Durga sits with her legs in a half lotus position, crossed in front of her, but not interlaced. She has a narrow waist and rounded pointy breasts with broad shoulders. Her front two hands hold a rosary (also in a reassuring gesture) and a pot. Her other hands fan out around her. Reading clockwise, she carries a wide assortment of weapons, an arrow, sword, feather, club, discus, trident and [?] on her right and conch, bell, noose, trident, club?, shield, bow and a kapala (skull cup). She has large open eyes and a full mouth and nose. She wears jewelry including necklaces and shoulder loops, armlets, bracelets and large floral earrings. Her crown rest atop her head, but there are wing-like elements that fan out behind her ears. She sits on a squared base with stylized lotus petals over simpler moldings.
Durga is a common name for the Goddess. She has a large following in Hinduism and often the title Durga is an umbrella name covering a wide assortment of goddesses. The fact that she has so many arms suggests this collective identity. It relates to stories told in the Devimahatmya, part of a larger work, which tells how the gods could not beat particular demons and it is only when the goddess was created and imbued with the individual powers of all of the gods that the demons could be vanquished. Consequently she holds weapons associated with a number of the gods.
It is a round, openwork iron tsuba, in the design of three interconnected irises. The two holes are plugged with gold.
Tsuba (sword guard) is inserted between a sword handle and blade to protect hands from sharp blades. The center hole is where the sword is placed. The smaller hole is to insert kozuka, an ornamental stick. Irises are popular motifs in Japanese art, for their association with Tale of Ise, classical literature from the Heian period (794-1192).
Cast ceremonial sword. The "fan" shape is indicative of the royal eben type. The general shape may be derived from northern, Sahelian influences. The looped handle is also typical of the eben type.
The eben sword form is highly regular, despite being wielded by many different individuals int he Benin kingdom. The creation and distribution of eben is controlled by the oba (Benin king), andits display signifies fealty to the monarchy. The regularity of the form represents the triumph of the kingdom's political constitution over the lesser forms of social organization.
An masked Noh actor dressed as Empress Jingû is holds a catch of a river trout on a pole. The actor wears a brocade kimono with a floral scroll design, tucked into a stiffly starched pair of brocade trousers. His cloak is a green gauze silk with woven gold phoenix designs.
Empress Jingû is a figure from Japan’s mythological past. Warrior and shaman, her legend reappears frequently in Japanese drama, paintings, and prints. Before leading her troops on an invasion of the "Land of Treasure" (Korea), she conducted many rites to consult the gods about prospects for victory. The catch of a river trout was the first token of divine approval.
This painting depicts the fishing scene as it was reenacted in the Noh drama, the classical and highly stylized dance-drama of Japan. Male performers play both genders, usually with a mask. Costumes for the Noh stage are among the most spectacular ever made: here the actor wears a brocade kimono with a floral scroll design, tucked into a stiffly starched pair of brocade trousers. His cloak is a green gauze silk with woven gold phoenix designs. The costume has no relation to ancient history, but instead reflects contemporary stage wear.
The painting depicts a group of American settlers attempting to defend themselves against attack by a band of Native Americans. A covered wagon pulled by two horses is at the center of the composition; at left, two Native Americans attack the wagon with war clubs and tomahawks; a figure on the lead horse points a pistol directly at the head of one of his attackers, while a figure at the rear of the wagon shoots another attacker. At right other warriors on horseback ride past the train shooting arrows and wielding tomahawks.
“The Attack on an Emigrant Train” was inspired by the writing of Gabriel Ferry, a contemporary French chronicler of the Gold Rush, and depicts a caravan of American pioneer gold-diggers crossing a prairie, defending themselves against attack by a band of Native Americans. Wimar portrays the Native American as a foe who symbolized hostility and was an obstruction in the path of American progress and territorial expansion.
Fragment of circular gaming piece carved in elephant ivory in high relief. Standing male figure wearing knee-length robe holds sword in right hand and stabs inverted beast in the chest. Forelegs of beast end in hooves; head of beast characterized by large eye and pronounced nostril. Left arm of figure and rear half of the beast missing. Border contains zigzag pattern with bead motif.
This fragmentary gaming piece comes from a set that originally included thirty pieces used for playing a game similar to backgammon. Fifteen pieces depicted episodes from the life of the Old Testament hero Samson, who was renowned for his feats of strength. The opposing fifteen pieces, including the one under discussion, contained scenes from the life of another hero famed for his physical prowess, Hercules. Although the subject of this particular piece has not been identified with certainty, the scene perhaps portrays Hercules's Fourth Labor in which he captured the savage Erymanthian boar. The themes of physical struggle and triumph represented here and in the other gaming pieces would have alluded evocatively to the contest of wits being played out on the gameboard.
Circular tsuba, made of iron. It has two holes in the middle. Two figures, Kanzan and Jittoku, are carved on the lower right corner. Kanzan, who holds a scroll on his hand, and Jittoku, who holds a bloom stick and pointing to the sky, are looking upward. The two figures are carved slightly higher than the surface. On the back, there is the moon partially obscured by clouds. Gold and silver alloy inlays are applied to the moon and the clouds. Gold is also inlayed in their eyes, parts of the garments, and Kanzan's scroll. Shakudô (copper-gold alloy) is inlayed in Jittoku's bloom and his jacket collars.
Kanzan and Jittoku are Taoist eccentrics of whom little is known, but they are frequently represented (almost always together) in East Asian arts. Both lived in the monastery of Kuo Ching, spending most of their time in the kitchen, and speaking a gibberish unintelligible to anyone, resenting visitors, and noticing them only with insults. Kanzan holds a scroll, which he expounds to Jittoku, who stands by leaning on his broom. Both have a dwarfed and somewhat boyish appearance, but Kanzan's face is furrowed by age. (Reference: Edmunds, Will H. Pointers and Clues to the Subjects of Chinese and Japanese Art).
Inscribed in plate in image, LC below statue: "Omnium elegantissimum Herculis signum Gliconis Atheniensis peritissimi artificis manu fabre factu[m], Quod Paulo iij Pont. max[im]o. in/ thermarum antoninianar[um] ruderibus inuentum et in domus Farnesianë ad campum Florë interiori porticu locatum Ant. Lafrerius/ Sequanus aeneis formis diligenter expressit Anno [M] D LXII" (See object file for more accurate transcription.) Inscribed in plate, LR corner of pedestal, top face: "Jacobus Bossius Belga incidit" Inscribed in plate, on rock in image, in Greek (See object file for transcription.) Watermark: crossed arrows surmounted by star; somewhat similar to Briquet 6291, 6298, 6299, 6300.
This engraving reproduces a colossal marble sculpture of Hercules leaning upon his club, which is draped with a lion skin. Bos carefully records the powerful musculature of the figure and sets the statue within a niche.
The engraving reproduces a statue that is itself a copy from the 3rd century CE of an original from the 4th century BCE. The monumental sculpture was unearthed in Rome in the 1540s, and quickly became one of the most famous and influential of all ancient sculptures. The statue was purchased soon after its discovery by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and displayed in the family's residence in Rome, the Farnese Palace, until the late eighteenth century.
This 6-fold screen is a depiction of the Battle of Genji and Heike. In samurai armor, the Heike forces approach by ship from the left, while Genji forces rush to the shore on horseback and on foot—drawing the viewer’s attention to the center of the screens, where their confrontation will finally take place. The Heike forces can be identified by the red banners on their ships, while the Genji clan carries white banners.
The most renowned battle in Japan took place in the twelfth century over control of the Heian (794-1185) capitol of Kyoto. This legendary tale was spread by itinerant monks who sang of the drama while playing the biwa, a stringed instrument much like a lute, as they travelled Japan. The details of the struggles for power between the Heike (also known as Taira) and Genji (also known as Minamoto) clans were recorded in what came to be known as the Heike Monogatari (Tale of Heike) over the following centuries. Along with the Tale of Genji, the Heike Monogatari is one of the most famous stories in all of Japan.
Vishnu stands with his legs apart holding his four attributes in his hands. Reading in clockwise direction from his right front hand he holds: his club, discus, conch and lotus, here a rather flat object cupped in his palm. His back two arms are extremely short. The figure is encircled with a decorated arch with a line of beads and triangular shaped openings around them. A stylized sun and moon are to either side of Vishnu’s head. He wears a variety of simple, lumpy jewelry at his feet are a horse to his right and a bull or cow to his left and between them are three rings lying flat on the base. At the front of the base are seven stylized horses, identifying this as a combination figure: Vishnu and the sun god Surya, whose chariot is pulled by seven horses.
Vishnu is one of the principal gods of Hinduism, along with Shiva and the goddess, and commands a large following. He is often depicted with four arms and consistently carries four attributes: the discus, conch, club and lotus. The addition of the seven horses at the base lets us know that this is a combination of the god Vishnu and the sun god Surya. This is a common combination in iconographies that try to link many of the older nature gods with the fully developed pantheon of Hinduism.
A human face in anguish, with hands raised to his cheeks, looks out from the center of a visual field full of slashing diagonals and explosive triangles of color. On the left side, smoke billows.
Otto Dix's "Artillery Battle" is a study in the horrible experience of mechanized warfare in World War I. The painting depicts how it felt to be powerless, completely at the mercy of the mighty machines of war, like artillery.