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  • 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.

  • Thumbnail for Set of armor-side view front facing left
    Set of armor-side view front facing left

    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 Rhinoceros horn wine cup stand
    Rhinoceros horn wine cup stand

    Carved from a large rhinoceros horn. Imitation of a bronze Han Dynasty mirror. Two dragons decorate the surface.

  • Thumbnail for Bodhisattva Sculpture
    Bodhisattva Sculpture

    Carved wooden sculpture of the Bodhisattva Kuan Yin (Guanyin). Painted wood. The Bodhisattva wears a beaded necklace that crosses at navel and extends to shins. A third row of beads extends down between the legs. A circular medallion enclosing a diamond pattern is just above the knees on the central axis. Two sashes extend down on either side of the legs. The right hand exhibits an unusual mudra for an image in this style. The left hand holds a drooping flower bud. This is a finely crafted piece, and it is also a puzzle. This is carved in the so-called ""columnar"" style of the Northern Qi dynasty (late 6th century CE), but it cannot be that old. Wooden Buddhist sculpture of that time period is virtually non-existent except for a few fragments found in central Asia. Many surviving wooden Buddhist images date to the Song Dynasty, however they are rendered in a later, and more fluid, naturalistic style radically different from this image. Perhaps this piece is from a later provincial temple in which an archaizing style was deliberately adopted (as was commonly done in the painting tradition)? It could be some kind of modern forgery, but it is highly unlikely. If a modern forger wished to pass of such an image as a Qi dynasty piece he would be an utter fool to make it of wood.

  • Thumbnail for 53 Stations of the Tokaido: Seki, Station 48
    53 Stations of the Tokaido: Seki, Station 48 by Ando Hiroshige (1797 - 1858)

    Color woodblock, 7 X 9 1/4 inches, ink and color on paper. Seki means 'checkpoint', and checkpoints were set up at strategic locations by the Tokugawa government to control traveling, police the road and prevent any unlawful activities. Hiroshige illustrates the arrival of a high ranking official accompanied by his entourage at Seki.

  • Thumbnail for 53 Stations of the Tokaido: Hakone - Station 11
    53 Stations of the Tokaido: Hakone - Station 11 by Ando Hiroshige (1797 - 1858)

    Color woodblock, 7 X 9 1/4 inches, ink and color on paper. Burning pink flames between grey mountains as porters travel along the narrow and steep mountain pass at Hakone, near Lake Ashinoko. Hiroshige captured the moment when porters struggle to carry their feudal retainers in sedan chairs as darkness nears.

  • Thumbnail for 53 Stations of the Tokaido: Odawara, Station 10
    53 Stations of the Tokaido: Odawara, Station 10 by Ando Hiroshige (1797 - 1858)

    Color woodblock, 7 X 9 1/4 inches, ink and color on paper. Odawara was a post town facing Sagami Bay. It is said that travelers on the Tokaido often stayed in Odawara for the night to rest in order to prepare for climbing the deadly Hakone pass the next day.l

  • Thumbnail for Nezu Shrine in Snow
    Nezu Shrine in Snow by Kawase Hasui

    Color woodblock, 15 1/4 X 10 1/2 inches, ink and color on paper. Shin Hanga print by Kawase Hasui of the early 18th century Nezu Shrine. Captured on a snowy day, Hasui creates a photographic effect showing the entrance in a cropped view. Architectural features are sharply detailed against the white background; the marshy walkway coming in from the right leads the viewer's eye into the print.

  • 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 53 Stations of the Tokaido: Kakegawa, Station 27
    53 Stations of the Tokaido: Kakegawa, Station 27 by Ando Hiroshige (1797 - 1858)

    Color woodblock, 7 X 9 1/4 inches, ink and color on paper. Hiroshige highlights pilgrims, Buddhist monks, and worshipers as they cross the bridge toward the torii entrance to a temple.

  • 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.

  • Thumbnail for The Married Rocks of Futami
    The Married Rocks of Futami

    Antique painting on silk.

  • Thumbnail for The Fearing Cup
    The Fearing Cup by Anonymous

    18 x 12 x 12 inches. Silver cup made in Shanghai. The cup is an example of the metalwork of the early 20th century China. Standing on three sculptural lions, the vessel is furnished with six petal-shaped panels; each is decorated with relief narrative scenes, floral designs and carved dragon motifs. The two handles are modeled into flamboyant dragons with their claws attached to the surface of the cup. A raised shield-shaped section on two central panels is carved with inscriptions surrounded by dragons swirling in the cloud. The inscriptions in English read 'Presented to Mr. Henry D. Fearing by the Chinese students, Amherst, Mass., 1906'. The other panel inscribed in traditional Chinese bears the name of the eleven students: Huang Risheng, Lu Baoxian, Rong Xianren, Lian Qian, Cai Guozao, Liang Laikui, Chen Yaorong, Zheng Heng, Rong Jingqing, Liang Wenji and Liang Qingluan. The two narrative panels are executed in the manner of traditional Chinese scenes. One panel shows an elder couple welcoming a young man to their home and the other depicts the young man leaving the residence of the couple with a sense of confidence and accomplishment. The subject is carefully chosen to serve as metaphor of Mr. and Ms. Fearing's generosity to and guidance for the young Chinese students.

  • Thumbnail for Scholars' Occupations - detail of inscription and seal
    Scholars' Occupations - detail of inscription and seal by Gu Luo (1763-?)

    Detail of the inscription and seal found on the Scholars' Occupations handscroll. This colorful and pleasant image of scholars in a garden is a standard subject. It shows scholars playing chess, examining painting or calligraphy, playing the zithers. Servant boys bring books behind. It is an idealized image, set in springtime, and would have been appealing to scholars and to those who shared scholarly, cultural values. 12 5/8 x 106 5/8 inches for entire handscroll. To view the scroll, click on the related record number below.

  • Thumbnail for Landscape in the style of Ni Zan from an Album of Eight Miniature Landscapes
    Landscape in the style of Ni Zan from an Album of Eight Miniature Landscapes by Zhang Peidun (1772-1846)

    This album of landscapes demonstrates Zhang's ability to paint in a number of classic idioms, including the misty "Mi" family style, and the style of Ni Zan. The album could have functioned as an artist's sketchbook of compositions and styles, but it would have had value for collectors. A good representation of the orthodox styles available to artists of the late imperial period. 7 5/8 x 4 7/8 inches. Ink on paper.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Bronze Hand Warmer with Engraved Dragons and Flowers (close up)
    Chinese Bronze Hand Warmer with Engraved Dragons and Flowers (close up)

    2" h x 2 3/4" w. Ovate body with engraved design of dragons on two sides enclosed in arabesque cartouches and engraved peonies in arabesque cartouches on the other two sides, rectangular cover, domed and cast in relief with a dragon and preforated bale handle, traces of gilding and lacquer.