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  • 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 All of these metal images were originally made for ritual use.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.

  • 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 Red shoes for bound feet (pair)
    Red shoes for bound feet (pair)

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

  • Thumbnail for Thai bronze Buddha head
    Thai bronze Buddha head

    Thai bronze artifact of a Buddha head with a base, Sukhothai style.

  • Thumbnail for Celadon vase
    Celadon vase

    Celadon-glazed Korean vase.

  • Thumbnail for Shinagawa from Fifty-three Famous Places (Gojûsan tsugi meishozue)
    Shinagawa 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. Professor Mandancy’s original list identifies this work correctly as second print in 1855 set, though her letter listed it again mistakenly as part of the earlier set. Old time connoisseurs of ukiyo-e looked mostly at the lines, but today, there is more consideration of the printing of the colors. Studies of the prints of Harunobu by Jack Hillier (Suzuki Harunobu, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1970, pp. 28-31) suggest that this Ukiyo-e artist offered a first state (best rubbed and colored) to a select clientele and then made subsequent larger, offerings (less carefully rubbed and colored) for more casual buyers. Some regard only the first offering as Art, seeing the later ones as closer to reproduction for commercial purposes. Colors have faded in both Hakone and Shinagawa, as is apparent in the pink rather than red tone of the vertical title bar. However, Hakone shows much more careful rubbing than Shinagawa. An example is the blue bar in the sea above the roofline in the middle of the print of Shinagawa. Such a blue bar is common in Ukiyo-e and is called a “number one†(ichimonji) because the character for “1†is a single, horizontal stroke. An ichimonji is made by painting a broad band of color onto the pre-moistened block and then swiping across it to remove some color and so create a tonal variation. Streaks in the blue bar in Shinagawa indicate that this “wipe†was quick and simple. This is also true for the blue at the top of Shinagawa, or the colors of the distant mountains, wall, or other areas. By contrast, the grey color of the large mountain that dominates the left half of the composition of Hakone is much more carefully done. It fades out much more gradually. The grain of the wooden block has also been used to create cliffs and crags in the mountain. Similarly, the rubber used the rough texture of the wood itself to give the dotted look of gritty rock. This effect is particularly nicely done in the area by the shore, where it produces a sandy texture that contrasts to the wet-looking blue water.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese feather fan with birds and flowers (side 1 )
    Chinese feather fan with birds and flowers (side 1 )

    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 Stucco Buddha head artifact
    Stucco Buddha head artifact

    13 X 10 1/2 X 9 1/2 artifact of a mortar over brick core Buddha head. Ayutthaya style. Northern Thailand (or possibly from a Laotian monument constructed in the Ayutthaya style).

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

    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 Pair of Japanese landscapes
    Pair of Japanese landscapes by Tani Bunchô (1763-1840)

    27 ½" x 74". The brushstroke’s ability to balance the creation of “space†(kukan) with the needs of “spacing†(kuhaku) is clear in the trees in the Union College Bunchô 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 Bunchô Scrolls show many brushstrokes in which both sides of the line are used to render forms. We see such “double edged brushstrokes†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 “double-edged brushstrokes†into the block, they had to cut the two sides of each line separately anyway, so it was easy to reproduce their differing movements.

  • 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.

  • Thumbnail for Ceremonial sword and sheath-front view
    Ceremonial sword and sheath-front view by Paiwan

    The ceremonial sword and sheath were important symbols of social status and male potency in traditional Paiwan culture in Taiwan. The sheath is decorated with human ancestral figures and a sacred mythological creature, the hundred-pace snake.

  • Thumbnail for Cotton hood-side view 2
    Cotton hood-side view 2

    Hood made of Japanese cotton and old Japanese kimonos. From Hokkaido.

  • Thumbnail for Traveler in Autumn
    Traveler in Autumn

    15 1/8 X 6 3/4 watercolor painting of a traveler during autumn.

  • Thumbnail for Set of armor-back view
    Set of armor-back view

    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 Ink -wash wooden wheel fan (side 2 figure detail)
    Ink -wash wooden wheel fan (side 2 figure detail)

    This fan features a genre scene in ink-wash style brushwork, 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 Evening at Kintaikyo Bridge, in Spring
    Evening at Kintaikyo Bridge, in Spring by Kawase Hasui

    Color woodblock, 15 1/4 X 10 1/2 inches, ink and color on paper. Shin Hanga print showing one of the 'Three Bridges of Japan'. Built in the late 17th century by Lord Hiroyoshi Kikkawa to solve the transportation problem when the Nishiki River flooded. Hasui presents the five arch bridge and its surroundings in a lyric manner, looking through pink cherry blossoms at a pebbled bank with a man maneuvering his boat beneath the bridge.

  • Thumbnail for 53 stations of the Tokaido: Yoshida - Station 35
    53 stations of the Tokaido: Yoshida - Station 35 by Ando Hiroshige (1797 - 1858)

    Color woodblock, 7 X 9 1/4 inches, ink and color on paper. People passing over a bridge with heavy loads and one woman on a horse. Large section of water with boats in front of the city of Yoshida, high rising buildings in the distance.

  • Thumbnail for Ceremonial sword and sheath-full view
    Ceremonial sword and sheath-full view by Paiwan

    The ceremonial sword and sheath were important symbols of social status and male potency in traditional Paiwan culture in Taiwan. The sheath is decorated with human ancestral figures and a sacred mythological creature, the hundred-pace snake.

  • Thumbnail for Ceremonial sword and sheath-handle
    Ceremonial sword and sheath-handle by Paiwan

    The ceremonial sword and sheath were important symbols of social status and male potency in traditional Paiwan culture in Taiwan. The sheath is decorated with human ancestral figures and a sacred mythological creature, the hundred-pace snake.

  • Thumbnail for Set of two 4-panel Japanese screens
    Set of two 4-panel Japanese screens by Tosa School

    36" x 72". The screens date to the 20th c. but show 17-18th c Tosa painting methods. These screens typify Tosa painting.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait of a Boxer Supporter
    Portrait of a Boxer Supporter

    28 1/8" x 18 15/16 inches, ink and colors on paper. Formal family portrait of a supporter of the Boxer rebellion. Signed 'Charles F. Gammon 1900'.

  • Thumbnail for The God of Pulior - Ganesha image
    The God of Pulior - Ganesha image

    Roughly carved figure of the Hindu god, Ganesha. Wood, 6 x 3 x 1 1/2 inches, from the Madura Mission.