The cicada is admired for its ability to sing. It is also associated with eternal youth as it lives longer than any other insect. The willow branch is associated with feminine grace and romance. The two have been paired in Chinese romantic poetry since ancient times.
This painting depicts a solitary bird perched on a tropical banana plant. There are inscriptions and signature of the artist on the upper left-hand corner: "A farewell gift for Mr. Katsuizumi, as he goes south. Baishi."
In 1922, a friend persuaded Baishi to submit paintings to a Sino-Japanese art exhibition in Japan. It was a spectacular success: his paintings sold for far higher prices than he had been earning in China and several were chosen for an exhibition in Paris, which led to international fame. The Japanese remained some of Baishi’s most eager customers, although he increasingly refused their requests after Japanese incursions into China in the early 1930s.
However, this painting was a gift for the artist's Japanese friend. The artist inscription indicates that it was a farewell gift for his Japanese friend Katsuizumi Sotokichi when he left Beijing for a more southerly post.
It perhaps anticipates that Katsuizumi would be lonely in his new environment. Made in probably the 1920s, it quietly bears witness to an earlier and more congenial phase in Chinese-Japanese relations.
A medium size, shallow bowl with a semi-circular cut out on the rim. The bowl has flat surface on the rim and is concaved in the middle like a soup bowl. It has two holes on the opposite side of the cut out and a short foot. There is a blue band around the rim. There are two long-tailed birds in red, pale orange and yellow, perched on a blue pine tree which grows underneath the birds. Behind the pine tree trunk, there is a cherry tree in full blossom, its brunches extends in circle around the rim. The cherry tree and blossoms are in red, pale orange and yellow. More cherry flowers adorn the background of the birds. There are also red peonies on the left side of the pine tree; peony flowers also appear as spray on the four sides of the rim, backed by blue cloud design.
Combination of birds and flowers is popular motif called “bird-and-flower” painting in East Asian cultures. The two birds and cherry blossoms suggest that this is a spring scene. The cut out is where a person places his neck, and the two holes opposite the neck recess are used to string the cord around the neck during shaving. Pewter and silver shaving basins were common toilet articles in mid 17th century Europe and were ordered by the Dutch East India Company as early as 1662. (Reference: Imari: Japanese Porcelain for European Palaces from the Freda and Ralph Lupin Collection)
It is a pink silk crepe kimono with wax-resist patterns, hand-painted design and metallic threads embroidery. The kimono is in full length and has elongated sleeves. The fabric is dyed with pink, leaving the family crest under the collar and the floral design part white. The red scale pattern is added using wax-resist technique. Then the design of multiple kinds of plants is hand-painted with white, red, yellow, and pale and blue green colors. There are mix of fall and winter flowers and trees: nandin on the left sleeve, plum, chrysanthemums, thistles, amaranths, camellias and narcissus on the front and back, makino (Chloranthus glaber, with red berries) and more camellias on the right sleeve. Embroidery is added in various metallic threads around the contours of flowers and leaves.
Flowers and trees represented in this kimono are traditionally considered fall and winter plants. The kimono is designed to be worn in these seasons. The “winter” plants such as nandin, camellias, narcissus, and plums are auspicious symbols; it is possible that this kimono was originally made for the New Year celebration.
A banana plant is shown with long and lush leaves. Behind it is a rock with grass growing from it. Three birds rest on the rock and the leaves of the banana tree. On the right-hand top lies the calligraphic inscription wrtten by the artist, along with his signature and seals.
Incense container in the shape of a plum blossom. The container consists of two halves opening horizontally, with the top of the container being very textured with a pattern of ridges. The container is bi-colored, with a whitish gray and reddish orange coloring.
This is an incense container in the design of a plum (ume) bloosom. The artist, Koyama Kyoko, struggled as a female potter in a trade dominated by male artists. She received recognition when she discovered a way to revive the forgotten techinique of natural ash glazes, which are commonly used in her work.
This is a color woodblock print of a courtesan and her two attendants. They are walking toward the left. The courtesan wears red and brown kimono with geometric designs and a pink cloak with plum tree and cloud design. Her green obi (sash), tied in front, has peacock feather and geometric patterns. Her hair is sculpted in the shape of “lantern” style, with the broad wings to the side of the head. Three large tortoise-shell comb and four pins adorn the hair. The two young attendants wear matching clothes and hair accessories; their kimono design has the same plum and cloud patterns as the courtesan but in brownish colors. Their obi is in green color with wavy stripes, loosely tied on their backs. They also have tortoise shell combs, hairpins, and ornaments in the shape of pine leaves. One attendant is looking at a ground, and other attendant toward the right. All three wear high platform sandals. There are artist’s signature and publisher’s seal on the lower left corner, as well as the title on the upper right corner.
Traditionally the famous beauties of the Yoshiwara entertainment quarter in Edo would parade under the cherry blossoms every spring in the newest fashions. Here we are shown the reigning courtesan of the Chôjiya house, Karauta, accompanied by two young attendants, Matsuno and Takeno, in matching costumes. Note the new "lantern" hairstyle, with the broad wings to the side of the head. This print serves as an advertisement for the attractions of the Chôjiya tea house— and quite possibly for the shop that provided the costumes as well. Print designers often worked as textile designers on the side, and images such as these would appeal to women as the equivalent of the latest issue of Vogue.
(Adopted from M. Graybill, "Courtesans, Cross-Dressers, and the Girl Next Door Images of the Feminine in Japanese Popular Prints" 3/9 - 9/1/02)
A medium size, well potted jar with round shoulder and shorter neck. Inside is not totally glazed. On the body, pine, bamboo, and plum trees are finely painted with blue underglaze. Then a translucent glaze is applied, which turns into milky, white color. It has three floral decorations on the shoulder; the decoration is originated in functional elements of “ears” to which ropes were tied for transportation. The neck has a band of double lines and spray design of peony flowers and leaves. The rim of the neck is unglazed. The foot is unglazed; eye is glazed. Some imperfections of glaze are seen toward the bottom. Glaze is scraped off on one part. Many speckles on the surface.
The three plants depicted here, pine, bamboo, and plum, are called “three friends in winter,” and have been depicted in many forms of Japanese decorative arts throughout its history. They symbolize long life and cultured gentlemen.
Signed and inscribed: People ask how to paint the blossoms. I say, what the ancient painters try to avoid, you follow, then you are not like ordinary people. To have no method is actually to have method. Pai-shih Mountain-hermit wrote. Upper Seal: ? Lowe Seal: Pai-shih
A black crow is seated on a plum branch above calligraphic text and cascades of open blossoms.
The subject of plum blossoms had long been a favorite among scholar-painters. Because they bloom in the very late winter, plum blossoms are likened to the scholar who thrives in adverse environments. Plum blossoms also offered the sheer formal beauty of contrast between the thrusting, angular branches and the delicate, rounded blossoms.
This is a portrait of a courtesan and her two attendants. The courtesan wears a red cloak with a peacock flying over peonies and a pale green color kimono with “shippô” (seven treasures) pattern. Her green obi, tied in the front, has design of red and blue clouds with gold plants. She is turning away from a viewer to show the gorgeous cloak. Her hair is sculpted in a butterfly shape on the top and has wings to the side. Tortoise-shell combs and multiple hairpins adorn the hair. Her two attendants flank the courtesan; they wear matching, dark green kimono with chrysanthemum flower design and red underkimono. Their kimono have especially long sleeves (furisode), whose openings are tied with ribbons. Their obi are in brocade and tied on their backs. Their hair is sculpted in round shape on their tops and has side wings like the courtesan. They wear silver hair accessories of cherry blossoms and tassels, long hairpins and red silk ribbons. The attendant on the left holds a battledore pad and the right attendant holds a ball. All the women wear black platform sandals. There is a cherry tree in full blossom on the right, from which some petals fall on the women and the ground. There are the artist’s signature and seal on the lower right corner. It has mounting of beige silk and two strips of floral pattern brocade on the top and bottom of the painting.
Traditionally the famous beauties of the Yoshiwara entertainment quarter in Edo would parade under the cherry blossoms every spring in the newest fashions. Here we see an unknown courtesan (but probably one of the top courtesans at the time) accompanied by two young attendants in matching costumes. The battledore pad and ball were originally used in courtly games (the ball is for kicking), but here they are perhaps attributes to the elegance that the courtesan evokes.
Black silk damask with interwoven paulownia pattern; plum blossoms embroidered in solver, gold, and gunmetal gray metallic threads, and persimmon, brown, and black silk threads.
Nagoya obi were first produced at the end of the Taisho era, and are simpler than the more formal fukuro and maru obi. A portion of Nagoya obi fabric is folded and stitched in half, making it easier to tie. This is possibly a 1930s fukuro obi resewn into Nagoya style in 1970s.
This is a pink silk crepe kimono with wax-resist patterns, hand-painted design and metallic threads embroidery. The kimono is in full length and has elongated sleeves. The fabric is dyed with pink, leaving the family crest under the collar and the floral design part white. The red scale pattern is added using wax-resist technique. Then the design of multiple kinds of plants is hand-painted with white, red, yellow, and pale and blue green colors. There are mix of fall and winter flowers and trees: nandin on the left sleeve, plum, chrysanthemums, thistles, amaranths, camellias and narcissus on the front and back, makino (Chloranthus glaber, with red berries) and more camellias on the right sleeve. Embroidery is added in various metallic threads around the contours of flowers and leaves.
In this exuberant kimono, Minagawa Gekka took great advantage of the wide, flat surface of the kimono, effectively treating it as a canvas on which to depict flowers blooming in profusion. There are mix of fall flowers, winter flowers and trees: nandin on the left sleeve, plum, chrysanthemums, thistles, amaranths, camellias and narcissus on the front and back, makino (Chloranthus glaber, with red berries) and more camellias on the right sleeve. Due to the sheer profusion of auspicious winter flowers, it is possible that this kimono was commissioned for a New Year’s celebration.
It is a round, stoneware plate. Clay is red covered with mottled grayish glaze and painted with underglaze iron and white slip. Imperfection of clay was resulted in occasional bumps on surface. Six spur marks are visible on the bottom. Slab is roughly cut (deliberately); the plate is in slightly convex shape. Artist’s seal with underglaze iron appears on the bottom.
The plum tree has white blossoms. The plate is intended for serving sweets or food in tea ceremony.
A colored image depicting a woman lounging in her chambers. She wears a kimono of red and blue with an artistic stylized pattern. Outside is a cherry tree blooming and the woman's young attendant in a grey kimono.
An elegantly-dressed courtesan reclining in her chambers and turning her head to listen as her attendant is leaning over the veranda to speak to her. The courtesan is comparible to the cherry tree outside her quarters, both being at the height of their beauty.
This is a brown ink and wash drawing on a light background that depicts an expansive landscape with three figures in a row in the center area. The foreground shows a rocky, mountainous area with the figures standing on a ledge and square-shaped buildings, or walls, on a rise to the right. One figure is an old man with long white hair and a beard, who is wearing a draped robe and holding a staff. A woman is walking behind him on the path and balancing a vessel on her head. Another woman, behind her, has her arms at her side and looks downward. In the middle and far section of the drawing there is a walled city being destroyed with violent flooding of the city gates and eathquake-like destruction of the buildings. Far down the path a lone woman raises her hands in a gesture of distress. There are turbulent cloud formations in the sky.
This drawing depicts the story of Lot and his daughters fleeing the city of Sodom, as told in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible. The UMMA drawing was one of 72 sepia drawings that Martin contributed that were made into wood engravings and included in "Illustrations of the Bible", 1831-1835.