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  • Thumbnail for Thai bronze Buddha head
    Thai bronze Buddha head

    Thai bronze artifact of a Buddha head with a base, Sukhothai style.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze vessel
    Bronze vessel

    In ancient Japan (prior to the Meiji era, 1868-1912), metalwork was solely for swords and Buddhist statues. During the Meiji era, a decree abolishing sword-wearing and the restoration of Shintoism, the original religion of Japan, as the national religion caused the making of metalwork to shift to objects for export and home consumption; the functions of objects and subject of decoration tended to be secular. This vase, designed with a style of Chinese bronze vessel, bears 8 different scenes on the entire body. There are four large panels, with subjects ranging from figurative to seascapes, on the main body of the vessel, and four small horizontal scenes, landscapes and seascapes are the subjects (possibly a display of the four seasons), on the bottom. The designs are done in relief. The borders of the panels are also ornamented with plant patterns, chrysanthemums and gingko tree leaves in particular common Japanese floral motif. A great deal of artistic appeal and distinctive styles are the trademark of Meiji metalwork.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese feather fan with birds and flowers (side 2)
    Chinese feather fan with birds and flowers (side 2)

    This fan displays a pair of peacocks and peonies and other flowers, which are common subjects in these types of fan. Although its condition is poor,it is a very interesting artifacts. The Chinese export of feather fans first appeared in Europe during the first quarter of the 19th century. They are usually made of goose feathers (occasionally with added peacock feathers on the top) mounted on sticks which can be made of a variety of materials, including ivory and bone. The frames of the fans are carved, showing the quality of their craftsmanship, with flowers and classical scripts, which could be either an imitation of Oracle bone characters or seal/clerical scripts. Originally these fans would have been very costly.

  • Thumbnail for Wooden fan (side 1)
    Wooden fan (side 1)

    This fan has good detail and color quality, and is most likely inspired by a literary theme.The fan emerged in Japan by the 9th century AD. The Japanese have a long tradition of making wooden fans threaded together on the top of each rib. However, the size of this fan is large, and the format (circular when opened to its full extension) may be inspired by a type known as “big wheel fan,†attributed to Korea, during the Yi (Chosen) dynasty (1392-1910 AD). However, the brushwork, subject matter, and motifs of the paintings on the fans are Japanese. The size and weight of the fan might not have a practical function. The common motifs on Japanese wooden fans include stories from literature, such as the Tale of Genji.

  • Thumbnail for Incense burner
    Incense burner

    This incense burner bears an inscription on the lower right corner indicating a date in the era of Taisho (1912-1926 AD). It also bears identical motifs with an additional design of grapes, which symbolize fertility and abundance as well (adapted from China). This object may have been used in the households of the elite class. The object is made of either solid silver or pewter due to its heavy weight. Its function could be as a paperweight, an incense burner, or both. The motifs (turtle, cranes, and pine trees) have common auspicious associations with longevity, and became favored by the samurai classes after the 16th century in Japan.

  • Thumbnail for Rank badge (part of set)
    Rank badge (part of set)

    These late nineteenth century rank badges were for use by holders of civil office (as opposed to military office). Civil officials of the second rank were entitled to wear a badge depicting a golden pheasant; officials of the fifth rank used the emblem of a silver pheasant. The bird emblems are surrounded by auspicious images. These rank badges could be elaborately produced, utilizing a range of embroidery stitches, metallic thread, kesi tapestry weaving technique and appliquéd motifs. There are two golden pheasant rank badges in this set (although they have been photographed as one, apparently the photographer was unaware that there was a second identical badge below the top one); the one on the bottom is split up the center for attachment to the front of the garment.

  • Thumbnail for Vielle Ainu, Chikabumi, Hokkaido, Japan
    Vielle Ainu, Chikabumi, Hokkaido, Japan by Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960)

    Color woodblock print, 15-1/2 x 11-3/4". One of a pair of prints of Old Ainu Woman and Old Ainu Man. Both have owl-shaped seals. Both appear to be printed on mica-flecked paper, which adds a subtle richness to the print. Both depict their subjects from the waist up.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze ding vessel
    Bronze ding vessel

    This is a standard example of the most popular and enduring bronze vessel shapes. It is an excellent example of mould casting. Normally, the design on the lid of an ancient bronze vessel matches that on the body of a vessel. Here, the decoration on the lid does not repeat that of the body; nor does the lid fit securely on the vessel. These two discrepancies indicate that this lid does not belong to this specific vessel. Bronze lids with similar three projecting prongs have been found in tombs in Sandong and Henan Provinces; the vessels they belong to are considered to date from the Eastern Zhou period (722-256 BC). The surface decoration of interlaced designs both the body and the lid are typical for this period.

  • Thumbnail for Cotton robe-back view
    Cotton robe-back view

    Robe made of Japanese cotton and old Japanese kimonos with complex embroidered decorations on the front and back. From Hokkaido.

  • Thumbnail for Man's beaded jacket-back view
    Man's beaded jacket-back view by Chief Tonkaling

    Man's beaded jacket made of abaca fiber. From Mindanao.

  • Thumbnail for The Sculptor of Tokobueï
    The Sculptor of Tokobueï by Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960)

    Color woodblock print, 11-3/8 x 15-1/2". The Sculptor of Tokobueï depicts a seated man carving a Buddha image. The last word is likely a French Romanization of a South Seas term for a location or name of the object being carved. Artist’s seal takes a floral shape around the character. A second seal with a legend in two columns seems also be associated with the artist’s identity or affiliation. Jacoulet [1896-1960] was born in Paris, but from a very young age lived in Japan.

  • Thumbnail for Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Heart Sutra)
    Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Heart Sutra) by Fang Chao Ling (b. 1914)

    Ink on paper, 28-3/8 x 49-3/4". This is a large calligraphic work transcribing a Buddhist text that is popularly known as the “Heart Sutra.†A number of transcriptions and translations may be found in the file. The artist’s inscription records a date of 1960. An important contemporary and woman artist working in traditional Chinese ink medium, Fang in known primarily for her painting. But, this calligraphic work in standard script could be used in teaching calligraphy. It is also useful for providing some gender balance in the calligraphy canon. Gu Kaizhi was said to have learned his art from a woman, after all. Fang, known primarily as a paintier, is the subject of a major retrospective recently at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

  • Thumbnail for Wooden fan (side 2 detail of 3 figures)
    Wooden fan (side 2 detail of 3 figures)

    This fan has good detail and color quality, and is most likely inspired by a literary theme.The fan emerged in Japan by the 9th century AD. The Japanese have a long tradition of making wooden fans threaded together on the top of each rib. However, the size of this fan is large, and the format (circular when opened to its full extension) may be inspired by a type known as “big wheel fan,†attributed to Korea, during the Yi (Chosen) dynasty (1392-1910 AD). However, the brushwork, subject matter, and motifs of the paintings on the fans are Japanese. The size and weight of the fan might not have a practical function. The common motifs on Japanese wooden fans include stories from literature, such as the Tale of Genji.

  • Thumbnail for Pillow (used by ladies) (side view)
    Pillow (used by ladies) (side view)

    Cushion resting on a wooden base. This type of pillow can be seen in Japanese prints and paintings of the Edo era (1603-1868 AD), so it is identified as “Japanese,†which differed from Chinese pillows largely made of ceramics. It was used by ladies who rested on the back of their neck to avoid messing up their elaborate hairdos. The drawer at the bottom of the wooden base may have contained personal belongings, including jewelry at some point. Its condition is fine, but the colors of the cushion have faded (the design and pattern on the cushion remain visible).

  • Thumbnail for Vieil Ainu, Chikabumi, Hokkaido, Japan
    Vieil Ainu, Chikabumi, Hokkaido, Japan by Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960)

    Color woodblock print, 15-1/2 x 11-3/4". One of a pair of prints of Old Ainu Woman and Old Ainu Man. Both have owl-shaped seals. Both appear to be printed on mica-flecked paper, which adds a subtle richness to the print. Both depict their subjects from the waist up.The male figure has an embossed pattern in his beard and eyebrows.

  • Thumbnail for Incense burner (detail)
    Incense burner (detail)

    The object is made of either solid silver or pewter due to its heavy weight. Its function could be as a paperweight, an incense burner, or both. The motifs (turtle, cranes, and pine trees) have common auspicious associations with longevity, and became favored by the samurai classes after the 16th century in Japan.

  • 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 Cotton hood-side view 1
    Cotton hood-side view 1

    Hood made of Japanese cotton and old Japanese kimonos. From Hokkaido.

  • Thumbnail for Set of imperial ceremonial armor- helmet back view
    Set of imperial ceremonial armor- helmet back view

    Set of armor including inner skirt, outer skirt, vest, jacket, shoulder guards, and brass helmet. The armor is trimmed in velvet and has metal studding and wrapped metal threads. Only the helmet was photographed.

  • Thumbnail for Set of armor-back view
    Set of armor-back view

    Set of armor including helmet, chest armor, shoulder, thigh, and arm armor, and shirts. Very well made. From Kyushu. Only the helmet was photographed.

  • Thumbnail for Vertical painting of bird and flowers
    Vertical painting of bird and flowers

    Vertical painting of bird, lotus, and autumn grasses.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Goddess Figure, Machopo (a deified lady)
    Chinese Goddess Figure, Machopo (a deified lady)

    Porcelain 5 1/2 X 2 1/2 X 2 inches in size.

  • Thumbnail for View of the Earth
    View of the Earth

    Colored ink and paint on paper, 12 3/4 inch circle with interior concentric circles of varying colors. Mandala-type image with central image made of tripartite grouping of images in a palatial setting.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Goddess Figure
    Chinese Goddess Figure

    Blanc-de-chine porcelain 5 1/2 X 2 1/2 X 2 inches, with bluish tinge. Seated figure of deity, most likely Guanyin.

  • Thumbnail for Bowl with lotus decorations - view of interior
    Bowl with lotus decorations - view of interior

    Brass, 4 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 3 1/4 inches. Detail showing wear on interior of bowl.