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  • Thumbnail for Sandalwood Smoke, Manchuria -- Fumees De Santal. Mandchoukuo
    Sandalwood Smoke, Manchuria -- Fumees De Santal. Mandchoukuo by Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960)

    Woodblock print in ink and colors on paper. Size: paper: 14.25" x 18.75"; image: 11.75" x 15.5". Image of Chinese woman leaning over a railing inhaling incense smoke. French, active in Japan,Jacoulet came to Japan from his native France with his parents when he was ten. He produced very fine Japanese-style prints and his work is widely appreciated by collectors and scholars of modern Japanese printmaking.

  • Thumbnail for Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages)
    Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages) by Chikanobu, Toyohara (1837-1912)

    Third set of images of women from bound accordion-fold album of 30 woodblock prints with colophon. One half of full series of 50 prints depicting Japanese women of different historical periods highlighting their hairstyles and modes of dress.

  • Thumbnail for Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages)
    Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages) by Chikanobu, Toyohara (1837-1912)

    Second two images of women from bound accordion-fold album of 30 woodblock prints with colophon. One half of full series of 50 prints depicting Japanese women of different historical periods highlighting their hairstyles and modes of dress.

  • Thumbnail for Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages) - colophon
    Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages) - colophon by Chikanobu, Toyohara (1837-1912)

    Bound accordion-fold album of 30 woodblock prints with colophon. One half of full series of 50 prints depicting Japanese women of different historical periods highlighting their hairstyles and modes of dress. Color woodblock print; 9 1/2 x 14 1/2".

  • Thumbnail for Vase
    Vase

    Swelling small-mouthed vase with heavy foot of cream colored stoneware covered with thick, whitish slip, decorated with sgraffito designs of cranes, rabbit, humans in landscape. Numerous firing cracks filled after firing with black material. h:10†diameter: 7 1/4â€.

  • Thumbnail for White Glazed Porcelain Bowl
    White Glazed Porcelain Bowl

    Shallow, flaring, thin-walled porcelain vessel; bowl divided into 6 lobes; on small ringed foot; covered with creamy, lustrous glaze; 3 small spur marks in bottom of bowl. 2 x 6 1/2".

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Calligraphy
    Fan painting - Calligraphy by Ye Yanlan (act. 1861-1908)

    Ten different inscriptions copied from Zhou, Qin and Han bronzes, with transciptions into regular script and short comments. Date and signature are at the end at far left.Ye Yanlan was active in the late nineteenth century in the Tongzhi and Guangxu eras (1861-1908), and this date falls neatly into that time. He was a native of Guangdong province, far in the South of China, and further research will have to determine whether he stayed there or had moved north into the Yangtze region. His entry in a dictionary notes his proficiency in all the standard script types, and this fan suggests that he was also a scholar of early epigraphy. This fan illustrates the antiquarian interest many scholars had in epigraphy, especially as it appeared on bronzes that were cast by the aristocracy of the earliest dynasties. At this time in the nineteenth century, the discoveries of the royal burials of the Shang dynasty at Anyang were half a century away, and although traditional histories had record of this dynasty, it was still part myth in Ye's day. For Confucius, the early kings and aristocracy of the Zhou were paragons of filial piety, and deciphering their words as they appeared on their ritual implements carried the same import as that of western scholars who investigate the Dead Sea scrolls and other early fragments of scripture. The inscriptions cover some thousand years, and some, according to Ye, are as late as the Han. In Chinese terms, this calligraphy would be in the category of "Bronze and Stone Writing" (Jinshi wen), as opposed to one of the four major script types seen on most of the fans with calligraphy. Such studies had a long history, going back into the Song dynasty, and this fan is evidence for the continuation of these traditions into the late Qing. Since Ye provides both the antique bronze form and its equivalent in regular script, students could note these comparisons and do research on similar forms in other bronzes.

  • Thumbnail for Balinese Calendar (Wariqa) Painting in the Kamasan style
    Balinese Calendar (Wariqa) Painting in the Kamasan style

    Ink and colors on cloth. 49" x 71 1/4" (framed). This piece was the subject of a research paper by a student recently. It consists of small panels organized vertically and horizontally with calligraphic script and painted figures representing cosmic principles with symbols.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Calligraphy
    Fan painting - Calligraphy by Mei Zhizhi (1794-1843)

    19 lines of running script, the lines alternating between longer lines of five to six characters and shorter lines of three to four characters; first four lines with dedication (to a 'Yunxi lianchi dashi') and a date ('jiyani 1794') which is the date the artist, Mei Zhizhi, was born; last line with signature of artist. Mei Zhizhi, called Yunsheng, is one of the earlier artists in the collection. His home was Jiangdu in Jiangsu province. The date given in the second line does not fit into the artist's lifetime, nor is it in the usual place for dating a work of art. It is yet to be determined whether the date refers to the year of the artist's birth or if this is a coincidence. Outside of the dictionary citation, no other information was found on the artist. He was a zhuren in 1839, which means he would have had a modest, perhaps local, reputation as a scholar. Although he was in his forties when he attained this honor, it took many scholars years of trying before they succeeded at the exams. He was only 50 years old when he died five years later. The well formed and disciplined characters suggest a person who had spent many years studying the masters, in this case, most likely the famous Song calligrapher Huang Tingjian. The energy of the brush moves from line to line and character to character in a fluent and convincing manner. Zhizhi's brief citation does mention that he was known for his running script, and this fan suggests that his reputation was deserved.

  • Thumbnail for Nautch scene with three women
    Nautch scene with three women

    Punjabi school, made for export to the West; gouache on paper. 6.75†x 4.5â€

  • Thumbnail for Daoist diety -  possibly Xi Wang Mu
    Daoist diety - possibly Xi Wang Mu

    Carved lacquer wooden figure of seated diety. Hands clasped frontally, bird headdress, covered with layers of red lacquer and gilding. With fitted brocade velvet covered stand. h:10 1/4†w:4 7/8â€.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Landscape with hut
    Fan painting - Landscape with hut by Unknown

    A hut set amid trees along a riverbank. The name of the artist is not written clearly enough to read. In the foreground is the bank of a lake or river with a single simple hut set beside a path that leads from the far right edge of the fan to the far left, where it disappears into a cluster of rocks. Around the hut grow several trees. Across the water rises a larger mountain mass, and the land diminishes bit by bit into the distance at the right. The curved horizon fits the contours of the fan, and the composition effectively fits the space. The brushwork is simple and straightforward, and one could characterize it with the word "bland" which had been developed in the Yuan dynasty as a positive artistic criterion. The artist states that he is working in the tradition of Shen Gaosai. The characters for Gaosai are partly abraded, and could be wrong. One would expect the reference to be Shen Zhou, whose work this fan does resemble. The date could be a multiple of the sixty-year cycle, of course.

  • Thumbnail for Copy of Persian Miniature
    Copy of Persian Miniature

    8 x 14 inches. Depicts a palace scene. These are extremely well executed copies of 15th- and 16th-century Persian miniatures (Timurid and Safavid). They lend themselves to pedagogical purposes in several ways. First, they raise the issue of copies and how we approach and consider these; certainly they will not be the only works in the project that are relevant to such questions, but they are quite fine works. Second, and perhaps far more significant, is that they represent folios from manuscripts that were created at the Muslim courts of 16th-century Persia (Tabriz and Shiraz) and thus exemplify the subjects that typify Muslim manuscripts of the era. Opportunities to engage issues relevant to the Islamic world (considering that the vast majority of the world's Muslims live in Asia, not the Middle East) will be of great value to students. For example, these paintings lend themselves to discussions of the nature of iconoclasm in Islamic art, to what kinds of subjects might and which might not be depicted in painting, as well as to the diverse attitudes within various schools of Islam regarding the acceptability of painting. They include depictions of historical themes and themes from poetry. Thus they could also generate interesting research projects for students: they lend themselves to research on the styles of Persian painting they represent; to identification of the particular themes depicted; and of course students could likely identify the particular paintings they copy. Finally, because these styles of Persian painting formed an essential element in shaping the Mughal painting school that arose in 16th-century India (the two artists that headed the emperor Akbar's painting workshop came to India from the Safavid court at Tabriz), they represent a direct link to Mughal painting in India.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Whiling away the summer
    Fan painting - Whiling away the summer by Ren Xun (1835-1893

    The lotus, the fan and the robe pulled back from the neck all suggest the season of summer, and the subject of the scholar taking his ease. The lotus, the fan, and the robe pulled back from the neck all suggest the season of summer, and the subject of the scholar taking his ease in the garden during the summer has a long history. One famous example, not at all connected to this one in composition, is by Liu Guandao, probably dating from the early years of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). The isolation and skillful arrangement of the three main elements of the composition, the pot of lotus, the seated figure, and the garden rock are typical of the Shanghai school, which was by far the most creative force in nineteenth century painting. The elongated face and the modulated and somewhat jerky lines of drapery are also seen in other works by Ren Xun. This is a convincing work by one of the major masters of the century. Ren Yi, who was indebted to Xun for some instruction but who soon surpassed him in popularity, did a very similar painting, also on a fan. One could write a long essay on the differences and similarities between teacher and student.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Calligraphy
    Fan painting - Calligraphy by Gong Bo

    Thirteen double lines in running script on slightly darkened paper, followed by date, dedication and signature. The name of the writer has not been found in a standard source, but the clearly written characters and standard formula for the signature leaves no doubt as to the name. The writing is by an accomplished hand, in a standard style. The writing begins, "Officials of the Han dynasty said…" The content could then refer back to that same era when so many of the great models of calligraphy were created.

  • Thumbnail for Twilight in Imamiya street, Choshi, 1932
    Twilight in Imamiya street, Choshi, 1932 by Ishiwata, Koitsu (1897-1987)

    Evening street scene. Copyright publisher Watanabe Shozaburo. Color woodcut: imagesize 9 3/8 x 14 1/8".

  • Thumbnail for Tripod Incense Burner with Lid Sculpture of a Bearded Goat
    Tripod Incense Burner with Lid Sculpture of a Bearded Goat

    Stoneware with celadon glaze and inlaid white slip. Height: 3.2" This is a very fine example of late Koryô period celadons.

  • Thumbnail for Female Dancer
    Female Dancer

    Standing figure made of low-fired white ceramic material; unglazed; painted polychrome decoration. 12†high.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Woman
    Fan painting - Woman by Wu Changhai and Wang Weizhen [?]

    Half figure of a woman with lengthy inscription. The identity of the two individuals who signed this fan is tentative. There is a person with the pen name of Chunfu, but the "fu" character is written with the water radical (pronounced pu). Such alterations in names did occur. This individual would then be Wu Changhai, active in the early nineteenth century, who was from Haining in Zhejiang province. He was known for his calligraphy. The single line of characters on the left is signed Lianxi, which is listed as a pen name of Wang Weizhen, a jinshi (metropolitan graduate) of 1860. This degree conferred immense prestige on the individual, and allowed him to move in the highest circles of society. He too was known for his calligraphy, and another source says that he followed in the tradition of Mi Fei and Dong Qichang, great calligraphers of the Song and Ming dynasties. Neither is listed as a painter. The calligraphy of the inscription on the left side is particularly nice, and is evidence of an accomplished artist. The date of 1871 fits Wang Weizhen's career well-less so for Wu Changhai-although there are no absolute dates for either. It is not clear which of the two, if any, was responsible for the painting of the lady. Leaving aside the identity of the writers, the portrait of the lady is a work of high quality. The subtle expression achieved by averting the eyes to the figure's right suggests a certain apprehensiveness, even distrust. One senses a very specific personality, far removed from the milk-toast faces on so many of the woman found in later Qing paintings. The full face is quite different from the longer thinner faces developed in the Shanghai school, and suggests an artist more tied to slightly earlier masters such as Fei Danxu, who had roots in Hangzhou. The careful delineation of the features of the face and the hair contrasts with the looser more expressive lines used in the drapery, and is a device many Chinese figure painters used to great effect.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Ink Plum Blossoms
    Fan painting - Ink Plum Blossoms by Tang Yifen (1778-1853)

    Plum blossoms with inscription. Tang Yifen is very well known, and a sort of Renaissance man in Chinese terms. He held an inherited military post, traveled widely, had interests in astronomy, geography, music, poetry, and, of course, painting and calligraphy. He died in 1853 when the Taiping rebels stormed the city of Nanjing where he lived out the last decades of his life, and was considered a martyr to the cause of the Qing government. This painting is of prunus blossoms, with an inscription in the artist's distinctive calligraphy. A single branch rises from the bottom edge of the fan and the tip of one slender twig just touches the top, another the right border. The date of 1803 would make this one of the very earliest works from the artist's hand. It is a fine painting, and the compositional decision to have the flowers take up only a small percentage of the available space contributes to the sense of their delicacy and spatial isolation. One can almost catch the faint scent of the blossoms in the air. The history of the subject and its changes over time have been recorded by Maggie Bickord.

  • Thumbnail for Seated Jain statue
    Seated Jain statue

    Marble with details painted in black, gold and blue; 19 x 15 inches. This figure, of fine quality, represents a type seen often in Jain art and frequently found in western collections. It is valuable to include Jain images, as students will easily recognize that this image seems closely related to Buddha images--and indeed it represents a similar renunciant type. But there are several clues to its difference. This image depicts a Jina (victor) that is religious ideal of Jain religion: this is one who is victorious over death, who has achieved spiritual knowledge--similar to the Buddha. They are also known as Tirthankara (Ford Crosser)--that is, one who has crossed to the other side (that is, beyond death). Jains recognize 24 Tirthankaras; the twenty-fourth lived at about the same time as the Buddha and thus was part of same intellectual-spiritual milieu that gave rise to Buddhism. Just as Jains accept many of same principles as Buddhists, the earliest images of Jinas arose in the same time and place as the earliest Budda images. Jinas resemble Buddhas to a great degree: shown in meditation and in yogic posture; Jinas, however, are depicted nude (unlike Buddhas)--'sky clad' being indicative of practice of extreme asceticism. Standing Jinas are always depicted stiffly upright, with unbending posture; in the Jina this distinctive posture communicates the unwavering intent and practice of his austerities, of his spiritual focus.

  • Thumbnail for Fan painting - Landscape with willows
    Fan painting - Landscape with willows by Gu Yun (1835-1896)

    The fan is ovoid shaped. It has scene along the river banks with willows and misty distances. The ovoid shape of the fan suggests forms used much earlier, and the scene along a river-banks with willows and misty distances supports this theory. Such scenes were a hallmark of the Song painter Zhao Lingrang, and while Gu Yun does not mention him specifically, any classically trained artist would have been familiar with his work, even if through copies.

  • Thumbnail for Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages)
    Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages) by Chikanobu, Toyohara (1837-1912)

    Eighth set of two images of women from bound accordion-fold album of 30 woodblock prints with colophon. One half of full series of 50 prints depicting Japanese women of different historical periods highlighting their hairstyles and modes of dress.

  • Thumbnail for Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages)
    Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages) by Chikanobu, Toyohara (1837-1912)

    Thirteenth set of two images of women from bound accordion-fold album of 30 woodblock prints with colophon. One half of full series of 50 prints depicting Japanese women of different historical periods highlighting their hairstyles and modes of dress.

  • Thumbnail for Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages)
    Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages) by Chikanobu, Toyohara (1837-1912)

    Fourth set of two images of women from bound accordion-fold album of 30 woodblock prints with colophon. One half of full series of 50 prints depicting Japanese women of different historical periods highlighting their hairstyles and modes of dress.