From Central Thailand. Stoneware, H: 9" x dia.8". Like the large storage jar illustrated here, this vessel, with its buff clay body, is glazed a dark brown on the upper part of the body. The broad lip would have served the same purpose as the lugs on the larger jar, as a cover could have been tied over the broad mouth. These vessels were used both as export ware and for domestic use. A jar of this type would have been thrown in two parts and luted together.
From Pitsanulok, Sukhothai, or Sawankhalok. Earthenware, H: 12 3/4" x 9". Jars of this type were produced in huge quantities in Sawankhalok, Pitsanulok, and Sukhothai, and it is impossible to distinguish the production of the three centers. In all instances, the clay body is a grey color and the decoration is appliqued and jabbed on to the surface. Unglazed vessels are often used to contain water, as the liquid stays cool, since the vessel body can breath.
Hanging scroll; ink on paper. Dimensions: 56 x 16 1/4 in. Condition of this work is excellent.
From Sankampaeng, Thailand, Stoneware, Dia: 9". The pale, wheat-colored glaze of this shallow dish is slightly abraded. The vessel is finely thrown, with a broad, carved foot and a body of pale clay.
Print 19 of 33, woodcut on paper, 18 x 12 inches. Mayumi Oda is a Tokyo-born Japanese-American woman print-maker, who is a graduate of Tokyo University of Fine Arts and the Pratt Graphic Center, NY and who now lives on a farm in Kealakekua, Hawaii. Oda is as well known as an activist for environmental and women's causes as an artist. She is one of the founders of Plutonium Free Future, which seeks safe energy, and she works with the World Court Project that hopes to make nuclear weapons illegal. She is the author of "I Opened the Gate, Laughing: An Inner Journey and has written on her love of farming in "Sun, Seeds and Soil" in Resurgence 229, 2005. She has also translated the writings of Hiratsuka Raicho (1887-1971), a Japanese feminist important in the development of the Creative Print Movement. Oda titled this print Maiden and Ox, but the image is clearly based on the theme of the Ten (or Six) Zen Oxen or Bulls, there being no distinction in Japanese between the male and female animal or between oxen and cattle. The theme of the Ten Zen Bulls was often illustrated as a series of circular pictures. The theme compares the process of reaching enlightenment in Zen Buddhism to taming a bull. Pictures of the Ten Zen Bulls generally begin by showing a bull-herd wandering aimlessly until he spies out the animal. He chases it, ropes it, and struggles with it until the animal meekly follows him. The bull-herd can now ride the bull with such confidence that he is able to play his flute while doing so. Next, the bull-herd is shown praying. A blank circle follows, then a scene in nature, and finally, an image of the bull-herd standing next to some great Buddhist figure, such as Hotei. The meaning of the parable of the Ten Zen Bulls may come from the fact that oxen and cattle, as the largest animals known in Japan, are symbols of flesh. Interpreted this way, the point of the parable would be that the flesh (bull) must first be perceived and then tamed, in order to enter a religious path. Not until the flesh (bull) follows the mind (bull-herd), and indeed, not until flesh and mind are completely comfortable with each other (the bull-herd riding the bull and playing his flute) is it possible to reach enlightenment, or the understanding of nothingness (the blank scene). Finally, the good Buddhist, having achieved salvation, returns to the world (the scene in nature) to help others as the great saints did. Oda transformed the usually male ox-herd of the Ten Zen Bulls into one of her goddesses, but otherwise reproduces the figure's relaxed pose, seated on the bull and playing his flute. The goddess is drawn in outline, with her white skin the color of the unprinted paper. Black lines render the goddess' arms, neck, eyes, and other anatomical details. The bull, by contrast, is composed of large black masses that have been shaped carefully to leave long open strips of unprinted white paper. The white strips serve as the contours of the horns, folds in the neck, and upper parts of the right fore and back legs. Oda's Maiden and Ox, consequently, is not just an image commenting upon gender issues in Buddhism or the need for the spiritually enlightened to work in the world -- Oda has said that she began making her goddess series in response to the Vietnam War. Maiden and Ox is also a statement on the nature of line in art and its relationship to the planes that it creates.
Paintings of both men and women in gardens. A part of the iconography of most images of women in the gardens is the wall, signifying that she was in a space enclosed. The identification of this woman is uncertain. Xiaoyu is taken from a seal, and the second character of the name (after Feng) is unclear, although even if it were readable there seems to be no likely woman artist with a first character Feng in her name in the dictionary. She does say that she did the work in Shanghai, and since women traveled little, this is likely where she lived. There are many paintings of both men and women in gardens. It is interesting that a part of the iconography of most images of women in gardens is the wall, signifying that she was in a space enclosed, a space that belonged to someone else, and by extension she was property within that space. Perhaps only in dreams could one escape. This work is competent, but not too impressive in either its brushwork or composition.
Hanging scroll; ink and light colors on silk. Dimensions: 34 3/4 x 19 7/8 in. Condition is good. A relatively formal work for this artist.
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper. Dimensions: 11 1/2 x 51 in. Condition is excellent. Represents the Chinese poet Han Shan (Japanese: Kanzan), and is a pair with 'Man with Broom at Feet', which represents Shide (Japanese: Jittoku).
Hanging scroll; ink on silk. Dimensions: 51 3/8 x 20 in. Condition is good.
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper. Dimensions: 11 5/8 x 51 in. Condition is excellent.
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper. Dimensions: 7 x 3/4 x 49 in. Condition is excellent.
Pavilion over the water and the complex of distant mountains with the lines of coniferous trees, can be found in the most famous work of Huang. Foreground scenes of trees and pavilion, mountains to the left. Gu Linshi was by far the oldest of the group known as the "Nine Friends" of Suzhou, and his contribution was to carry the ideas and training of that generation into the twentieth century (see comments on the group under Fan #2). In the literature, Gu is discussed in combination with Lu Hui (1851-1920) (not represented in this collection), as artists who insisted on an awareness and respect for past traditions even as they forged new stylistic expressions. His standing is suggested by the inclusion of one of his works in the "Century in Crisis" exhibition, a work in the style of the late Yuan artist Xu Ben. Andrews recounts how Lu Hui and Gu Linshi, along with other Suzhou painters, emphasized the importance of traditional styles, although they knew and interacted with more iconoclastic painters from Shanghai. Gu and Wu Dacheng, a "rising political figure, â€¦scholar, collector, calligrapher and amateur painter," organized the Yiyuan huaji, a painting society, at Gu's home in 1891. Gu was therefore a pivotal figure in an extended group of artists that included many of the names in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Gu came from an established family, and his grandfather Gu Wenbin (1811-1889) owned "â€¦one of the most important collections in Suzhou at the time." His interest in and expertise on earlier artists is documented in the painting referred to above. There are more than thirty works by him referenced in Laing's lists of twentieth-century artists, testifying to his stature and popularity in his day. Gu says in his inscription that this fan is in the manner of the great Yuan master Huang Gongwang. It is not clear which specific painting of Huang's Gu is referring to, but elements in the composition, specifically the pavilion over the water and the complex of distant mountains with the lines of coniferous trees, can be found in the most famous work by Huang, the Fuchun Mountain Scroll. The manipulation of space is done well, with the foreground scene of trees and pavilion used as a repoussoire, so that the mountains to the left recede effectively into the distance. The classical reference fits well into the kind of paintings Gu did.
Woman with pipa in a boat. Wang Su was well known in his day, and his work has appeared in recent exhibitions. He lived through the tumultuous mid-century era when the Opium War and Taiping rebellion wrecked havoc across the land. His nephew, a student of his, died in the rebellion. Brown says that Wang Su was "â€¦not known for his native talent, either in painting or in calligraphy, yet he was able to overcome his deficiencies through industry and diligence." Conscious of the expectation that successful painters have literary skills, he developed a minor reputation in poetry and attached long inscriptions on some of his paintings. Wang Su was known for his figure paintings, often in the style of Gai Qi and Fei Danxiu, two well-known figure painters of the middle Qing. As in the painting in the Henricksen collection, this one has a melancholy air about it, and probably refers to the famous Tang dynasty poem, The Pipa Song, written by Bai Zhuyi in 816. The poem recounts an event in which Bai Zhuyi travelled to Xunyang and visited with a friend on his boat. From across the waters came the sound of the pipa, the Chinese lute, played with surpassing skill. Both men knew that only a musician trained in the capital could play so well. It turned out the player was a courtesan, grown old and now unwanted. She joined the men on the boat and played for them. The event was a favorite subject for artists, and evoked the passing of time and the fading of earthly pleasures. The subject is properly identified as an illustration to the poem Pipa Song.
n this painting two figures sit on a point of land that opens onto a vast stretch of water. They are embraced by the two trees, one in the left background and one between and behind the figures. Ren Xun is another major figure in nineteenth century Chinese painting. His importance is underlined by being included in the major exhibition A Century in Crisis, and the following comments are drawn from those pages. A Chinese author notes that "â€¦in terms of facial renditions, the upper portions tend to be narrower and the lower portions fullerâ€¦and therefore are antique [in spirit]â€¦" This gives some suggestion of a person who was more reflective and sober in spirit than others. Ren Xun was the brother of Ren Xiong and the teacher of Ren Yi, and he has suffered by comparison to these more famous members of the Ren family. Ren Yi was eventually to go to Shanghai, a world of art more prosperous and iconoclastic than Suzhou where Ren Xun chose to stay. He was a well-known figure in that city, and contributed to the world of art in many ways. His career is well-documented. In this painting the two figures sit on a point of land that opens onto a vast stretch of water, suggested by the indications of distant land at top left. They are embraced by the two trees, one in the left foreground and one between and behind the figures. The scene of the scholar in nature awaiting tea prepared by a servant is often encountered in traditional landscapes, and this scene seems to be a quick sketch, a footnote referring back to that tradition.
To the right are two five character quatrains comparing the orchid to the fragrance of a woman. At the end is the dedication and signature. Shen Rong, zi Shixiang, has a minimal presence in the literature. He was known for his flowers, as well as landscape in the manner of the Loudong School, associated with the early Qing master Wang Yuanqi. The single work cited in SirÃ©n is also of an orchid, and SirÃ©n states that he was active around 1830. To the right are two five-character quatrains comparing the orchid to the fragrance of a woman. At the end is the dedication and signature. The literary and pictorial conceit of the wild orchid is a very old one in China, and one that a student could follow in an essay on the topic. The orchid is inobtrusive, not at all showy like many seen in greenhouses today, yet its fragrance pervades the air. This is a metaphor for the proper Confucian gentleman, whose character influences others although he may be retired socially. The long pliant leaves of the plant allow the calligraphic possibilities of the brush to come into play, and the solidity of the rock contrasts with the softness of the plant. The mushroom is always a symbol of longevity, sometimes associated with Daoist practices.
Two bearded scholars in a boat on a moonlight night. Despite the accomplished technique of this work and presence of a pen name and signature (the character "zhang" is not clear), the artist has not been identified. The style of the painting is very close to that of Qian Hui'an (1833-1911), but the calligraphy in the inscription is different from that artist. Qian's followers were legion, and any number of artists could have produced this charming fan. The face of the bearded scholar at center is particularly close to Huian's work. One can compare this work to those by Shen Zhaohan, another follower of Hui'an. The artist states that he is doing the work in Hucheng, or Shanghai, where Qian Hui'an spent most of his career. The subject of the painting is the "Ode on the Red Cliff" by Su Shi, a topic that appears several times in this collection. It takes as a theme the evanescence of human effort over the broad span of history, and this concept must have resonated with many in these confusing times.
A single woman in her boat and two men in theirs, both placed along the banks of the river. The identification of the artist is tentative at best, and rests on the interpretation of the character Yi. Yilou is the pen name of Shen Yuebin, who exists only as a single entry in the dictionary of artist's names. The entry states he was known for his regular script, but does not mention painting. Nevertheless, the careful organization of the composition and the meticulous brushwork in an almost miniature scene implies someone who could work with a similar approach in calligraphy. All elements in this scene refer to the story of the Lute Song: the single woman in her boat and the two men in theirs, both placed along the banks of the river. By laying out the banks of the river as overlapping spits of land separated by wide expanses of water, the artist introduces an aura of emptiness and melancholy that suits the story well. This is an innovative approach to an event often depicted.
Kappazuri or katazome dyed stencil print, 16/100, 27 x 20 inches. Watanabe is, perhaps, the most famous Christian-Japanese print master to date. Frances Blakemore states that: "Watanabe's works are in collections from South Africa to Australia, from the Philippines to Europe. (Who's who in Modern Japanese Prints, p. 228). Institutions that list examples of his work in their collections include the Museums of Modern Art of Tokyo and New York, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the British Museum, and the Haifa Museum. Ten of Watanabe's prints are on permanent display in the Vatican Museum of Modern Art. Watanabe also has had shows of his prints in the US, Japan, Brussels, the Netherlands, China, Germany, Denmark, and Indonesia. His work was included into the exhibition of Japanese prints at the Winter Olympics in Sapporo in 1972. Watanabe has won the prizes of the Folk Art Museum, the Japanese Print Association, and other prestigious bodies. He is holder of the coveted prize of the Kokuga sosaku kyokai, the organization that holds the Arts in Spring-Kokuten Exhibition that is such an important event in the world of modern art in Japan.
Porcelain with yellow glaze. Kangxi reign period.
Marble with details painted in black, gold and blue. 19 x 15 inches. This figure, of fine quality, represents a type seen often in Jain art and frequently found in western collections. This image depicts a Jina (victor) that is religious ideal of Jain religion: this is one who is victorious over death, who has achieved spiritual knowledge--similar to the Buddha. They are also known as Tirthankara (Ford Crosser)--that is, one who has crossed to the other side (that is, beyond death). Jains recognize 24 Tirthankaras; the twenty-fourth lived at about the same time as the Buddha and thus was part of same intellectual-spiritual milieu that gave rise to Buddhism. Just as Jains accept many of same principles as Buddhists, the earliest images of Jinas arose in the same time and place as the earliest Budda images. Jinas resemble Buddhas to a great degree: shown in meditation and in yogic posture; Jinas, however, are depicted nude (unlike Buddhas)--'sky clad' being indicative of practice of extreme asceticism. Standing Jinas are always depicted stiffly upright, with unbending posture; in the Jina this distinctive posture communicates the unwavering intent and practice of his austerities, of his spiritual focus.
Five double lines followed by a conclusion and date, dedication and signature. Each line has twelve characters. Written in a running script on light brown paper. Zhang Baoci, zi Jingtang, was from Changshu in Jiangsu province and was known for his calligraphy. Hopefully examples of his work will turn up in other collections. This particular example exhibits a hesitancy in execution and heaviness in line that is not characteristic of the best calligraphy. This may be due to the model that the writer had studied. One thinks of the late Han calligrapher Zhang Zhi, whose work only exits in such copies. If one studied Zhang Zhi, one had to rely on copies made from copies, many times removed from the original. These were not able to transmit the energy of the brush strokes or even the links between strokes.
Possibly a table runner, produced in the late 19th-early 20th century and purchased in the 1950s or 1960s. 23â€ x 86.5â€.