(Part of a set of four) Qi Baishi (1863-1957) is perhaps Chinaâ€™s most revered master of the twentieth century. These four paintings are representative of Qiâ€™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.
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
Shoes for bound feet of Chinese women contrast with the â€œplatformâ€ 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 appliquÃ©, not embroidery.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Pair of embroidered shoes for bound feet of Chinese women: would appear to come from South China.
20x26 Japanese colored lithograph depicting one of the eight scenes from the Sino-Japanese War.
Woodblock print. 13Â¾" 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 Mandancyâ€™s letter identifies the work as one of the Fifty-three Stages of the TokaidÃ´ (TokaidÃ´ gojÃ»san 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 â€œgenuine,â€ 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 workâ€™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.
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 artistâ€™s name would be carved at the bottom of the netsuke.
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 womenâ€™s long hair in the prints by Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, Eizan, and Eisen.
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.
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.
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 womenâ€™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.
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.
Pair of embroidered shoes for bound feet of Chinese women: would appear to come from South China.
Celadon-glazed Korean vase.
27 Â½" x 74". The brushstrokeâ€™s ability to balance the creation of â€œspaceâ€ (kukan) with the needs of â€œspacingâ€ (kuhaku) is clear in the trees in the Union College BunchÃ´ Scrolls, where there is an acceptable image of foliage, but on closer inspection, the leaves are seen to be as carefully separated as the tarashikomi plants in the Union College Tosa Screens. In addition, the Union College BunchÃ´ Scrolls show many brushstrokes in which both sides of the line are used to render forms. We see such â€œdouble edged brushstrokesâ€ in the contours of the mountains, where the smooth run of the top of a line creates the overall rounded form of a peak, but the bottom has a series of bumps that render boulders within. Similarly, a single stroke suffices to create the branch of a tree, but because the two sides of the resulting line are different, the limb thins and has knobs and twists. When Ukiyo-e cutters carved such â€œdouble-edged brushstrokesâ€ into the block, they had to cut the two sides of each line separately anyway, so it was easy to reproduce their differing movements.
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 â€œHeart Sutra.â€ A number of transcriptions and translations may be found in the file. The artistâ€™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.
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 â€œbig wheel fan,â€ 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.
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 â€œJapanese,â€ 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).