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  • 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.

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

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

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Stone Relief Carving (front)
    Chinese Stone Relief Carving (front)

    Remnant of larger stone grouping showing four figures, two seated with two exterior figures presented hands folded in a devotional manner. Most likely part of an original funerary construct.

  • Thumbnail for Blue and White Rice Table Set
    Blue and White Rice Table Set

    Blue and white rice table (rijsttafel) set for condiments to be eaten with rice. Chinese export for the Dutch market.

  • Thumbnail for Netsuke (bird catcher)
  • Thumbnail for Chinese Copper-red Pot
    Chinese Copper-red Pot

    2 3/4" x 2 3/4". Globular form with white ground glazed all over except for the bottom of the foot ring, painted with copper-red dragons pursuing a pearl amid cloud forms on two sides, a band above the foot ring with floral meander and a band of alternating ruyi heads and bats around the mouth, details picked out with gilding, plus a gilded ring on the lip, marked in red enamel, within an incised ring, with four character mark of Qianlong and of the period.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Stoneware Cup and Stand (detail)
    Chinese Stoneware Cup and Stand (detail)

    Cup - 2 1/8" h x 4" w. Stand - 1 1/4" h x 5 3/4" w. Petal - carved, campanulate cup, green-glazed, crazed and pooling thickly in recesses and running down on a solid, slightly splayed base in thicl pools, flat base with traces of spurs, double groove below the rim on the exterior. Design of overlapping petals repeated on the inside of the stand, encircling the cup ring, concave base, buff colored body.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Copper-red Glazed Vase - view 1
    Chinese Copper-red Glazed Vase - view 1

    5 7/8" h. Baluster form with amethyst colored glaze, finely crackled, fading to some irregular white areas by the foot, beveled edge flat, wide and shallow foot ring unglazed, interior unglazed, white glaze on the base inside the foot ring, splashes of deep red near and on the lip and above foot.

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

    3" w. Cast and decorated in relief with two men flanking the pierced dumbell-form knob and with eight Buddhist precious objects dispersed above and below. Narrow wedge shaped ridge.

  • Thumbnail for Blue Glass Vase with Box (in box)
    Blue Glass Vase with Box (in box)

    View of small blown glass bottle as presented to Robert Thorp in a small box with stand. The vase is clear, yet mottled with various colors ranging from light blue to brown intermixed with bits of mica to create a sparkling effect.

  • Thumbnail for Glazed White Vase
    Glazed White Vase

    Vase with light carving under a milky white glaze. Floral motif wraps around the piece, which has been repaired with a metal band around the lip.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Enamel Bronze Fingernail Guard (back)
    Chinese Enamel Bronze Fingernail Guard (back)

    3 3/4" l. Arced and tapered fprm with reticulated design on the reverse and enamel floral design on the front.

  • Thumbnail for Tankard
    Tankard

    Pink, lavender, and green floral swags top trim. Large ship, on green sea, showing American flag. Saturday Night written above ship. Reed entwined handle. Famille Rose.

  • Thumbnail for Saucer:  "The Doctor's Visit to the Emperor"
    Saucer: "The Doctor's Visit to the Emperor"

    Saucer decorated with "The Doctor's Visit to the Emperor" after a design by Cornelis Pronk. For the Dutch market.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Tomb Candle Holders - view 2
    Chinese Tomb Candle Holders - view 2

    7" h. Paneled hu-formed stem with two degenerated animal head handles, molded in relief with floral sprays divided by bow-form raised and molded vertical lines raised on a high tapered base molded in relief with a frieze of stylized lotus petals, supported by five simple feet, surmounted by a hexagonal drip pan, on top there is an inverted scalloped tip collar surmounted by a tapered lip, minutely crazed greenish-beige glaze carelessly applied

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Copper-red Glazed Vase (view 2)
    Chinese Copper-red Glazed Vase (view 2)

    5 7/8" h. Baluster form with amethyst colored glaze, finely crackled, fading to some irregular white areas by the foot, beveled edge flat, wide and shallow foot ring unglazed, interior unglazed, white glaze on the base inside the foot ring, splashes of deep red near and on the lip and above foot.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Carved Soapstone Vases - back view
    Chinese Carved Soapstone Vases - back view

    9 3/4"" each. Two vases with peony branches, flowers and leaves twisted around the front of the baluster form vases, continuing down to include the four legged stands carved from one stone, two pieces.