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  • 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.

  • 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 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 Lotus shoe with ties for bound feet (heel detail)
    Lotus shoe with ties for bound feet (heel detail)

    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 Set of imperial ceremonial armor- helmet back view
    Set of imperial ceremonial armor- helmet back view

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Light green shoes for bound feet (front and bottom)
    Light green shoes for bound feet (front and bottom)

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

  • Thumbnail for Celadon vase
    Celadon vase

    Celadon-glazed Korean vase.

  • 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 Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Heart Sutra)
    Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Heart Sutra) by Fang Chao Ling (b. 1914)

    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 “Heart Sutra.†A number of transcriptions and translations may be found in the file. The artist’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.

  • Thumbnail for Wooden fan (side 1 bird detail)
    Wooden fan (side 1 bird detail)

    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 Pillow (used by ladies) (side view)
    Pillow (used by ladies) (side view)

    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 The Sculptor of Tokobueï
    The Sculptor of Tokobueï by Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960)

    Color woodblock print, 11-3/8 x 15-1/2". The Sculptor of Tokobueï depicts a seated man carving a Buddha image. The last word is likely a French Romanization of a South Seas term for a location or name of the object being carved. Artist’s seal takes a floral shape around the character. A second seal with a legend in two columns seems also be associated with the artist’s identity or affiliation. Jacoulet [1896-1960] was born in Paris, but from a very young age lived in Japan.

  • Thumbnail for Incense burner (detail)
    Incense burner (detail)

    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 Incense burner (detail)
    Incense burner (detail)

    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.