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  • Thumbnail for Landscape
    Landscape by Pu Ju

    Vertical landscape done in the blue and green style, with small pavilion on a rocky outcropping above man in small boat below. Four line inscription links the foreground imagery with that of the far distance. Three seals placed at varying points on the painting.

  • Thumbnail for Painting of chrysanthemums (detail of the flowers)
    Painting of chrysanthemums (detail of the flowers) 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 a squash vine (detail of squash)
    Painting of a squash vine (detail of squash) 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 Popular woodblock prints: pair of military door gods (1)
    Popular woodblock prints: pair of military door gods (1)

    Colored woodblock prints of popular images are associated with popular religious beliefs and ceremonies mostly observed at Chinese lunar New Year. Images of protective, military door gods (in pairs) were replaced on the front, street doors each year at New Year’s time to prevent evil from entering the house.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze vessel (detail)
    Bronze vessel (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 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 13
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 13 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 7
    After Hiroshige, front view stage 7 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 Imperial bronze bell (side detail)
    Imperial bronze bell (side detail)

    This bell is dated by the inscription in a cartouche as having been made in the 50th year of the reign of Emperor Kangxi, i.e. 1711. The bell was evidently meant to be part of a larger set of bells, thus it represents a continuation of the ancient practice of producing sets of bells that were suspended from a rack. Each bell was specifically manufactured to produce a particular note in the Chinese musical scale. The inscription on the opposite side of the bell has three characters indicating which musical note the bell produces when struck. In addition, this bell is an excellent example of superior quality, imperial level bronze casting.

  • 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 Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women (front and bottom)
    Pair of platform shoes worn by Manchu women (front and bottom)

    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 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 Lotus shoe for bound feet (arch detail)
    Lotus shoe for bound feet (arch detail)

    This shoe has never been worn, as the sole is intact and clean and its heels also bear nice needlework. Although the colors and fabrics have either faded or worn out, the stitching is refined. The motifs are often associated with auspicious symbolism (fertility) in addition to its aesthetic quality. The custom of women's foot-binding has been documented before the 10th century in China, and was officially abolished in the Qing dynasty (1645-1911). However, Chinese women continued to accept this torment as a social norm. The foot-binding custom was not completely extinguished until the 1950s and 60s in China under enforcement from Christian missionaries and foreign military in the 1890s.

  • Thumbnail for Blue Jambhala
    Blue Jambhala

    Blue Jambhala in his wrathful aspect, associated with the Aksobhya Buddhas, with mongoose in left hand, skull bowl in right, crowned by Aksobhya, standing on Kubera, who vomits jewels. A pot full of jewels sits in the deity's lotus throne. Jambhala, who appears in several colors and iconographic forms, is a deity for wealth, prosperity, and success. (De Mallman notes that Jambhala is sometimes included in the Ratnasambhava class)

  • Thumbnail for Kubera
    Kubera

    Dark, red sandstone artifact from Madhya Pradesh. 6 x 4.5 x 3 inches. One of the guardians of the eight directions, Kubera belongs to a class of ancient folk deities called yakshas, who were adopted by Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism. He represents the power of monetary wealth. He conventionally holds a bowl or pomegranate in his right hand and a moneybag in his left. A mongoose that has the power to vomit a wish-fulfilling gem normally accompanies him. This is a fine quality image that was originally made as an architectural detail for a Hindu temple.

  • Thumbnail for Ukiyo-e print of a beautiful woman
  • Thumbnail for Chinese silk painting of peonies in a garden
    Chinese silk painting of peonies in a garden

    38 1/2 x 17 1/8 ink and color on silk textile of peonies in a garden. These appear to be a pair of fine Chinese bird and flower paintings cut from their original mounts and provided with matching frames.

  • Thumbnail for Woodblock print with animal theme
    Woodblock print with animal theme by Takahashi, Rikio [1917-1999]

    7-3/8 x 14-5/8 wood block print of two puppies, a cat, and a pair of sparrows.

  • 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 Japanese colored lithograph-#4
    Japanese colored lithograph-#4

    20x26 Japanese colored lithograph depicting one of the eight scenes from the Sino-Japanese War.

  • Thumbnail for Hakone from Fifty-three Famous Places (Gojûsan tsugi meishozue)
    Hakone from Fifty-three Famous Places (Gojûsan tsugi meishozue) by Utagawa (Andô) Hiroshige

    Woodblock print. 13¾" x 9". Paper was issued in the Tokugawa Period (1615-1868) in standard sizes, most prints being in the oban format of 15 x10. The smaller size of this print thus indicates cutting. Condition good with some slight damage and staining in center of the print. Professor Mandancy’s letter identifies the work as one of the Fifty-three Stages of the Tokaidô (Tokaidô gojûsan no uchi), that is the set of 1833-34. Actually the print is from the 1855 set, as properly noted in her original list. The first step in making an Ukiyo-e woodblock print was an artist (eshi) painted a composition in ink on paper. The sketch (or later a copy) was pasted down on a plank of wood (usually cherry) and cut away to create the key or outline block. A separate person from the artist, called the cutter (hori), did the carving. A third person -- the rubber (suri) -- took the carved block and, placing it face up, moistened the printing surfaces by quickly brushing on water and glue. Color and ink were then applied by hand and pre-moistened paper placed onto the wet surface. The rubber then took the print by rubbing from behind with a baren (pad of rope covered by bamboo). It is usually presumed that the key block was used to make the patterns for the color blocks. In old views of Ukiyo-e, the key block, being closest to the sketch by the hand of the artist, was considered the most important. Authenticity, therefore, was mostly a matter of comparing lines in a questioned print to those in published, established, or otherwise accepted examples. If there was a match, the print was “genuine,†and often labeled as such on a tag on the back. The print of Hakone is, moreover, very useful for teaching how to look at lines in Ukiyo-e because those forming the border around the image show gaps and are thin, indicating that the key block was old and worn when the print was taken. The lines in Shinagawa are stronger, an important point in determining the work’s better condition.More interestingly, there is a worn area in the right hand corner of Hakone, where the printed line appears to have been scraped off and then drawn back in. Such repairs are common in Ukiyo-e and a much more obvious example is in the print of Shirasuka in the Union College Collection, by the same artist and from the same series. Shirasuka clearly has been repaired. For instance, there is a hole in its lower half of the print that has been filled in and colored to match the surrounding areas. In the lower right hand corner of Shirasuka, there is a place where the line has been obviously scraped off and then redrawn.

  • Thumbnail for Tobacco pouch with a netsuke (abalone shell motif) (metal clasp detail)
    Tobacco pouch with a netsuke (abalone shell motif) (metal clasp detail)

    The Japanese tradition for clothing accessories did not decline after Western influence arrived in Japan after the 18th century. The only change is that the inro (medicine case) was replaced by the tobacco pouch. Netsuke, a small accessory, functioned as a toggle or button for the wearing of articles, such as a pouch or a purse, on a sash, or obi in Japanese, in traditional Japanese clothing (kimono). It was originally used for an inro, a small medicine case, and was worn by the Japanese men after the 16th century. Inro could also contain a seal stamp and dry fruits for snacks, not only medicine. The art of netsuke reached its peak in the 18th century, and many designs were created during this time. The designs of netsuke varied. They were largely inspired by Japanese folk tales and tradition, ranging from historical and genre figures, to animals and plants. However, later the carvings changed for foreign collectors. Netsuke generally feature realistically executed subjects. Traditionally, the artist’s name would be carved at the bottom of the netsuke.

  • Thumbnail for Four-panel Coromandel folding screen
    Four-panel Coromandel folding screen

    72" x 67". Ebony. The screens usually present complete scenes, often of Chinese life, though European nautical and hunting scenes are not unknown. The Union College Coromandel Screen is unusual in consisting of a series of separate compositions, each a reproduction of a Chinese bird and flower painting, complete with signature. The Union College Coromandel Screen shows such hallmarks of value as a complex design and fine detail. The screen has value in teaching how ukiyo-e cutters transformed paintings into prints. The Union College Coromandel Screen is particularly good for this purpose because it consists, as noted above, of a series of reproductions of paintings. In addition, the Union College Coromandel Screen was carved using the same reductive process employed by ukiyo-e cutters, wherein the surface is cut into and material removed to leave lines and shapes. The feathers of the birds in the Union College Coromandel Screen show just how fine lines can be cut, making these birds an excellent way to understand how ukiyo-e cutters made the spectacular treatments of the women’s long hair in the prints by Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, Eizan, and Eisen.