Calligraphy: fourteen uneven lines of running script, alternating between lines of seven or eight characters and those of five characters. The last two lines contain the date and dedication. After this is the four character signature. Detail is of signature and seal. The writer remains unidentified, and the reading of the signature is very tentative. The calligraphy is very well done, using a very controlled running script in which only a few characters are linked.
Woodblock print; ink and colors on paper. Vertical ōban size. Signature: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Scene: Saimyo-ji â€œTokiakiâ€ (monk) and Shiratae (woman: name of joro). Censor seal: Kinugasa; publisher: Ibaya Sensaburo; carver: chōkō Fusajirō [Matsushima Fusajirō]. The artist of this print was one of the most prolific and popular of the late Edo period Ukiyo-e printmakers active in Edo (Tokyo). He specialized in prints of warriors, historical tales, landscapes, and geisha, often, as in this print from a big series, collaborating with other printmakers.
Garden designed by Arthur Shurtleff; originally included a pagoda, bridge, pond and working replica of Mount Fujiyama, of which remnants are preserved. Part of the Lasher estate which formed the southern half of the Fairfield campus in 1942. The Lasher garden is likely a unique element within the Asian Art in the Undergraduate Curriculum project; it lends itself to inclusion in the project not only for this singularity but because it exemplifies fascinating questions and issues. This is a 'Japanese garden' designed by an American landscape architect for an American client in the late 1920s; it is situated adjacent to what was the Lasher house and is now Bellarmine Hall, the location of the President's Office and the Office of Admissions. It included, as the information provided indicates, a 'working' replica of Mt. Fuji--that is, Mr. Lasher could entertain guests by an 'eruption' of the volcano. In the years since the Lashers' residence there and the recent present the garden was neglected to the extent that it is difficult to make out some of its original features. Other elements of the original garden are also lost, decayed, or neglected, but many of its features remain, including footpaths, bridges, lanterns, and of course plantings, and in the last few years plans have been undertaken to restore the garden. The existence of old lantern slides of the garden--which should be considered an important part of the Asian collection, as such objects are artifacts in their own right--permits at least a partial understanding of the original appearance; drawings by the architect (again, this could be considered part of the Asian collection) are also important in this respect. Among those involved in the restoration is a Fairfield resident who is currently a student of architecture at Syracuse. The desire to implement a plan seems to be shared by various constituents around the campus, and while funds are central to how, when and if this will occur, enthusiasm for the project indicates it is likely to be completed. The restored garden could serve faculty, students, administrators, and visitors not only as a pleasant refuge but also as a resource for teaching and learning. As the entrance to Bellarmine is gradually restored and its sense as a grand entrance enhanced, the role of the garden--situated just adjacent to the entrance--can also grow. Furthermore, as the Museum planned for Bellarmine is put in place, the garden will become more prominent, as one will walk along it in order to reach the museum entrance.
Cast bronze with gilding, 20 x 7 inches. Santali refers to tribal groups; sometimes it is used to mean tribes of a certain region, but it is also used generically to reference tribals, that is, indigenous Indian peoples who were never fully assimilated into Hindu India. In this sense, images such as these are relevant to discussions of the caste or varna system of South Asia and the official government policy of reservation for Untouchables, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that formed a part of the Constitution of the Republic of India. This is comparable to what in the US would be called Affirmative Action, but with much more specific initiatives. The notion that there are indigenous peoples of India who are regarded as having inhabited the subcontinent prior to the appearance of the Aryan tribes who brought their Sanskritic traditions can provide provocative possibilities for discussion in a range of disciplines (Religious Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Art History). These are relatively large (Ganesha is over 3 ft. in height; Siva-Kali about 2 feet) and quite handsome pieces which follow more or less standard Hindu iconographic schemes (the Hindu deities Siva, Kali, Ganesha) but in style depart from the styles of sculpture practiced in Hindu states and courts. Thus they lend themselves to discussions of standard Hindu iconography as well as to the nature of tribal traditions in South Asia; they could also generate interesting discussions of 'classical' versus 'tribal' in Asian art: what makes a work' folk' art (that is, its origin, its makers or patrons, its formal qualities?). And how have tribal and classical traditions come to intersect and interact in the last century? While these are designated as 19th century they may in fact be more recent in manufacture.
Excerpts from the Han dynasty stele from Jizhou dealing with Zhang Yuan. Twelve double lines followed by title, date, dedication and signature. Not much information is recorded on Xu Sangeng, and the lack of any mention of an official career means that he must have functioned as a professional artist. Nevertheless, his reputation as a seal carver and his skill in calligraphy would have earned him entry into the higher levels of society. Despite the lacunae on events in his personal life, he was a very well respected artist, especially in the area of seal carving. His reputation extended to Japan, and Japanese artists visited him and sought to study under him. His study of rubbings of monuments from the Han and Six Dynasties periods allowed him to explore the creative moments of early calligraphy, before the styles of Wang Xizhi dominated the calligraphic tradition. He was also aware of other Qing artists, and toward the middle of his career was influenced by Deng Shiru (1743-1805). This fan is a good example of his style. Although the model that he mentions in his title has not been located, the writing exemplifies his style. He plays with endings, pushing and lifting the brush to modulate the line, extending and compacting the structure of characters to find new arrangements of the parts. This is one of the better pieces of calligraphy in the collection.
Wisteria and peony, with two blocks of calligraphy in a very small regular script to right and left. To the right are eight uneven lines followed by a seal; to the left are twelve lines varying from over twenty characters to six or seven in the shorter lines. Following this is a humble statement about the quality of the signature. The juxtaposition of the two spring flowers-wisteria at top and the peony at bottom-is unusual, and the meaning may lie hidden in the inscriptions. Neither artist nor calligrapher has been identified, and this may be intentional, especially if the artist/writer were a woman. Women in traditional culture were supposed to be self-effacing. Nevertheless, the fan is very nicely painted, both in terms of the composition and the technique. The "boneless" technique uses colored washes and no line and is used to effect here. Several other fans in the collection are also done in this manner.
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.
Eleven uneven lines of running script, alternating between lines of seven to eight characters and lines of three characters. After this is a block of smaller characters, seven lines with varying number of characters each. The fourth (raised) contains the dedication and the last line the date and signature. The writer has not been identified. The character di, which I have translated as "younger person," can have several meanings, all indicating a person of lower status. In a strict sense it can mean "younger brother," but it could also mean "follower" "religious follower," or just "person of lower status." The style of the script is close to that of the Song artist Su Shi, mentioned frequently in these fans. A careful translation of the fan may reveal some clues to support or refute this assumption.
Watercolor on paper;4 ft x 2 ft. This painting likely was intended to allude to conventional themes in China: particular birds (and ducks) with their own specific iconography, while the flowering trees allude the seasonal themes. Although the brushwork style here is dramatically different from its predecessors,' bird and flower' paintings, or 'fur and feather' paintings, are a tradition which can be traced back to the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127). Comparing this painting to examples from the Song dynasty and later would provide students with a succinct exercise in understanding developments in Chinese painting, both in terms of continuities and innovation.
Third set of images of women from bound accordion-fold album of 30 woodblock prints with colophon. One half of full series of 50 prints depicting Japanese women of different historical periods highlighting their hairstyles and modes of dress.
Gilt bronze. H: 3 1/2"
Ten different inscriptions copied from Zhou, Qin and Han bronzes, with transciptions into regular script and short comments. Date and signature are at the end at far left.Ye Yanlan was active in the late nineteenth century in the Tongzhi and Guangxu eras (1861-1908), and this date falls neatly into that time. He was a native of Guangdong province, far in the South of China, and further research will have to determine whether he stayed there or had moved north into the Yangtze region. His entry in a dictionary notes his proficiency in all the standard script types, and this fan suggests that he was also a scholar of early epigraphy. This fan illustrates the antiquarian interest many scholars had in epigraphy, especially as it appeared on bronzes that were cast by the aristocracy of the earliest dynasties. At this time in the nineteenth century, the discoveries of the royal burials of the Shang dynasty at Anyang were half a century away, and although traditional histories had record of this dynasty, it was still part myth in Ye's day. For Confucius, the early kings and aristocracy of the Zhou were paragons of filial piety, and deciphering their words as they appeared on their ritual implements carried the same import as that of western scholars who investigate the Dead Sea scrolls and other early fragments of scripture. The inscriptions cover some thousand years, and some, according to Ye, are as late as the Han. In Chinese terms, this calligraphy would be in the category of "Bronze and Stone Writing" (Jinshi wen), as opposed to one of the four major script types seen on most of the fans with calligraphy. Such studies had a long history, going back into the Song dynasty, and this fan is evidence for the continuation of these traditions into the late Qing. Since Ye provides both the antique bronze form and its equivalent in regular script, students could note these comparisons and do research on similar forms in other bronzes.
Acrylic on paper. 69 x 21 4/8 inches (each). The suite of works currently in the library is particularly lyrical in its treatment of color and form. For the most part, there is little to signify that these are Chinese paintings, which is part of what makes the inclusion of these in the project so useful. That is, in the transnational (art) world of the early 20th-century, what makes a work or an artist 'Chinese'? On the other hand, the pair of scolls (untitled in the checklist, but one of these is his Work with Joy, of 1974, which has been exhibited and published) plays off many traditions of Chinese painting, including the lengthy (narrative) handscroll painted on paper and mounted on cloth, even though it is executed in a style growing out of Abstract Expressionism. The mounting of the two scrolls conforms to tradition. Traditionally, such scrolls were kept rolled up, and to be viewed would be 'read' sequentially, unrolling a portion at a time as one viewed the entire work while holding; thus, viewing such a scroll was an intimite encounter with the work. The current display of the scrolls, where they hang, opened, in a tall vertical space, challenges those traditional notions of how such paintings would be viewed.
Strolling scholar accompanied by a servant carrying a qin. This unidentified artist states that he is using the model of Tang Yin (Tang Ziwei), a popular and very famous Ming dynasty calligrapher and painter. There is not way of knowing when the fan was done, but certainly by the late nineteenth-century the image of the scholar in his flowing robes with the servant carrying his qin was as anachronistic to most Chinese as it is to us. There certainly may have been a deep-seated yearning for such an idyllic world, given war, rebellion, and foreign intrusions, but such a life not to be had. The artist was trained in the conservative techniques for landscape and figure, and has not risen above his models.
Seto ware stoneware with cream colored glaze, underglaze iron oxide and cobalt blue. Diameter: 10.75" Potters at Seto kilns near the city of Nagoya operated the most commercially successful pottery industry in pre-modern Japan. In the medieval era, they caterd to elite consumers, producing fine glazed wares for everyday use and for the tea ceremony. By the time this plate was made in the 18th century, Seto potters had turned to the mass production of everyday tableware for commercial establishments and for the households of commoners. The deftly-brushed duck and waves on this plate are characteristic of Seto plate designs. Although a mingei (folk art) product, the fluid drawing reveals the hand of a master decorator.
Ink and colors on cloth. 49" x 71 1/4" (framed). This piece was the subject of a research paper by a student recently. It consists of small panels organized vertically and horizontally with calligraphic script and painted figures representing cosmic principles with symbols.
Small cabinet with paired doors front and back. Inside reveals small cavity sealed in glass containing three small pebbles. Interior of doors painted with lotus blossoms. Gilt, lacquer painted wood, glass, copper, stone; 3â€ x 2â€.
Makara is a mythical water creature with elephant tusk. Gilt bronze. Length: 1.5; height: 2"
Swat Region of Pakistan; chipcarved wood; 34.5â€ x 32.25â€ x 22.5â€
Cast bronze with gilding, 25 x 9.25 inches. Santali refers to tribal groups; sometimes it is used to mean tribes of a certain region, but it is also used generically to reference tribals, that is, indigenous Indian peoples who were never fully assimilated into Hindu India. In this sense, images such as these are relevant to discussions of the caste or varna system of South Asia and the official government policy of reservation for Untouchables, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that formed a part of the Constitution of the Republic of India. This is comparable to what in the US would be called Affirmative Action, but with much more specific initiatives. The notion that there are indigenous peoples of India who are regarded as having inhabited the subcontinent prior to the appearance of the Aryan tribes who brought their Sanskritic traditions can provide provocative possibilities for discussion in a range of disciplines (Religious Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Art History). These are relatively large (Ganesha is over 3 ft. in height; Siva-Kali about 2 feet) and quite handsome pieces which follow more or less standard Hindu iconographic schemes (the Hindu deities Siva, Kali, Ganesha) but in style depart from the styles of sculpture practiced in Hindu states and courts. Thus they lend themselves to discussions of standard Hindu iconography as well as to the nature of tribal traditions in South Asia; they could also generate interesting discussions of 'classical' versus 'tribal' in Asian art: what makes a work 'folk' art (that is, its origin, its makers or patrons, its formal qualities?). And how have these traditions come to intersect and interact in the last century? While these are designated as 19th century they may in fact be more recent in manufacture.
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.
Ninth set of two images of women from bound accordion-fold album of 30 woodblock prints with colophon. One half of full series of 50 prints depicting Japanese women of different historical periods highlighting their hairstyles and modes of dress.
Fourth set of two images of women from bound accordion-fold album of 30 woodblock prints with colophon. One half of full series of 50 prints depicting Japanese women of different historical periods highlighting their hairstyles and modes of dress.