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  • Thumbnail for Matsunouch - 'within the pines' - English title: 'New Year's Week'
    Matsunouch - 'within the pines' - English title: 'New Year's Week' by Nishijima Katsuyuki (born 1945)

    Woodblock print; ink and colors on paper. The title is a reference to the first 15 days of the New Year when the kadomatsu (traditional Japanese pine tree new year decoration) is placed at the gate of houses and shops. Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Nishijima Katsuyuji studied woodblock printing at Mikumo publishing house in Kyoto 1964-1968. Exhibited with Kyoto Independents 1965-1970 and in solo and group shows. Experimented with stencil dyeing and printing 1969-1972. From 1972 focused on limited edition sosaku-hanga woodblocks taking subjects from old traditional buildings. Prints include a series Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kiso Kaido and Kyoto street scenes. This artist works in a conservative style that is popular among Western fans of nostalgic images of old Japan. He is one of the best artists alive today to create images in this genre.

  • Thumbnail for Two Thai pots (pot 1)
    Two Thai pots (pot 1)

    Allegedly from the ancient Thailand site of Ban Chiang. Painted earthenware. When this archaeological site was discovered in the 1960s, it predated the earliest known bronze age site in Thailand, and southeast Asian prehistory was rewritten. Ban Chiang was occupied for over 2000 years prior to the Common Era and its accidental discovery pushed the date of civilization in southeast Asia back nearly two millennia. Ban Chiang is a UNESCO World Heritage Area site, considered the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in South-East Asia. It marks an important stage in human cultural, social and technological evolution during the prehistoric era in Southeast Asia 3600 BCE - 200 CE.

  • Thumbnail for Two Thai pots (pot 2)
    Two Thai pots (pot 2)

    Allegedly from the ancient Thailand site of Ban Chiang. Painted earthenware. When this archaeological site was discovered in the 1960s, it predated the earliest known bronze age site in Thailand, and southeast Asian prehistory was rewritten. Ban Chiang was occupied for over 2000 years prior to the Common Era and its accidental discovery pushed the date of civilization in southeast Asia back nearly two millennia. Ban Chiang is a UNESCO World Heritage Area site, considered the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in South-East Asia. It marks an important stage in human cultural, social and technological evolution in the prehistoric era of Southeast Asia, 3600 BCE-200 CE.

  • Thumbnail for One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi
    One of the 12 Guardian Generals of Yakushi

    16.5 inches in height. Originally painted; much has worn away. Inlaid eyes. Modern base. Almost a dancing stance, w. left foot partially raised, right hand on hip, left hand extended. The DePauw label identifies it as a Guardian Figure of Shogun Jizo, but this does not make sense; it is clearly not Jizo, as Jizo is a bodhisattva who is shown with a shaved head and dressed as a Buddhist priest; he is not a shogun, and not a guardian figure. It appears rather to be one of the Junishinsho (12 Guardian Generals) of Yakushi, the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. There is one general to guard each of 12 Vows of Healing that Yakushi was believed to have made. The most famous examples of this type of guardian figure are at Shin-Yakushiji in Nara (8th c.), and at Muroji (9th c.)

  • Thumbnail for Kaki (Persimmons)
    Kaki (Persimmons) by Tomoe Yokoi (born 1943)

    Mezzotint; ink and colors on paper, framed under glass. Tomoe Yokoi was born in Nagoya Japan in 1943. She began art studies at Bunk Tokyo College of Art, were the curriculum was traditional techniques. Subject matter stressed was realistic everyday images such as fruits, musical instruments, and flowers. In 1964, following graduation, Yokoi moved to Paris, and studied intaglio printmaking with S. W. Hayter as this famous workshop, Atelier. In Paris Yokoi perfected her technique of mezzotint, expanding its parameters to include more complex images and subtle color nuances. In 1971 Yokoi moved to New York City where she worked and introduced her art to New York audiences. She developed a unique style which combines and is a synthesis of her Japanese, Parisian, and New York experiences.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait of Thoreau
    Portrait of Thoreau by Matsubara Naoko (born 1937)

    Edition: 45/100. Woodblock print; ink on paper.This is a fine, interesting work by this woman artist, indicative of modern Japanese artist-intellectuals' interest in Western philosophers. Born in Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku, Matsubara Naoko grew up mostly in the city of Kyoto. Her father was one of the most senior Shinto priests in Japan, and her mother came from a very old Shinto family. After graduating from the Kyoto Academy of Fine Arts (now Kyoto Fine Arts University), she went to the United States as a Fulbright scholar, spending a year at the Carnegie Institute of Art (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, where she received her MFA.

  • Thumbnail for Maid Servant Holding Up a Mirror to Her Mistress
    Maid Servant Holding Up a Mirror to Her Mistress

    From Kota (Rajastan); ink and opaque color on paper; 7 7/8in. x 5 3/8in. (19.8cm. x 13.5cm.) This precisely painted, sensual and intimate image is an excellent example of the Rajput painting style that developed out of a highly Mughalized idiom. The finely detailed features of the two figures and the refined comforts of this palace terrace scene allow great insight into the precious world of the Indian nobility. This leaf is an illustration to a Ragamala: Biawal Ragini of Hindola Raga.

  • Thumbnail for Korean amulets and chatelaines (1)
    Korean amulets and chatelaines (1)

    These are interesting pedagogically in discussions of Asian shamanism but need further study.

  • Thumbnail for Small plate - detail of top design
    Small plate - detail of top design

    Stoneware, Dia. 5 3/8". Chinese ceramics are far better understood than Southeast Asian wares because careful excavations and the imperial records of the kilns of Jingdezhen, which began producing ceramics in the Tang dynasty, have provided a clearer chronology of Chinese wares. Although the ceramics of the imperial kilns differ from wares made specifically for export, the stylistic development of the two types share enough traits so that the one informs the other. The Chinese wares produced with underglaze blue range from folkish kitchen ware to sophisticated imperial porcelains. Variations in color from grey to a vivid blue depend on the source of the cobalt. Local Chinese cobalt, discovered in the fifteenth century, has a high content of manganese, which causes the blue to tend toward a pale grey, while the high iron and low manganese content of the imported Middle Eastern cobalt creates an intense blue. Yuan (fourteenth century) blue-and-white wares have been discovered in insular Southeast Asia, but it was during the Ming dynasty that the quantity of blue-and-white exports increased greatly. These small plates are glazed in underglaze blue that is painted freely in plant-like motif. The base is glazed and has an underglaze blue marking that may indicate the potter. Chinese wares can be distinguished from Thai by the clay body, and by the fact glaze is often painted on the base and over the footring.

  • Thumbnail for Stoneware Dish (front)
    Stoneware Dish (front)

    From Sankampaeng, Thailand. Stoneware, H: 2 1/8" x Dia. 9". While the export ceramics of the Sawankhalok and Sukhothai kilns have been known in the West since the nineteenth century (though they were ascribed to Chinese kilns at that time), the smaller, northern kiln sites have only been explored beginning in the second half of the twentieth century, the first, Kalong, having been discovered in 1933. Sankampaeng is the second most extensive of the northern kiln sites (with eighty-three kilns). The wares are generally monochrome wares or underglaze iron. This kiln site was probably producing at the same time as Sukhothai and Sawankhalok. This wheat-colored vessel is finely potted, with incised lines as the only decoration. The mouthrim is unglazed, as the plates were stacked rim-to-rim in the kiln. The clay is a pinkish-buff color.

  • Thumbnail for Views of Osaka - detail from right side panel
    Views of Osaka - detail from right side panel

    One of a pair (originally) of 6-panel screens; each panel is 68" x 25".A pre-modern work, a variant, in the Edo Period, of the Rakuchu Rakugai type of views of Kyoto. Here, we see scenes of Osaka. Suyari (clouds) applied in pieces.

  • Thumbnail for Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section seven
    Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section seven

    Watercolor on paper with gold border on top and bottom of scroll, depicting drawing of parts of samurai's armor including helmet.

  • Thumbnail for Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section four
    Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section four

    Watercolor on paper with gold border on top and bottom of scroll, depicting drawing of parts of samurai's armor including helmet.

  • Thumbnail for Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section five
    Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section five

    Watercolor on paper with gold border on top and bottom of scroll, depicting drawing of parts of samurai's armor including helmet.

  • Thumbnail for Two Sumo Wrestlers
    Two Sumo Wrestlers by Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)

    14 x 9 inches. Two sumo wrestlers, grappling in the ring.

  • Thumbnail for Unglazed jar
    Unglazed jar

    From Pitsanulok, Sukhothai, or Sawankhalok. Earthenware, H: 12 3/4" x 9 ". Jars of this type were produced in huge quantities in Sawankhalok, Pitsanulok, and Sukhothai, and it is impossible to distinguish the production of the three centers. In all instances, the clay body is a grey color and the decoration is appliqued and jabbed on to the surface. Unglazed vessels are often used to contain water, as the liquid stays cool, since the vessel body can breath.

  • 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 Tanegashima Rifle case - detail of emblem
    Tanegashima Rifle case - detail of emblem

    Flint and safety pin lacking, but otherwise in excellent condition. So, too, is the lacquered, fitted case, with its identifying mon, or crest of the daimyo clan for whom it was made. The firearm refers to one of the most interesting periods of Japanese history, and can be dated to a fairly precise time period, because such weapons did not exist in Japan before they were introduced by the Portuguese in 1543. The Portuguese had been blown off course in a storm and made landfall at Tanegashima, a small island off the coast of Kyushu (hence the name "Tanegashima" Rifle). This weapon is much more rare than a samurai sword because the time when it was in use was of such short duration. Use of such guns was banned early in the Edo period. This rifle is heavy! Metal fittings with lion on butt end. On lower surface of the rifle, metal fittings, as in sword furniture, with cloud pattern near the end (cf. smoke from firing). Halfway down is a flaming jewel. Back near the trigger, a 3-clawed dragon form in the clouds. Behind the dragon is a character on a round metal insert; then the trigger; on the bottom of the butt, another character. On the sides of the shoulder piece is further decoration (left side, cherry blossoms; right side, kara-shishi [Chinese lion-dog), and on upper surface is peony, often associated with the lion-dog in Japanese decorative arts. Above the trigger is a samurai helmet; on the metal assembly is another character, prob. the maker's symbol. Lacquered case is shaped to fit the rifle, and bears the mon of a five-petaled flower with circular petals, possibly a plum, within a circle.

  • Thumbnail for Tanegashima Rifle - detail of stock
    Tanegashima Rifle - detail of stock

    Flint and safety pin lacking, but otherwise in excellent condition. So, too, is the lacquered, fitted case, with its identifying mon, or crest of the daimyo clan for whom it was made. The firearm refers to one of the most interesting periods of Japanese history, and can be dated to a fairly precise time period, because such weapons did not exist in Japan before they were introduced by the Portuguese in 1543. The Portuguese had been blown off course in a storm and made landfall at Tanegashima, a small island off the coast of Kyushu (hence the name "Tanegashima" Rifle). This weapon is much more rare than a samurai sword because the time when it was in use was of such short duration. Use of such guns was banned early in the Edo period. This rifle is heavy! Metal fittings with lion on butt end. On lower surface of the rifle, metal fittings, as in sword furniture, with cloud pattern near the end (cf. smoke from firing). Halfway down is a flaming jewel. Back near the trigger, a 3-clawed dragon form in the clouds. Behind the dragon is a character on a round metal insert; then the trigger; on the bottom of the butt, another character. On the sides of the shoulder piece is further decoration (left side, cherry blossoms; right side, kara-shishi [Chinese lion-dog), and on upper surface is peony, often associated with the lion-dog in Japanese decorative arts. Above the trigger is a samurai helmet; on the metal assembly is another character, prob. the maker's symbol. Lacquered case is shaped to fit the rifle, and bears the mon of a five-petaled flower with circular petals, possibly a plum, within a circle.

  • Thumbnail for Charger - top view
    Charger - top view

    From Sawankhalok, 15th or 16th century with 20th century added decoration. Stoneware, H: 2 5/8" x Dia: 11". Green-glazed wares were among the earliest Chinese ceramics to make their way to Southeast Asia. These celadons were coveted because of the belief that they had magical properties such as the ability to reveal poisonous food. To achieve the green color of celadon, glaze made of wood ash mixed with clay and 2 to 5 per cent iron is applied, then fired in a reduction low oxygen atmosphere; the potter accomplishes this by closing the kiln's intake ports at a precise internal temperature, which is determined by observing the degree of incandescence within the kiln through a peephole. If the timing is off, the glaze will maintain its original whitish color. The resulting colors range from a pale, almost white green to a bright apple green, while the glaze finish ranges from matte to a glassy, reflective surface. Large, shallow plates or chargers were particularly coveted in the islands; they reflect Southeast Asian and Islamic influence, as the large size was suited to communal eating. However, this charger probably never was exported, as it slumped in the kiln and was undoubtedly considered a kiln waster. The plate was originally devoid of decoration, with the design now on the surface having been added in recent years by an unscrupulous dealer to enhance the price of the object. Even in the photograph, you can make out how lines mimicking incisions were drawn on both the exterior and interior. The base elucidates the firing technique, as the circular mark indicates the charger was stacked in the kiln using a disc support, the typical Sawankhalok kiln support used to separate the dishes so the glaze does not adhere them together.

  • Thumbnail for Small plate - detail of top design
    Small plate - detail of top design

    Stoneware, Dia. 5 3/8". Chinese ceramics are far better understood than Southeast Asian wares because careful excavations and the imperial records of the kilns of Jingdezhen, which began producing ceramics in the Tang dynasty, have provided a clearer chronology of Chinese wares. Although the ceramics of the imperial kilns differ from wares made specifically for export, the stylistic development of the two types share enough traits so that the one informs the other. The Chinese wares produced with underglaze blue range from folkish kitchen ware to sophisticated imperial porcelains. Variations in color from grey to a vivid blue depend on the source of the cobalt. Local Chinese cobalt, discovered in the fifteenth century, has a high content of manganese, which causes the blue to tend toward a pale grey, while the high iron and low manganese content of the imported Middle Eastern cobalt creates an intense blue. Yuan (fourteenth century) blue-and-white wares have been discovered in insular Southeast Asia, but it was during the Ming dynasty that the quantity of blue-and-white exports increased greatly. These small plates are glazed in underglaze blue that is painted freely in plant-like motif. The base is glazed and has an underglaze blue marking that may indicate the potter. Chinese wares can be distinguished from Thai by the clay body, and by the fact glaze is often painted on the base and over the footring.

  • Thumbnail for Ivory Figure with a Spinning Face
    Ivory Figure with a Spinning Face

    Noh performer with long hair holds bells for Shinto Dance in his raised arm. The figure's head spins up from a calm face to that of a demon like face; figure's garment has a geometric/floral motif; he holds a fan in his left had and wears a cap on his head; his hair is tied back with a bow which is broken on one side.

  • Thumbnail for Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section one
    Handscroll: Treatise on Samurai Armor - section one

    Watercolor on paper with gold border on top and bottom of scroll, depicting drawing of parts of samurai's armor including helmet

  • Thumbnail for Men Talking - closeup of image
    Men Talking - closeup of image

    Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper. Dimensions: 31 1/4 x 21 in. Condition is excellent with only rollers missing on scroll.

  • Thumbnail for Men Talking - closeup of signature
    Men Talking - closeup of signature

    Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper. Dimensions: 31 1/4 x 21 in.Condition is excellent with rollers missing on scroll.