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  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 036,  Founder's Portrait Hall
    Muroji, 036, Founder's Portrait Hall

    Next to the Hall for Memorial Tablets is a Founder's Portrait Hall, a 14th century memorial to the 8th century priest, Kukai. Kukai had traveled to China, where he studied under a great Chinese master, Huiguo. Kukai was named the successor to Huiguo, but instead of remaining in China, he returned to Japan, where he founded the Shingon school of esoteric Buddhism. He was intimately tied to the history of the great complex at Mt. Koya and to the history of Muroji. On the hill behind the Founder's Hall is a seven-story stone stupa, said to mark the secluded spot to which Kukai came to sit.½he Portrait Hall, itself, contains a wooden sculpture of Kukai as an object of veneration.

  • Thumbnail for Byodoin, Hoodo, the Phoenix  Hall,  front exterior
    Byodoin, Hoodo, the Phoenix Hall, front exterior

    This photo of the Phoenix Hall at Byodoin shows the front of the hall, seen from across the pond in front of the hall. A gray day in early December with a light drizzle falling, the photo may not reveal much of the architectural detail on the hall, but it does capture a sense of the feeling of time and place in late autumn. On the right side on the photo is a bridge painted with brilliant vermillion, in stark constrast to the weathered paint of the Hoodo, proper. The bridge was, at the time of the photograph (December, 2000), a very recent construction, having been completed sometime during the fall, 2000, part of an attempt to reconstruct all elements of the compound with historical accuracy.. The Hoodo was completed in 1053, during the Heian period. It was built by Fujiwara Yorimichi, a major figure in the powerful Fujiwara clan.

  • Thumbnail for Toyotomi Sutemaru and Toy Boat
    Toyotomi Sutemaru and Toy Boat

    The boat is said to have been one of Sutemaru's toys. Resembling a real boat, it has a small cabin at the helm and another at the stern. A board with wheels is attached to the bottom of the boat so that it can be pulled.

  • Thumbnail for Minamoto Yoritomo
    Minamoto Yoritomo

    One of the earliest extant examples of formal secular portraiture. The sitter is traditionally identified as Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-1199), the first shogun of Japan. After the death of the retired emperor Go-Shirakawa in 1192, Yoritomo received from the court the coveted title of Seiitaishogun (Great General Who Quells the Barbarians).

  • Thumbnail for Toyotomi Sutemaru
    Toyotomi Sutemaru

    Portrait sculpture of Toyotomi Sutemaru (1589-1591), the first son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), died when he was just two years old. Hideyoshi built Shounji in eastern Kyoto as the child's memorial temple. This portrait was enshrined there. Made of polychromed wood.

  • Thumbnail for President Jiang Zemin
    President Jiang Zemin

    Cover photo of "The Nineties" magazine, Hong Kong, takes 'a sly poke' at China's former leader with a close-up of Jiang Zemin, who looks as if he is fixing his hair.

  • Thumbnail for Nixon in China
    Nixon in China

    In this cover photo from Newsweek, President Richard Nixon toasts Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in the Great Hall of the People in March, 1972.

  • Thumbnail for Chairman Mao greets Red Guards
    Chairman Mao greets Red Guards

    A photo of Chairman Mao in military uniform greeting Red Guards at the outset of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

  • Thumbnail for Emperor Qianlong
    Emperor Qianlong by Giuseppe Castiglione

    Portrait of the Chinese Emperor Qianlong; detail taken from "In My Heart There Is the Power to Reign Peaceably."

  • Thumbnail for Jinbaori
    Jinbaori

    This jinbaori, made of wool, is said to have been owned by Date Masamune, daimyo of Sendai. The jinbaori's purpose was originally functional, being worn over armor for protection against cold and rain. Horizontally centered on the back of this jacket of thin wool is the bamboo and sparrow crest ("mon") of the Date family embroidered in gold.

  • Thumbnail for Ashikaga Yoshimasa
    Ashikaga Yoshimasa

    This portrait done with ink and color and gold leaf on silk is believed to be of the eighth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshimasa.

  • Thumbnail for Letter to Yu Si
    Letter to Yu Si by Shiqun, Hang

    A letter to Yu Si by Hang Shiqun, written on ornamental letter paper, using a form of archaic clerical script.

  • Thumbnail for Boxers United in Righteousness Member, 1900
    Boxers United in Righteousness Member, 1900

    A member of the Boxers United in Righteousness, waving his flag, circa 1900.

  • 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 Nixon Visits China
    Nixon Visits China

    Postcard commemorating Nixon's historic visit to China, 1972.

  • Thumbnail for Anti-American imperialism poster - 3 of 3
    Anti-American imperialism poster - 3 of 3

    Series of images showing the US involvement in Asia over the first half of the 20th century. In this final section, the US portrayed as Uncle Sam is defeated by the rising sun of Mao Zedong.

  • Thumbnail for The General Amakasu Omi-no-kami Kagotoki riding a brown horse
    The General Amakasu Omi-no-kami Kagotoki riding a brown horse by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Kana-dehon Chushingura Act IV: Oboshi Yuranosuke display's Hangan's sword
    Kana-dehon Chushingura Act IV: Oboshi Yuranosuke display's Hangan's sword by Eisen Keisai

    From the Kanadehon Chushingura (Model of the Kana Syllabury: the Forty-seven Loyal Retainers) series. Keisei Eisen was born in Edo, the son of a calligraphy artist. He was apprenticed to Kikugawa Eizan and studied traditional painting before becoming a printmaker. Throughout his career, Eisen’s work was productive and varied. Book illustrations and prints were his first commissioned works. Early on, he achieved lasting fame for his bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women), and both contributed to and edited the Ukiyo-e ruiko (History of Prints of the Floating World) one of the few surviving sources of information-rich material on printmaking art and artists in Japan. At times, he struck partnerships with other artists of his age, such as his collaboration with Hiroshige, which resulted in a series of landscape prints entitled The Sixty-nine Stations on the Kiso Highway. Eisen also released many surimono (privately issued prints), shunga (erotic prints), and some landscape pieces. In addition to his career as a printmaker, Eisen pursued other sources of income. A self-described hard-drinker who humbly titled his version of Japanese print history Mumeio zhuihitsu (Essays by a Nameless Old Man), Eisen was also the manager and proprietor of a brothel for a time. Today, however he is most famous for his portrayals of the beauties of old Japan. Kana-dehon Chushingura (Model of the Kana Syllabury: the Forty-seven Loyal Retainers) was a popular and frequently performed Kabuki play in the late 18th and early 19th century in Edo. Based on actual historical events from 1701 – 1703, the play tells of forty-seven ronin (samurai without a lord) who seek revenge for the unjust death of their leader Enya-Hangan. Act IV: Enya-hangan commits hara-kiri, while his loyal retainer Yuranosuke vows revenge on Moronao

  • Thumbnail for Kana-dehon Chushingura Act III: Scene at the palace in Kamakura
    Kana-dehon Chushingura Act III: Scene at the palace in Kamakura by Utagawa Kuniteru

    Studied first under Kunisada and later with Toyokuni, took the name Kuniteru around 1844. Kana-dehon Chushingura (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers) was a popular and frequently performed Kabuki play in the late 18th and early 19th century in Edo. Based on actual historical events from 1701 – 1703, the play tells of forty-seven ronin (samurai without a lord) who seek revenge for the unjust death of their leader Enya-Hangan. Included here are printed depictions of some of the particularly dramatic acts of the play. Act III: Enya-hangan draws his sword in reaction to the insults of Moronao, a capital offence resulting in a death sentence.

  • Thumbnail for Sakura Sogoro leaving his Family
    Sakura Sogoro leaving his Family by YoshitoshiTsukioka

    Diptych. The subject is Sakura Sogoro (1597-1645) taking leave of his family. He was on his way to ask alleviation of taxes from Shogun Ietsuna, for which misdemeanour he and his whole family were executed in 1645. First he and his wife were forced to see their three sons being beheaded, then they themselves were crucified. Color woodblock print; image: 18 3/8†x 13 1/4†(46.6 cm x 34.8 cm). on two 14 3/4†x 10†(37.5 cm x 25.5 cm) sheets.

  • Thumbnail for PORTRAIT OF NGAWANG LOBSANG GYATSO, THE FIFTH DALAI LAMA (1617-1682)
    PORTRAIT OF NGAWANG LOBSANG GYATSO, THE FIFTH DALAI LAMA (1617-1682)

    Information provided by the museum label states, "In Tibet, the religious teacher (lama or guru) has a special significance. The great Fifth Dalai Lama, sitting in a classic pose of meditation, is honored in this three-dimensional portrait. He is an important figure in Tibetan history because of the key role he played in consolidating spiritual and political rule in the country during the 17th century. He is famous for building the Potala Palace, which towers over the capital city of Lhasa, and for establishing close diplomatic relations with the Manchu court of China. During his lifetime, he was publicly recognized as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.†-- Gilt bronze -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1996.31)

  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque, sign
    Aurangzeb Mosque, sign

    Sign in English and Hindi for the Tomb of the last Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Behind this sign is a small sign explaining that anyone who vandalizes this monument will be subject to imprisonment of up to three months, a fine of up to 5000 rupees [more than $100], or both.

  • Thumbnail for Qiu Jin
    Qiu Jin

    Portrait of Qiu Jin, a "spirited radical" woman and supporter of Sun Yat-sen's Revolutionary Alliance.

  • Thumbnail for Empress Dowager Cixi
    Empress Dowager Cixi

    Portrait of the Empress Dowager Cixi, wife of Qing Emperor Xianfeng; she died in 1908.

  • Thumbnail for Li Hongzhang
    Li Hongzhang

    Li Hongzhang, one of the prominent ministers under Prince Gong during the late Qing Dynasty, concerned with provincial reform; also assigned to go to Japan and negotiate with the victors there after the victorious maneuver on the part of the Japanese in Shandong, 1895.