbnail for Scholars' Occupations
    Scholars' Occupations by Gu Luo (1763-?)

    This colorful and pleasant image of scholars in a garden is a standard subject. It shows scholars playing chess, examining painting or calligraphy, playing the zithers. Servant boys bring books behind. It is an idealized image, set in springtime, and would have been appealing to scholars and to those who shared scholarly, cultural values. 12 5/8 x 106 5/8 inches. Ink and colors on paper.

  • Thumbnail for Pair of Musicians from an Album of Eight Genre Scenes
    Pair of Musicians from an Album of Eight Genre Scenes by Shen Quan (1672-1762)

    Shen Quan's album of figures include a 1) female immortal goddess type on a donkey, 2) a scene of parting, with a male figure carrying a gourd, 3) a couple kneeling before an altar, 4) the three sages (Buddha, Confucius, Laozi), 5) a female immortal with female attendant and deer, 6) a pair of figures cutting bamboo, 7) the woman with a fan, and 8) a pair of musicians. The paintings are competent , but not outstanding. They represent a variety of popular figures, gods, practices and would have had popular appeal in the late imperial period. They demonstrate the strength and vitality of narrative imagery, even in the post-Dong Qichang age, when orthodox landscape painting was dominated with elite views of painting. Each album leaf is 6 3/16 x 10 3.8 inches. Ink and colors on silk. To see another image from the album, click on related record below.

  • 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 Portrait of a Man
    Portrait of a Man

    Possibly an ancestor portrait of a Qing type figure. Male has graying beard, wears traditional Qing cap. Bright blue, fur-lined robe decorated with cranes on phoenixes. Undergarment has 4-clawed dragons, flaming pearl, over stylized rocks and waves.

  • Thumbnail for Shuji version of the Womb  Mandala
    Shuji version of the Womb Mandala

    16.25 x 14.25 inches. The Womb Mandala (J.: Taizokai Mandara) is the static principle of the cosmos; the matrix of all things, i.e., the material world of physical phenomena, with Dainichi Nyorai, the Cosmic Universal Buddha in the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism occupying the center. In the shuji version of this mandara, Sanskrit characters substitute for the images of Buddhas and other Buddhist deities normally seen on the mandara form. As a pair, this painting is coupled with the Diamond World Mandala [J: Kongokai Mandara] and are the "seed character" (shuji) versions of the Ryokai Mandara, or Mandalas of the Two Worlds. These pairs of mandara are devotional aids in the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan, emphasizing the phenomenal and the transcendant sides of the Cosmic, Universal Buddha Dainichi Nyorai. The pair of mandalas would be hung in a Shingon temple to provide focal points for contemplation and ritual religious practice, and could also have been used in initiation ceremonies for new initiates into the disciplines of Shingon. The small scale of this shuji pair suggests private devotional usage. These are later examples of a significant type, and the two should always be displayed together, as they would have been hung together in the temple.