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  • Thumbnail for Santali tribal figure of Kali, for Shiva base - side view
    Santali tribal figure of Kali, for Shiva base - side view

    Cast bronze with gilding, 20 x 7 inches. Santali refers to tribal groups; sometimes it is used to mean tribes of a certain region, but it is also used generically to reference tribals, that is, indigenous Indian peoples who were never fully assimilated into Hindu India. In this sense, images such as these are relevant to discussions of the caste or varna system of South Asia and the official government policy of reservation for Untouchables, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that formed a part of the Constitution of the Republic of India. This is comparable to what in the US would be called Affirmative Action, but with much more specific initiatives. The notion that there are indigenous peoples of India who are regarded as having inhabited the subcontinent prior to the appearance of the Aryan tribes who brought their Sanskritic traditions can provide provocative possibilities for discussion in a range of disciplines (Religious Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Art History). These are relatively large (Ganesha is over 3 ft. in height; Siva-Kali about 2 feet) and quite handsome pieces which follow more or less standard Hindu iconographic schemes (the Hindu deities Siva, Kali, Ganesha) but in style depart from the styles of sculpture practiced in Hindu states and courts. Thus they lend themselves to discussions of standard Hindu iconography as well as to the nature of tribal traditions in South Asia; they could also generate interesting discussions of 'classical' versus 'tribal' in Asian art: what makes a work 'folk' art (that is, its origin, its makers or patrons, its formal qualities?). And how have these traditions come to intersect and interact in the last century? While these are designated as 19th century they may in fact be more recent in manufacture.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Calligraphy with bamboo and cicadas.
    Fan painting - Calligraphy with bamboo and cicadas. by Zhang Pan (1812-after 1887)

    Bamboo and cicadas with inscription. Zhang Pan was from Dingxing in Hebei province, and held an official post in Wuding in Shandong province. He was known as a calligrapher, especially in the seal and clerical script, as well as a painter of the bird and flower category, illustrated by the present example. He worked in the manner of Yao Yuanzhi,whose work is in this collection, and the earlier Qing artist Bian Shoumin, who was famous for his paintings of geese. Zhang may well have been a student of Yao Yuanzhi, since their lives overlapped by several decades. This painting of two cicadas on a willow tree, one on the trunk and one on the slender branch is of an unusual subject, but painted with restraint and great skill. A subject such as this is ideal for the fan format, since the twisting trunk and wind-blown branches can be arranged to fit the available space. There is a resonance between the cicada, an insect associated with rejuvination and rebirth through its habit of emerging from the ground after seven years of burial, and the aged twisting trunk juxtaposed with the fresh new leaves.

  • Thumbnail for Head of Buddha - detail
    Head of Buddha - detail

    Bronze, 14 x 6 inches. The Buddha head closely follows stylistic traditions of 16th-century Thailand, the Ayuthaya period/ dynasty, when the Thais became an independent and unified kingdom. Whether this is a 16th-century object or a modern copy is less important than the paradigms of Thai sculptural form that it embodies. The idealized form of the Buddha image depicted here follows a formal trajectory that can ultimately be traced back to Gupta-era India; that is, the form of the Buddha's body is idealized in terms of certain preconceived notions of the ideal body that originated in aesthetic texts of Gupta-era India. Thus this handsome Buddha head epitomizes the notion of physical beauty but simultaneously conveys the understanding of the Buddha as a detached, divine, and transcendant being. The aesthetic conventions of his depiction, like Buddhism itself, were long-established across a cultural region that stretched from the homeland of the Buddha in northeastern India to the farthest lands of East and Southeast Asia. Thus in Thailand at this time, while artists had long ceased depending directly on South Asia as a formal source, shared assumptions about the nature of the Buddha created a shared notion for sculptural form.

  • Thumbnail for fan painting - Cherry blossoms with calligraphy
    fan painting - Cherry blossoms with calligraphy by Jin Lan (1841-1911)

    Prunus branches arching over inscription. Jin Lan was from Suzhou and is listed as one of the "Nine Friends" of that city. Although defined as a self-taught artist, he was certainly aware of the orthodox tradition of the Qing Dynasty. He modeled himself on such earlier masters and collaborated with contemporaries such as Gu Yun who worked in that tradition. He painted a wide range of subjects, but the prunus blossom was his speciality, and this fine example can be compared with others in the collection, notably that by Tang Yifen and Yi Nianzeng.

  • Thumbnail for Ritual Vessel (Jue) - opposite side
    Ritual Vessel (Jue) - opposite side

    8 inches x 6.5 inches. Opposite side of classical ritual pouring vessel is cast with typical zoomorphic taotie mask design divided by flanges below a border of lappets on the central decorated section. The smoothly patinated surface shows malachite incrustation throughout. This is one of the most recognizable of the archaic bronze forms.

  • Thumbnail for Four-armed Avalokitesvara seated on double lotus throne
    Four-armed Avalokitesvara seated on double lotus throne

    Carved and lacquered wood sculpture of four-armed diety seated in lotus position on double lotus throne, ornate carved and applied decoration. h:8 3/4†w:6 1/2†d:5â€.

  • Thumbnail for Plowing the Field
    Plowing the Field by Saito, Kyoshi [1907 - 1997]

    Color woodblock print of rice fields in front of village with farmer and bullock. 10 x 14 7/8 “.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait of a Maharajah
    Portrait of a Maharajah

    Rajasthani school; gouache on paper. 20.5†x 18â€.

  • Thumbnail for Carved Door Lintel
    Carved Door Lintel

    Swat Region of Pakistan, cedar wood;16.5†x 37â€

  • Thumbnail for Gold
    Gold by Yoshida, Toshi

    19.5 x 14 in. Abstract horizontal design in brown, pink and white on gold background. Toshi is Hiroshi’s eldest son who inherited the studio; signed on the border.

  • Thumbnail for Heirinji Temple Bell
    Heirinji Temple Bell by Yoshida, Toshi (1911-1995)

    Woodblock print, 14.5 x 9.5 inches, by Toshi Yoshida. The print presents a striking contrast between a typical Japanese stone tower and the delicate cherry blossoms hanging down on slender branches. Toshi himself experienced a new springtime in his art with this print and others in 1951.

  • Thumbnail for One and Only
    One and Only by Yoshida, Tsukasa (b. 1949)

    8 x 11in.. Two sets of calligraphy with blue over white with gold and brown background with a red seal in the lower right corner. A fascinating composition made up of Japanese writing that incorporates the title. Blue Japanese characters have been printed over muted gold characters. There is a hint of primitive human figures. Is it also philosophical? Is the One and Only the idea behind other Tsukasa prints like "Dawn" and "Bubble of Life? Even the red seal on the print echoes this image. Son of Toshi Yoshida and third generation of Yoshida family artists.

  • Thumbnail for Padmarupa (Thangka) - detail
    Padmarupa (Thangka) - detail by Unknown

    Ground mineral pigment on cotton, silk, 50-1/2 (L) x 30-1/2 (W). Padmarupa wears a five -skull crown and holds a conch in his left hand and a drum in his right. Above him are Paden chogyo, Chok Lang, Marme Dzay, Chokyi Drakpa and Yonten O. In front are Yawa Huti, and ascetic and the scholar Gaya Bhara. In the lower foreground are Mahakala, a monk and Lhamo. Painted in Central Tibetan style.

  • Thumbnail for Sakaymuni (Thangka)
    Sakaymuni (Thangka)

    Ground mineral pigment on cotton, silk, 38 (L) x 23-1/2 (W) inches. The historical Buddha Shakyamuni is depicted here on a lotus throne performing the bhumisparasa (earth-touching) gesture. He is flanked by elephants and a pair of mahasiddhas. Above are the 7th Dalai Lama (Lozang Kalzang), Vajradhara, Amitayus, Akshobhya Savavid and Rajapani. Below are the 3 gods of wealth: Jambhala, Mahasuvarna Vaishravana, and Black Jambhala. In front of the Buddha are two disciples.

  • Thumbnail for Amitabha (Thangka)
    Amitabha (Thangka) by Unknown

    Ground mineral pigment on cotton, silk, 64 (L) x 34-1/2 (W) inches. Amitabha is depicted here at the center of his paradise flanked by Avalokiteshwara and Padmasambhava. Below are eight bodhisattavas, musicians, a devotee and two monks on lotuses. Painted in the Central Tibetan style.

  • Thumbnail for Hakkyoi (a celebrated Chinese poet)
    Hakkyoi (a celebrated Chinese poet) by Gaho, Hashimoto 1835-1908

    13 x 8.75 in. Multicolored print of a reclining philosopher and his attendant. From series Niphon Gwafu (A Collection of Sketches of Japan) published by Kinkodo in 1891.

  • Thumbnail for Domestic Scene from Sakaegusa
    Domestic Scene from Sakaegusa by Shuncho, Katsukawa (fluent)

    A domestic scene of four Japanese women wearing robes and combs in their hair. Three are sitting and one is standing.

  • Thumbnail for Cherry Blossom Viewing
    Cherry Blossom Viewing by Hiroshige, Ando

    9.5 x 13.5 in. Print of a landscape with trees hill and houses, multicolored. From series Toto Meisho published originally 1848 (Meji Edition c. 1878).

  • Thumbnail for Untitled
    Untitled by Sukenobu, Nishikawa

    Woman standing next to tree and hanging robe in black and white.

  • Thumbnail for Untitled (Dogs on Elephants and Horses)
    Untitled (Dogs on Elephants and Horses) by Yoshida, Toshi (1911-1995)

    Photo zinc pl ate, ca 11 x 16 inches, by Toshi Yoshida. Cartoon-like drawing of dogs riding horses and elephants with a military vehicle in the left corner and a red seal in the lower right corner. Toshi was 5 years old, a child afflicted with polio, when he made a sketch book with drawings like this. This page was photographed, transferred to a zinc plate and printed. While not realizing it, Toshi's drawing echoes the satirical animal cartoons of important people in 12th century classical Japanese art. It is possible to trace Toshi's career as an artist by means of this and other prints. Untitled (Rabbits in Battle), soclaa001040, represents his sketch book drawing when he was 5 years old; Raicho, soclaa001105, with considerable detail was his earliest self-carved and self-printed work at age 19; White Plum in the Farmyard, soclaa001106, marked a new beginning in his work; and Peaceful Wild Animals, soclaa001124, one of his largest prints, was made when he was 63 years old.

  • Thumbnail for Profile of an Ancient Warrior
    Profile of an Ancient Warrior by Yoshida, Hodaka (1926-1995)

    18.5 x 17.5 in. Abstract: black background, black, natural, red, with yellow, gold and orange lines. An fascinating abstract print, showing an image of a Japanese warrior, energetically charging toward an unseen foe. Black background, figure as open space, black line, red, with yellow, gold and orange lines. This is a profile of fierce energy. The lines within the figure seem to spin around and collide. The dripped yellow and black lines echo Japanese pottery or Jackson Pollock. Yoshida Hodaka is a third generation Yoshida family artist, brother of Toshi.

  • Thumbnail for Ideal Tibetan Government (Lotus Field)
    Ideal Tibetan Government (Lotus Field) by Unknown

    Ink and colored pencil on paper, 23-3/4 (L) x 18 (W) inches. This image depicts the ideal Tibetan government symbolized by 10 buildings. The large palace with the yellow tiled roof in the top center represents the Dalai Lama flanked by the cabinet (kashag) and legislature. Below are buildings for the judiciary, departments of religion, education, agriculture, medicine and human welfare and transporation. At the very bottom is a structure representing regional governors and departmental offices. The sketch is signed "Ross." These sketches of ideal government were apparently based on lectures the Tibetans were getting from CIA instructors on the tasks of nation-building.

  • Thumbnail for Eight Auspicious Emblems
    Eight Auspicious Emblems by Unknown

    Ink and colored pencil on paper, 23-1/2 (L) x 18 (W) inches. This is a formal, symmetrical arrangement depicting a lotus base supporting an endless knot, a pair of golden fish, the wheel of Dharma, the victory banner, the parasol and the conch. A vase for holding the other 7 emblems is assumed to be located behind them. They appear in front of a visionary landscaped flanked by clouds, the sun and moon. this is skillfully rendered by an artist with prior training.

  • Thumbnail for Spring in a Hot Spring
    Spring in a Hot Spring by Yoshida, Hiroshi (1876-1950)

    Woodblock print, 9.75 x 14.5 inches. Cherry blossoms in early spring in the foreground, a bridge over a stream with figures and buildings, and in the background a spa,trees, and mountains - all in delicate muted green, pink and brown. The artist captures what, for any Japanese person, is a nostalgic moment in an ideal setting. Unseen here are clouds of war gathering. Hiroshi was historically the most important artist in the Yoshida family. About 1900 and following, Americans bought many of his watercolors and, after the war, many of his prints. Yoshida Hiroshi is a second generation Yoshida family artist, who established the Yoshida Studio in Tokyo. The Yoshida family of artists began with Yoshida Kasaburô (1861-1894), then next Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950) and his wife Fujio (1887-1987), then their sons Toshi (1911-1995) with his wife Kiso (1919-2005) and Hodaka (1926-1995) with his wife Chizuko (1924- ) and daughter Ayomi (1958- ).

  • Thumbnail for Lioness B
    Lioness B by Yoshida, Toshi (1911-1995)

    Woodblock print, 14.75 x 16.75 inches. Another black and white lioness, with head down on a rock outcropping. This black and white image has been taken from the key block used for the larger, full color woodblock print, Peaceful Wild Animals, 1974, by Toshi. It shows the incredibly fine, detailed carving Toshi was able to do. The lines for the fur, for example, have been carved in the wood in a way that delineates the shape of the muscles in the body and the light reflected off of them. For a carver to do this without additional shading, shows great skill and artistry. The complete full color print shows all three animals together on a rock in the vast African savannah. This extra large print was carved from a single block of cherry wood. St.Olaf College has the entire large black and white key block impression, slightly cropped, in its collection.