A portable painting done in ink and gouache on loose-weave, primed cotton, surround by two strips of fabric. This painting has suffered greatly from water damage, running the pigments together.
A portrait of a lama (teacher), dressed in red and monk's robes and a red pandita (scholar's) hat, in confrontation with a blue-faced, three-eyed demon. The lama may be tentatively identified as the early 14th-century master Yungdron Dorje Pal. He is shown here holding a 'kila' dagger in his right hand, while he extends his right hand to offer a skull cup to the blue demon.
Three monks in red robes, two of whom wear folded pandita hats, look on the scene from the lower left corner; in the lower right-hand corner, the blue-skinned dharmapala Mahakala tramples a prone figure. To the viewer's upper left is a meditation deity, a yab-yum pair with flame-red skin. At the upper right, a monk-scholar sits calmly within a blue orb, reading from a text.
Other paintings with this same composition are illustated on http://wwe.himalayanart.org, as follows:
• Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, acc. #F1997.9.1. A
• Erie Art Museum (accession number not given), also in very poor condition
Two male figures wearing official robes and hats, sit side by side on thrones. The one on the right holds a shoe-shaped ingot and a scepter. The god on the left holds only a shoe-shaped ingot. In front of them is basin filled with coins and rarities such as jewels, branches of coral and shining ingots. On the right, a smaller male figure holds a horse on a tray while his counter part on the left holds a brush and a scroll. At the top is a sinuous dragon whose spine is composed of coins and above him is a horse bearing a stack of shoe-shaped ingots.
Two Gods of Wealth, wearing official robes and hats, sit side by side. The one on the right holds a shoe-shaped ingot and a scepter known as a “juyi” (everything as you wish). The god on the left holds only a shoe-shaped ingot. In front of them is the never-empty treasure basin filled with coins and rarities such as gleaming round jewels, branches of coral and shining ingots. On the right, a foreigner, identifiable by his curly beard, large eyes and peaked hat, brings in wealth in the form of a magic horse on a tray; his counter part on the left is an official holding a brush and a scroll. Symbols of wealth fill the picture. At the top is a sinuous dragon whose spine is composed of coins and above him is a horse bearing a stack of shoe-shaped ingots. The horse was the fastest mode of transportation in traditional China; here he gallops to bring in money.
Male figured seated on high-backed stool with hands resting on abdomen; symmetrical scarification patterns on cheeks and temples, also down center of forehead and at base of the nose. Coiffure is high crested and segmented. Figure wears sandals and necklace or amulet around neck. Figure has sheen to patina, pigmented deep brown in contrast to stool. Figure has bore hole in back between buttocks.
Baule men and women have figures like this carved for their “other-world” or spirit spouses in order to please them and ensure they will bring health and good fortune. Above all, spirits require these figures to be beautiful. The spirit determines how he/she should look by revealing him/herself in a dream, either to his/her human spouse, a diviner, or the figure’s carver. This figure’s scarification patterns, placid countenance, coiffure, long neck and robust calves are features of ideal beauty in Baule eyes.
A crowd gathers in the side chapel of a church around a group of seated figures and an infant. A man with a long flowing beard sits and holds the infant in his hands above a plate, while another man leans forward in his chair and peers through his spectacles at the child as he performs a circumcision. A plaque with the artist's initials, "HG," lies on the floor in the foreground.
This masterful engraving depicts the circumcision of the infant Christ, who is held by a priest at the center of the gathered crowd. The Virgin Mary and Joseph stand at the front of the group of onlookers immediately behind the seated figures and gaze intently upon the child.
Wood-carved, standing figure with knees slightly flexed, prominent gentalia, naturalistic face, pointed beard and eyes inset with a white material, probably small ceramic fragments. The feet are missing. It wears a metal ring around its neck, and a string with metal fragments, glass beads and a small metal bell is attached across its chest, from arm to arm. A vertical crack on the front right side of the figure is filled with a gauzy material.
This well-worn figure may have started its life as a mukuya--a figure commemorating a clan ancestor--and was later converted into an nkisi, or power figure. Such repurposing of an important ritual object was not uncommon in the wider Bakongo region, where ritual specialists used figures like this one to invoke the power of ancestors as well as other spiritual forces to intercede in human affairs.
Varahi has a crowned boar’s head on a woman’s body. She sits with her ankles crosses and originally had four arms, the back two have broken away as has the front right hand which had probably been held up in a reassuring gesture. Her left from hand is held down at her left knee with the palm held facing out in a gesture of giving. Her body is softly modeled with a narrow waist and full breasts. She wears jewelry that is in sharp but low relief and includes a series of necklaces forming a collar of decoration and a longer one that falls between her breasts which suggests the sacred thread extending down to her waist at her right. She is naked from the waist up and the lower garment is merely suggested by the heavier folds at the waist. Her head is tilted and her chin/snout had jutted out to the left, but the lower snout is broken away. She wears a conical crown that accents the long diagonal of her face. Originally there was an arch behind the image which would have supported her back arms, so the image would have appeared denser, with only the cut away empty space to the sides of her waist.
This image was discovered in 1926 by the French archaeologist Gabriel Jouveau-Debreuil in Kancipuram, an area about 70 km southwest of Chennai (Madras), along with a large group of other sculptures of goddesses and one image of Siva. Varahi is one of the Saptamâtrikâ, or "seven mothers"—mothers of the principal gods of the Hindu pantheon. Several other, larger images goddesses at the site have been identified as Yoginis, or tantric goddesses. Companion images from the series are now distributed among major museums of the world, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Musee Guimet, and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
One of the set of goddesses often grouped into the Saptamatrika, the Seven Mothers, Varahi is the female counterpart to Varaha, the boar-headed incarnation of Vishnu. In Hindu mythology, the Seven Mothers are extremely powerful and as a group represent the power of all of the gods. The female principal is the active one in Hinduism and the Mothers as a group can destroy demons and protect against diseases.
Ganesha is shown here seated on a double lotus throne, in a royal posture with the soles of his feet together. He has four arms, and holds two of his attributes in the rear pair: an ax and a rosary. His trunk curls down across his rotund belly to reach for a bowl of sweets that rests in his left forward arm. The cobra slung across his shoulder, now hard to make out because of the centuries of wear of the stone, indicates Ganesha's lineage as the son of the Shiva, in his aspect as the great ascetic. Almost 27 inches high, this sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesha is carved of andesite, a volcanic stone common to the island of Java in Indonesia. Andesite is a soft stone and erodes easily, which is why the carving is no longer crisp.
Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu deity who removes obstacles.
Pot-bellied Ganesha, with his elephant head and curved trunk, is perhaps the most endearing and gentle of the Hindu gods. The elder son of Shiva and Parvati, he is famed for removing obstacles; as such, he is worshipped at the start of any new venture. Scribes, for instance, will inscribe Ganesha’s name before writing anything else, as will students beginning an exam. His presence is also invoked at the onset of religious rituals. Sculptures of the plump god are typically located near the entrance to Hindu temples so that they are among the first encountered in the act of circumambulation. Also, when sweets are prepared for a festival day, the very first portion will be set aside in his name. This stone sculpture from eastern Java suggests that the treats do not go to waste: Ganesha’s trunk drops directly into a bowl of snacks that rests in his left hand.
Life-sized seated female figure holding a child. Face has rouneded, high forehead, ovoid eyes, flat, rectangular nose and protruding, open ovoid mouth. Pogmented, bilateral scarification patterns of forehead, temples and jowels, at back of neck. Scarification also on upper arms and breast. Pigmented coiffure is elaborate with triangular and dome-like shapes. Necklace and hoop-like ring carved in relief onto neck and shoulders; figure has protruding navel, wears anklets and armlet at elbow, and holds a baby suckling at left breast.
The Urhobo carved life-szed figures to commemorate the edjo--spiritual forces that pervade the natural world and embody a community’s founding ancestors. Every Urhobo community had its own edjjo installed in a small shrine house that was maintained by the town’s spiritual leaders. These shrine houses were darkened to keep the figure hidden from view for all all but a few days a year, when large festivals were organized in its honor. Shrine figures could be installed in pairs of male and female, which together manifested the martial power and fecundity of the spirits. These figures embody a classic tension in Urhobo aesthetics--fthey are fearsome to humans, but beautiful to the spirits.