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  • Thumbnail for Silk embroider depicting Ouyang Hai pushing an artillery-laden horse off the tracks before an oncoming train
    Silk embroider depicting Ouyang Hai pushing an artillery-laden horse off the tracks before an oncoming train 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 Landscapes and Figures, mountain scene with house
    Landscapes and Figures, mountain scene with house by Ren Xun

    Chinese painting of a mountain scene that is part of a set of four related paintings. Ren Xun was the younger brother of Ren Xiong (1820-1864) and his family members were successful commercial painters in Shanghai and nearby regions and skilled in many subjects, including portraiture. Ren Xun followed the style of one of the eccentric painters, Chen Hongshu (1598-1652) in his figure paintings and was also skilled in bird-and-flower subjects. Both brothers were active in Shanghai and their styles are labeled “Shanghai School†for their colorful and decorative features and popular subjects.

  • 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 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 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 Pathway to a Shrine, front view
    Pathway to a Shrine, front view by Kobayashi Eijir?

    Appears from the size and paper quality to also come from the Hasegawa set. The view, looking out of a shrine gateway toward distant houses, with a full moon floating above, is lyrical and evocative.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of chrysanthemums
    Painting of chrysanthemums 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 After Hiroshige, front view stage 17
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 17 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 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 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 Wooden fan (side 2)
    Wooden fan (side 2)

    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 After Hiroshige, front view stage 18
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 18 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 Rubbing of stone engraving depiction of the poetess Xie Tao (detail)
    Rubbing of stone engraving depiction of the poetess Xie Tao (detail)

    Although of lesser quality, this depiction of Xie Tao is interesting because it is a rare (imaginary) portrayal of a woman writer. The text at the top of the scroll is her biography. Xie (768 – 831/32) was a noted courtesan/poetess who lied in Chengdu, Sichuan. In addition to her poetry she is famous for developing an ornamented paper to be used for writing out brief poems.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of a squash vine
    Painting of a squash vine 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 Tiger claw
    Tiger claw

    Mounted in gold filigree setting depicting a Naga or dragon. The records indicate that this is a piece of ""Royal Javanese"" jewelry. It is a very finely crafted work. The exquisitely delicate gold-work contrasts with the bold, organic simplicity of the tiger's claw to make a striking visual impression. Qing dynasty Chinese product, or a Javanese version of a Chinese piece done by a Chinese jeweler living in Java.

  • Thumbnail for Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women
    Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women

    Shoes for bound feet of Chinese women contrast with the “platform†shoes worn by Manchu women, who did not bind their feet. These platform shoes, it is said, enabled Manchu women to imitate the seductive sway of Chinese women with bound feet. The decoration on these shoes is appliqué, not embroidery.

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

    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 Set of armor-side view front facing right
    Set of armor-side view front facing right

    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 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 Pillow (used by ladies)
    Pillow (used by ladies)

    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 Le Billet Doux
    Le Billet Doux by Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960)

    Color woodblock print, 15-1/2 x 12". “The Love Letter†[le billet doux] depicts a Mongolian woman crouching and turning round to meet the viewer’s eye. This image is printed on gold-flecked paper, and uses silver and gold ink sparingly to produce a subtle richness. The round purse at her waist is embossed. Jacoulet was born in Paris, but from a very young age lived in Japan.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze ding vessel (alternate view)
    Bronze ding vessel (alternate view)

    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 Lacquer collage - Coca Cola and children
    Lacquer collage - Coca Cola and children by Luo Weidong, born 1963, Luo Weiguo, born 1964 and Luo Weibing, born 1972

    Mixed media vertical image of four sleeping babies sporting Mao caps overlaid with the traditional red carp swimming upward toward a rising sun complete with Coca Cola logo.

  • Thumbnail for Japanese carving of a mouse eating a persimmon
    Japanese carving of a mouse eating a persimmon

    The bushy tail leads the viewer to suspect that it may be a squirrel. One of the inlaid eyes is missing. Apparently made for retail sale.