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  • Thumbnail for Geese on a Pond [A]
    Geese on a Pond [A] by Ren Zun, 1835-1893

    This pair of paintings was painted by an artist of the "Shanghai School" at that time a derogatory term applied by the traditionalists. He was a member of a family of professional artists. The inscription: Painted in the summer of 1872 in the reign of Emperor Tangzhi by Fuchang, Ren Zun, in Wumen.

  • Thumbnail for Porcelain saucer dish - detail of side
    Porcelain saucer dish - detail of side

    This doucai enameled shallow dish is decorated on the interior with a central lappet roundel within double circle borders; the exterior depicts three cranes, emblematic of longevity amongst cloud scrolls and fungus. The base is inscribed with a Yongzheng (1723-1735) reign mark and is of the period, however the quality of the enameling and porcelain suggest that it was not intended for the Imperial household.

  • Thumbnail for Mother and children
    Mother and children by Qiu Chu (Tuling Neishi), Miss Qiu, mid 16th century

    Artist was the elder daughter of famous professional painter Chiu Ying (Qiu Ying) who taught her how to paint. She often painted women and children of aristicratic families.

  • Thumbnail for Viewing a painting
    Viewing a painting by attributed to Chen Hongshou, 1598-1652

    Two scholars in a garden examine a scroll painting.

  • Thumbnail for A courtesan reading a latter beside a paper lantern-parody of Omu Komachi (Parrot Komachi)
    A courtesan reading a latter beside a paper lantern-parody of Omu Komachi (Parrot Komachi) by Eisen Keisai

    From the Nana Komachi (Seven Komachi) 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. The traditional Nana Komachi was a group of stories concerning the mid ninth century poetess Ono no Komachi, one of the six poetic geniuses and thirty-six immortal poets. During the Edo period, however Komachi became a sobriquet of many beautiful women and nana komachi was also used for other bijin-ga series of a variety of seven beauties.

  • Thumbnail for Shinmachi Bridge at Hodogaya Station 1833
    Shinmachi Bridge at Hodogaya Station 1833 by Utagawa Hiroshige

    From the Fifty-three Stations of the first Tokaido series from the Hoeido Tokaido edition. One of the most well-known 19th century ukiyo-e artists, famous for his landscape views, particularly his images of the Tokaido. This image was originally a part of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s collection of Japanese woodblock prints. It along with 36 others came to the Wriston from a benefactor who received them from Wright in lieu of a payment for printing services. Many of the prints have Wright’s handwritten notations in the margins. Though many of the Wright works in our collection are of lesser quality, the images serve as an example of the interest in Asian art that so informed Wright’s architecture. As the busiest highway in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Tokaido offered numerous chances to experience a variety of social classes and day-to-day activities. Numerous images of this highway were created during the Edo period, some in singular views and others in series, the most famous of which are Hiroshige’s numerous editions. The images depicted the commercial activity along the road and famous views seen on the journey. Hiroshige, in particular, also chose many of the views based on varying times of year and the weather conditions that offered an ever-changing impression of the landscape. Greatly influenced by his teacher Utagawa Toyoharu, Hiroshige often employed perspective views rather than the more traditional stacked and flattened views of the landscape found in the Kano school of painting. This slightly more western view helps to explain his popularity among 19th century artists in Europe. This was station number four.

  • Thumbnail for Kana-dehon Chushingura Act IV: Scene at Enya-Hangan's Castle in Kamakura
    Kana-dehon Chushingura Act IV: Scene at Enya-Hangan's Castle 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 IV: Enya-hangan commits hara-kiri, while his loyal retainer Yuranosuke vows revenge on Moronao.

  • Thumbnail for Book illustration: Hanasobu (Iris Insata)
    Book illustration: Hanasobu (Iris Insata) by Kuwagata Keisai

    Practiced both painting and printmaking, recognized for his “realistic†depictions of Edo environs and culture. Some of the earliest uses of woodblock printing in Japan were for the recording of objects and events, images of which were bound together into record books and encyclopedias. With a renewed interest in science brought about by increased exposure to the west many artists used the skills learned in depicting ceremonial and symbolic flora and fauna to create catalogues and books of native flora and fauna. These images bear only the artist’s signature and do not include publishers’ and cravers’ marks because the prints were not intended to be sold on the print market but rather bound into a book.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze ritual vessel gu
    Bronze ritual vessel gu

    In the same tradition as the preceding object, this well cast archaistic revival vessel is decorated with the requisite zoomorphic design employing the use of taotie masks and classical leiwen background pattern. The solidly defined flanges and the three registers of decorative spaces (upper, central and lower) reflect the metal smith’s attention to the strict orthodoxy of ancient bronze decoration. College of Wooster records show several Chinese characters are painted on the inside face of flanges. One legible character is "shou", which means longevity. Over these characters are four others in red - the first is "Song" for the dynasty, the fourth means "recorded", and the second may be "liang", meaning good in quality. 16 inches high x 7.75 wide; base of 4.75 inches.

  • Thumbnail for Ken Tenju hanging scroll, full view
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, full view by Tenju, Ken

    Japanese Edo period hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting and a brown brocade mounting. The image area is 28 cm x 187 cm and depicts the landscape of a Nanga school with the scene of a mountain and hut to the left, a river to the right, a bridge in the foreground, and an inscription to the upper right.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait, upper view
    Portrait, upper view by Unknown

    19th century portrait depicting a subject seated in a garden by a stream, chrysanthemum in a vase and a pine tree. The chrysanthemum in the vase symbolizes autumn while the pine tree represents longevity. The image area is 67cm x 130.5 cm and was made using Chinese ink and colors on paper in a silk mounting. The subject and artistic style are reminiscent of the famous artist, Ren Xiong (1820-1864). Ren Xiong and his family members were successful commercial painters in Shanghai and nearby regions and skilled in many subjects, including portraiture.

  • Thumbnail for Colored Landscape
    Colored Landscape by it is a good example. , Guo Shiqiang

    Vertical Chinese scroll painting; ink and light polychrome on paper; image size 35.8 cm x 112 cm; brocade frame mounted on paper, protruding teak roller ends; landscape with pavilions on stilts in river with rocks and trees.

  • Thumbnail for Senju Bridge by Night, front view
    Senju Bridge by Night, front view by Shoda Koho

    Yet another print from the Hasegawa series of night scenes, this one foregrounds lantern-carrying pedestrians and a portable shop crossing the silhouetted bridge, with glimmers of light on a distant shore beyond passing boats.

  • Thumbnail for Japanese Kodzuka handle with crescent moon and sea waves design
    Japanese Kodzuka handle with crescent moon and sea waves design

    The Edo or Tokugawa era of Japan witnessed an unprecedented flourish of many art forms. The rise of the samurai culture and the political fermentation of this unsettling time brought out with them a modern return of the dolmen style of the art of the Japanese sword. The styles of decoration and the variety of materials used in swordsmiths form a quintessential element of the Japanese literature. Japan's wealth of artistic creation demonstrates its interest in small things and the detailed treatments of them, giving evidence of remarkable skill and taste. For centuries, Japanese swordsmiths devoted their excellence in the art of decoration the samurai's sword-furniture. As part of the warrior's most unseparated possession, the Kodzuka functions as a handle or grip or hilt of the small ko-gatana knives. This iron Japanese Kodzuka is one of the finest representatives of the Edo Japanese decorative sword accessories. The etching style and the abstract delicacy are doubtlessly from the last great master swordsmith Kano Natsuo (1828-1898) or his pupils. The influence of Zen Buddhism of the time eloquently manifests in Natuo's unique choice of motifs and unsurpassed style (from the Otsuki School). His etching style has a distinctive sense of elegance, austere, reserved, and never overflowing. There is an intentional consistency of manipulating a commanding void that dominates the whole composition. The decorative elements employed are conceptual and minimal motifs derived from nature. This Kodzuka has the common plain oblong shape. Its outer face is sophisticatedly designed with a bold relief-etching (takabori or high carving) or raised decoration of a gold crescent moon in the background, partly eclipsed by stylized tidal waves. Some scattered gold dots on top of the waves hint the splashed foam. The Japanese have such great reverence of the force of nature such as big waves (tsunami). On the back of the piece, there are three Japanese characters meaning 'the nature of wild waves' (read from the bottum up). The waves occupy only the bottom right space of the Kodzuka, leaving a powerful void. The abstract and simplicity of this remarkable composition magnificently counteracts and redeems the sense of austerity of the handle. Its balanced yet asymmetrical layout signifies the philosophy of the samurai class: the dynamic between 'configuration/principle' and the 'material energy/vital force'. Objects like this are widely collected as works of art.

  • Thumbnail for Jue or Libation Cup
    Jue or Libation Cup

    Late Shang period to early Western Zhou is often referred to as the 'Period of Brilliance' that marks the high point of Chinese Bronze Age, due to a relatively stability created by central political power. It was the era where the Jue form of ritual wine-drinking vessels was most encountered. The strong sense of spirituality and the feeling of peace of the time are well expressed in this remarkable Jue. Jue is one of the ritual wine-drinking bronze vessels for the elite class, exclusively in sacrifices and rituals. It was used to warm wine for libation. The stiff and compact body carries a sense of refrainment with a flat bottom, supported by three blade-shaped legs. The raised tail and restrained spout transform the Jue to a lively upright bird ready to soar upwards. The short rectangular posts are flat on the outer face and rounded on the inner face; they are uneven because one had been broken and insecurely mended with some white substance. The fractured joints between the body and the post caps indicate that they were casted separately. They stand on opposite sides of the rim, holding conical finials bearing a whirligig pattern carved in sunken incised lines; less visible on one post, due to heavy corrosion. The limited decoration of the vessel focuses on the upper section of the body with a narrow and single register, ornamented with a tiger motif rising from the background of dense spirals lei-wen (or 'thunder pattern'). It is bordered with a small repetitive circle motif and bisected by a flat handle, accentuated by a head of an archaic dragon. As part of the late Shang bronze ornaments, this combination of abstract animal figurative, geometrical form, and the lei-wen, almost always represents the conjuration of a cosmological myth. There are visible flaws on the ornament band and behind the handle. The seams are more visible on the outer faces, especially at the band of decoration. The Jue projects a sense of fierceness and reverent awe, due to the effects of the restrained decoration and the simplicity of the design. Prehistoric bronzes, as in the case of this vessel, were mostly found from large hoards or graves, evidently indicated on the inner and outer surfaces covered with emerald-green patina and traces of earthy incrustation. Its exceptional exquisiteness lies in the sense of austerity in shape and design, the aesthetic sense of technical gaucherie and the rough encrustation of beautiful emerald-green patina on the surface formed during centuries of burial.

  • Thumbnail for Chrysanthemums and Birds by Rock
    Chrysanthemums and Birds by Rock by Zhang, Gun

    Chinese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting and a bronze-colored brocade silk mounting. The image is 33 cm x 120 cm and has dry, lively brush strokes illustrating an autumn scene of flowering chrysanthemum emerging from a deeply worn rock with two birds 'fighting' while a third bird perches above.

  • Thumbnail for After Hiroshige, front view stage 2
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 2 by unknown

    One of nineteen prints which illustrate the process of making a multi-block multicolor woodblock print.The print reproduced is the view of Asakusa Kinryuzan (Asakusa Kannon Temple) from Ando Hiroshige’s Toto yukimi hakkei (Eight Views of Snow in the Eastern Capital).

  • Thumbnail for Portrait, full view
    Portrait, full view by Unknown

    19th century portrait depicting a subject seated in a garden by a stream, chrysanthemum in a vase and a pine tree. The chrysanthemum in the vase symbolizes autumn while the pine tree represents longevity. The image area is 67cm x 130.5 cm and was made using Chinese ink and colors on paper in a silk mounting. The subject and artiistic style are reminiscent of the famous artist, Ren Xiong (1820-1864). Ren Xiong and his family members were successful commercial painters in Shanghai and nearby regions and skilled in many subjects, including portraiture.

  • Thumbnail for Cormorant Fishing, front view
    Cormorant Fishing, front view by Arai Yoshimune

    From the Hasegawa series. Flames of the fishing boat are obscured by the fisherman’s net, framed by a bridge silhouetted above. Another good example of shin-hanga.

  • Thumbnail for Nanko hanging scroll, full view
    Nanko hanging scroll, full view by Gakusen, Obe

    Japanese hanging scroll with vertically-oriented painting and a dark grey-blue mounting. The image area is 27 cm x 87.5 cm and depicts a Nanga school southern Chinese style with a scene of mountains in close proximity. Also known as “Haruku Kon†and “Tani Buncho,†Nanko studied Chinese painting in Nagasaki, where Chinese artists served as cultural envoys between China and Japan from the 17th century. The Nagasaki school mainly followed the southern school of the Ming and Qing eras and subjects were limited to landscapes. Nanko received commissions to execute paintings for the Imperial Palace. Although considered a Japanese painter, this instance of Nanko’s work is in one variant of the Chinese Nanga style, imitating the mi-dot brush stroke popular during the Sung dynasty.

  • Thumbnail for Street Drama, characters
    Street Drama, characters by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

    Horizontal Japanese Ukiyo-e print; two panels from probable triptych; black and polychrome woodblock print on paper; various seals of Kuniyoshi, including “Ichiyosai†(a style name of Kuniyoshi). Artist is known for his depictions of heroic episodes in Japanese history. In his later work he tended to have a taste for the bizarre and the ghoulish. His work is influenced by European models, and in this work, the background has some degree of vanishing-point perspective. The works of Kuniyoshi are collected by many museums around the world, including Metropolitan of New York, Boston, San Francisco, Cleveland, The British Museum London, and the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City.

  • Thumbnail for Port in Early Dawn, front view
    Port in Early Dawn, front view by Kawanishi Hide

    Another representation of Kawanishi’s home town, with a glowing buoy setting off the distant lighthouse and dark mountain, this print is a good example of the style.

  • Thumbnail for Pipa Song
    Pipa Song by Jiang Yun

    Horizontal Chinese painting; ink and colors on paper; 38.8 cm x 24.3 cm; lady and lute on covered barge, only mast and lanterns of another barge are visible, with willow, pine, and blossoming trees. Jiang Yun’s painting was a token of friendship, responding to a friend’s request. The subject is based on the famous Tang era poem, Lyrics of the Pipa (Lute) by Bai Juyi (772-846 C.E.).

  • Thumbnail for Immortal of Longevity and Deer
    Immortal of Longevity and Deer by Unknown

    Chinese painting using ink and colors on silk; image area 18 cm x 21.2 cm; subject from Daoist or folk belief;. Condition: good; upper end of mounting torn.

  • Thumbnail for Silk embroider depicting Ouyang Hai pushing an artillery-laden horse off the tracks before an oncoming train (detail horse)
    Silk embroider depicting Ouyang Hai pushing an artillery-laden horse off the tracks before an oncoming train (detail horse) by Yang Shengrong

    Silk embroidery is today supported by the Chinese government. As in the past, it is not unusual for an existing painting to be copied in embroidery. In this instance, the painting represents one of the mythical heroes of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), Ouyang Hai. He reputedly shoved a frightened horse laden with artillery off the tracks in front of an oncoming train. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1975), PLA heroes, actual or fictitious, became part of the government propaganda machine and were to serve as role models for the people. To advertise their heroic deeds, they were commemorated in all artistic media: paintings, prints, sculptures. This particular depiction of Ouyang Hai was originally created as a painting in 1964 by Yang Shengrong.