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  • 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.

  • Thumbnail for Landscape attributed to Wang Hui
    Landscape attributed to Wang Hui by attrib. Wang Hui (1632-1717)

    The Wang Hui attribution is probably spurious. The painting is, however, a good example of orthodox landscape in the late imperial period. 67 7/8" x 12 7/8". Ink and colors on satin. Very much darkened with some in-painting. To view the frontispiece, click on related record below.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Bronze T'ao T'ie Mask Belt Hook (mirror back)
    Chinese Bronze T'ao T'ie Mask Belt Hook (mirror back)

    2" w. Cast with projecting brows, scrolled horns and large scrolled ears, loop handle below a protruding nose which is flanked by hooked fangs, incised with fur markings, traces of gilding present.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Bronze Vase (view 1)
    Chinese Bronze Vase (view 1)

    7 1/4 " h. Pyriform body, elongated neck with a long dragon entwined terminating with a bulbous mouth surmounted by an upright cylindrical lip, all supported by a tall splayed foot ring, traces of gilding.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Bronze Belt Hook (front)
    Chinese Bronze Belt Hook (front)

    3 1/2""h. Cast in relief, a stylized winged dragon coiled in a figure eight, taloned feet with a slender shaft above ending in a bird's-head hook. Traces of gilding present.

  • Thumbnail for Ink Plum
    Ink Plum by Dai Xi (1801-1860)

    A good example of the long-standing genre of ink plum. 19 1/4 x 10 7/8 inches. Ink on silk.

  • Thumbnail for Amitabha Dharani Sutra - frontispiece with illustration
    Amitabha Dharani Sutra - frontispiece with illustration

    On the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation, Charles R. Bennett ('07) gifted this woodblock-printed, illustrated Buddhist text to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Dating to the year 975, the Amitabha Sutra is probably the earliest printed object in the college's collection. Consider that the world's earliest dated printed book is the Buddhist Diamond Sutra of 868 (now in the British Library) and that the Gutenberg Bible hails from the mid-1400s. Mr. Bennett, who lived and worked in China for two decades after graduating, remarked that the sutra was recovered from a brick of a pagoda in the city of Hangzhou. Indeed , on September 25, 1924, the famous Leifeng ("Thunder Peak") Pagoda collapsed. Erected by a regional king, the Leifeng Pagoda stood on the southern bank of the scenic West Lake for nearly a millenium. In 2000-01, a team of excavators revealed an underground chamber filled with gilt silver and bronze sculptures along with artifacts of stone and jade. In addition, the excavation confirmed the presence of bricks with cylindrical cavities that once held printed sutras. Bowdoin's sutra, not quite 3 inches high but almost seven feet long, is currently mounted as a handscroll. Its condition attests to its age, but as we may still distinguish from right to left a dedication, an illustration, and a sutra text. The dedication tells us that the king, Wang Qianchu, commissioned 84,000 copies of this sutra to be placed in the pagoda in the 8th month of the year 975. The illustration shows two distinct moments. At right a worshipper kneels at an altar table placed before a holy triad comprised of a seated Buddhist deity and a pair of monks. At left, the deity appears to a beseeching worshipper. Radiant jewels hang from above, fragrant flowers rain down, and a splendid stupa is placed at the center, giving the scene a sacred air. Following the illustration, the text records a story of how Buddha once restored a crumbling pagoda. It seems likely that by placing many copies of this sutra in Leifeng Pagoda, the king could ensure the building's continued existence. From text drafted for a Bowdoin College Museum of Art newsletter by De-nin D. Lee. The entire scroll measures approximately 3" x 7'. Woodblock-printed, illustrated Buddhist text. To view the text that accompanies this illustration, click on related records below.

  • Thumbnail for Buddhist Deity
    Buddhist Deity

    Lotus flowers typically grow in muddy-bottomed ponds, but they bloom without the slightest stain. This image offers a vivid and powerful metaphor of purity emerging from an imperfect or polluted world. In a small painting recently acquired by the Museum, a crimson lotus with fine gold veins serves as a fitting throne for a Buddhist deity. The deity is Cundi, a feminine form of Avalokitesvara, the most beloved bodhisattva in East Asia. Framed by a perfect white orb and haloes around the body and head, the deity sits cross-legged, or in 'lotus' position. She wears an elaborate crown and jeweled necklace, and her superhuman abilities are signaled by a third eye in the center of her forehead an eighteen arms. Two primary hands communicate through their conventional gesture of teaching, while most of the others grasp symbolic objects, such as the sword of wisdom, the wheel of the Buddhist dharma (or law), and the fruit of enlightenment. Emerging from the sea below, two male figures wear dragon crowns and colorful robes, and carry jade scepters. They are the dragon kings Nanda and Upananda. Each raises an arm to lend additional support to the lotus, suggesting service to Buddhism. The painting is fine and decorative, typical of the courtly style of the eighteenth century. At this time in China, Manchu emperors embraced the esoteric teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and were active patrons of Buddhist art. The image of Cundi, who is unaffected by the turbulent waters and the winds below, presents an image of serenity and she continues to capture our attention today. Text by De-nin D. Lee - published in Bowdoin College Museum of Art newsletter Spring 2006, p7.

  • Thumbnail for Tea Room image 5 (detail) - tokonoma
    Tea Room image 5 (detail) - tokonoma by Seiji Suzuki

    The alcove, or tokonoma, is slightly elevated above the tearoom floor and may originally have been used to seat someone of high rank. In the medieval age, the alcove became a sacred space to display a scroll with calligraphy or a simple flower arrangement. In a formal tea gathering, the scroll offers a profound message upon which guests may meditate; the natural flower arrangement reflects the pure spirit of the host. The uneven and staggered cherrywood shelves in the tokonoma display porcelains from the Reeves Collection. In medieval Japan, the shelves often held writing implements and Buddhist scripture. A dove-shaped piece of wood curves upward at the end of the shelf. This traditional architectural detail prevents a writing brush from rolling off the shelf. The recessed hardware details in the cabinets are in the shape of a chrysanthemum.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Bronze Belt Hook (view from above)
    Chinese Bronze Belt Hook (view from above)

    3" l. Cast with long scrolled horns flanking a crest, large ears, prominent snout and protruding curved tongue forming the hook.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Inscribed Bronze Mirror (front)
    Chinese Inscribed Bronze Mirror (front)

    3 7/8" w. Includes 18 seal characters forming a frieze.