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  • Thumbnail for Gilt bronze pin
    Gilt bronze pin

    This intricate and beautifully detailed applique comprising three overlapping circular dragon discs could have been an adornment on a court or military dress or perhaps an attachment for a horse trapping. 1 inch high by 3 inches wide.

  • Thumbnail for Silla Bronze Mirror
    Silla Bronze Mirror

    Bronze mirrors initially appeared in Korea around the middle of the first millennium B.C. The dating of Korean mirrors is problematic for the lack of sources. This mirror is attributed the Silla period; a period of major creative force in the arts of Korea history; a period when imitations of Chinese mirrors and Korean-made pieces were simultaneously made. Artistic creativity of this period marks a departure from the rigid comparmentalized designs of early mirrors to a free refreshing design, suggesting that Silla mirrors were produced in the more peaceful years of the Koryo. Furthermore, in the past, mirrors were often copied, imported, as in the case of Japanese mirrors. Early mirrors are approximately 8-11 cm with simple geometric decorative patterns, slightly smaller than this one. To determine the authenticity, the provenance, and the exact period of this mirror would need extensive scientific analysis of the metal alloy content (copper, tin, or lead). The content of this report could only attempt to analyze the motifs of the period, which appear to be Korean in origin. Silla royal and aristocrat's tombs preserve objects of splendor with extraordinary beauty and sophisticated craftsmanship. Their quality and design reflect the Silla elite's refined tastes and their impetus in expressing social and political status. The shape of this mirror has a scalloped edge with pointed lobes in imitation of floral forms, symbolical of auspiciousness and prosperity, and stylized clouds that embellish the lobed petals. One side is flat and not well polished with sign of corrosion; it serves as a reflective surface. The other has an eyelet in in the center for a tassel to hold or hang the mirror. The visible influence of Chinese mirrors reflects on the narrative theme of this mirror with raised decorations of two figures nestled in a beautiful landscape backdropwith rocks and verdure: a male figure sitting under a tree, probably a cypress tree with typical clumps of leaves, playing a musical instrument on his lap while a lady dances to the rhythm of his music. Such a euphonious scene! There are no facial features; yet, the clothing style and headdress help identify the genderof these figures. The overall design is symmetrical. The detailed expression reveals a variation of fine technique refinement characteristically of the Silla period. Although unique to Korea, the motifs and subjects of everyday associations suggest an artistic interchange between China and Korea at that period. Similar mirrors with anrrative themes were found in both China and Korea.

  • Thumbnail for Popular woodblock prints: pair of auspicious boys (2)
    Popular woodblock prints: pair of auspicious boys (2)

    Colored woodblock prints of popular images are associated with popular religious beliefs and ceremonies mostly observed at Chinese lunar New Year. Prints depicting boys wheeling in riches by the wheelbarrow load expressed wishes for accumulated wealth in the family and were appropriate decorations for interior doors.

  • Thumbnail for Silk embroider depicting Ouyang Hai pushing an artillery-laden horse off the tracks before an oncoming train (detail horse's face)
    Silk embroider depicting Ouyang Hai pushing an artillery-laden horse off the tracks before an oncoming train (detail horse's face) 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.

  • Thumbnail for Nanko hanging scroll, character view
    Nanko hanging scroll, character 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 Ken Tenju hanging scroll, corner view
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, corner 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 Ken Tenju hanging scroll, view of characters
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, view of characters 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 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.

  • Thumbnail for Ken Tenju hanging scroll, upper seal
    Ken Tenju hanging scroll, upper seal 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 Ainu, front view
    Ainu, front view by Kawanishi Hide

    This modernist portrait of a representative of Japan’s northern aborigine minority, dressed for a dance performance, is a fine example of figurative printmaking in the sosaku hanga mode.

  • Thumbnail for Small pottery spoon
    Small pottery spoon

    This is a small pottery spoon probably covered with copper-green lead-silicate glaze, much of which has chipped off. Such a glaze was common in the Han dynasty for changing color when buried in the earth. It becomes iridescent and silvery. This spoon mouth is bumpy and in some places uneven. The end of the handle seems to have been carved into a design but was worn smooth. This pottery spoon was most likely made during the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD).

  • Thumbnail for Chinese feather fan with male figures and floral patterns (side 2)
    Chinese feather fan with male figures and floral patterns (side 2)

    This fan centers on two male figures (likely from literary or historical novels) with floral patterns around, which is much more rare than the bird and flower themes. Although their conditions are poor, they are 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 After Hiroshige, front view stage 14
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 14 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 After Hiroshige, front view stage 19
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 19 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 After Hiroshige, front view stage 5
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 5 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 Painting of a branch of loquats (detail)
    Painting of a branch of loquats (detail) by Ch’i Pai-shih (Qi Baishi) (1863-1957)

    (Part of a set of four) Qi Baishi (1863-1957) is perhaps China’s most revered master of the twentieth century. These four paintings are representative of Qi’s floral, fruit and aquatic subjects. The cascading forms, bright colors and strong sense of abstract design in the compositions are characteristic of his style.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of shrimp
    Painting of shrimp by Ch’i Pai-shih (Qi Baishi) (1863-1957)

    (Part of a set of four) Qi Baishi (1863-1957) is perhaps China’s most revered master of the twentieth century. These four paintings are representative of Qi’s floral, fruit and aquatic subjects. The cascading forms, bright colors and strong sense of abstract design in the compositions are characteristic of his style.

  • Thumbnail for Shadow puppet (set of 3)
    Shadow puppet (set of 3)

    These shadow puppets represent one of the traditional Chinese crafts. They also represent one of the popular-level puppet theater traditions in China (the others being hand puppets and string puppets). The shadow puppets are cut and carved out of thin sections of hide, which is then given coatings of color. These examples are in pristine condition and retain their brilliant colors. One of the shadow puppets wears a Manchu headdress and Manchu platform shoes. The treatment of the eye sockets suggests that these puppets were made in the Beijing area

  • Thumbnail for Japanese Surimono woodblock print
    Japanese Surimono woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai 1760-1849

    5 x 7 1/8 Japanese woodblock print of Surimono with Jurojin, geisha and child.

  • Thumbnail for Red shoes for bound feet (side detail)
    Red shoes for bound feet (side detail)

    Pair of embroidered shoes for bound feet of Chinese women: would appear to come from South China.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze vessel (handle detail)
    Bronze vessel (handle detail)

    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 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 Rice Culture II
    Rice Culture II by Hung Liu [b.1948]

    Rich and complex painting by Liu Hung [b.1948 in Changchun, China] appropriates imagery from Buddhist and traditional Chinese painting in juxtaposition with monumental images of anonymous female peasants planting/harvesting rice. This impressive canvas may be interpreted broadly as a comment on the relationship between labor and the production of art in China, with Buddhist and feminist inflections. The imagery is symbolic, art historical, and complex, with a Buddhist apsaras (or heavenly figure) and a repeating pattern of stylized lotus-leaf niches reminiscent of Six Dynasties murals at the Mogao caves near Dunhuang, an oxen from the famous scroll of Five Oxen attributed to Han Huang (ca. 723-787) (Palace Museum, Beijing), a bird that reminds one of the decorative paintings in the flower-and-bird genre of the Song Dynasty.

  • 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 Figure of a monk
    Figure of a monk

    Nepalese brass artifact of a seated monk. The robes & begging bowl indicate a monk. His head is shaved in the front, but three long strands of hair cascade down his back. His robe displays Chinese designs only visible from the back. He holds a vajra in his right hand and appears to wear earrings. The left earring is inlaid with what appears to be red sealing wax while the one on the right bears traces of the same material. The base conceals ritual deposits beneath a hammered copper cap marked with a crossed vajra design. All of these metal images were originally made for ritual use. The containers for deposits hidden within the bases indicate a category of images once valued for their efficacy. It is instructive to consider what their value is in their present situation, surrounded as they are by a society that may appreciate their visible surfaces, and yet generally dismisses the idea that images such as these can exercise power when skillfully utilized.