Digambara Jain manuscript page: Jina venerated by a community of laymen
Artist Unknown, India, Sirohi School
Eight worshippers sit to the right of a sky-clad (nude) Jina and monk. They each raise beads in their hands. Below them a struggle is depicted. Two men in shorts wrestle, while a snake, tiger, and elephant rera up beside a fire.
A ten-armed figure sits with her legs tucked under her on a tiger with a long uplifted tail. The figure is incised onto the copper plate with a chisel. One set of arms are crossed across her chest, while all but six hands hold weapons. A crossed spear and trident form an X behind the figure. She has wide bracelets at each of her wrists and wears elaborate circular earrings and nose ring with a three partite crown. Two lines in devanagari script are above the figure.
Figures from Chinese History: Zhang Tianqi Calling in the Cranes
Paper mounted on aqua silk. There are two figures present, and a large crane (bird). The central figure, Zhang Tiangi, has his arms uplifted, while a less important figure is depicted with his back to the viewer and is slightly hunched over. There is a crane with a red crown behind these two figures. The colors are muted. There is calligraphy in the upper left hand corner of the painting, complete with two red seals.
Shaving bowl with design of long-tail bird and flowers
Artist Unknown, Imari ware, Japan
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.
Object Creation Date
mid 17th century
Medium and Support
Porcelain, blue underglaze, and enamel overglaze painting
This small porcelain sculpture represents a gaunt, sinewy bearded figure, who is naked except for a loincloth. With his right knee wedged in a stump, his torso contracts with an inner tension as he pounds his chest with stones in an act of penitence. At his feet sits a lion.
The animals are presented in zodiac sequence, from right to left: mouse, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, serpent, horse, goat, monkey, chicken, dog, and boar. The eight-fold screen allows the animals to seem to walk across the space. Negative space plays a significant role in the screen, creating a place for the animals to exist and at the same time extending into the room.
Artist Life Dates
Object Creation Date
Medium and Support
one of a pair of six-fold screens, ink and color on silk
Maru obi with woven designs of hexagonal medallions with phoenixes among floral scrolls
Black pain-weave satin interwoven with silk threads in light purple, rust, coral, maize, chartreuse, red, white, and ultramarine, and metallic threads in three shades of gold. The hexagonal shapes are definied by a weft of gold-coated paper (kinran) in pale greenish gold; the gold threads used in the medallions are wrapped. Inside each medallion is a phoenix design among a floral scroll.
Object Creation Date
mid 20th century
Medium and Support
Black silk interwoven with silk floss and gold-covered paper threads
The print shows a drawing of the head of an animal. Below it, "I have the right to believe freely to be a slave to no mans authority If this be heresy so be it It is still the truth to go against conscience is neither right nor safe I cannot... will not... recant Here I stand No man can command my conscience," is written.
Jaina altar piece of the 24 [Caturvimsati] Jinas: with standing nude figure of Mahavira cast in the round occupying central area of base, flanked by small tirthankaras; incsribed but unread. From Mysore, Karnataka.
Mirror with animal motifs and eight-character inscription
Artist Unknown, China
bronze mirrorr with two columns of auspicious inscriptions for career promotion and healthy offsprings in eight characters separated by the central knob, which is, in turn, surrounded by stylized mystical animal motif on both side.
This laquer comb chest with mother-of-pearl inlays has images of phoenixes and their babies, and deer on the top drawer, and tortoises and mandarin ducks on the bottom drawer, each in a pair. The handles are in the shape of bats.
This small bust-length figure represents a mustached satyr turning his head toward his left. He wears an animal skin tied at his right shoulder over his bare chest. The liquid character of the cast bronze admirably captures the rippling muscles of the satyr's chest and the flowing curls of his hair and the animal pelt.
A monkey climbs up a tree, grasping at the branches with his hands and feet. The image uses soft colors, and the monkey almost appears to be leaning or falling away from the tree. The top right corner appears gray.
In this monumental scroll, Nukina Kaioku has brushed a Chinese poem of his own composition, on the enduring theme of nature as refreshment for the spirit. Note his masterful variation of thick and thin strokes, wet and dry ink, stately and rapid movement.
The verses may be tentatively rendered into English as follows:
Mandarin ducks enjoy the fresh water; their graceful forms glow as they pass through channels in the reeds.
Pushing beyond the thickets [to the open pond], they call to one another again and again in the dawn.
A crimson mist breaks through gaps in the glade, its glow warming hidden nests.
Waking up with nothing to do, [I came here] to playfully row among the spring waves.
Ewer in the shape of a melon with inlaid floral and butterfly designs
Artist Unknown, Korea
It is in the shape of a sectioned melon. The body is vertically divided into ten sections and to create an embossed effect, the grooves between each two sections were pressed down slightly. The lid has a loop attached at the top. It is decorated on all sides with black and white inlaid design of butterfly, chrysanthemum and peony with stem and foliage. The spout and handle was broken and restored. The lid seems to be fake.
This print consists of nuetral, muted colors and abstract designs primarily of dots and circles. The print is designed to look as if thin cracks run through the image, and a lady bug is almost imperceptible near the bottom left of the image. The bottom edge of the print has a dark strip running across it.
Artist Unknown, African, Guro Peoples Côte D'Ivoire
Face mask with stylized face and horns of an antelope and open jaws of a leopard. Forehead has three sets of scarifcation marks in relief; hairline is incised with pigmented linear and geometric patterns; striped horns curve naturally from top of head; eyes are set in ovoid grounds of white kaolin; top of snout shows incised V-shaped marks; mask is predominantly brown with traces of green, red and yellow pigment; chew stick in back shows some wear.
In an ominous landscape a crowd of nude men, women and children, their bodies silhouetted against the descending gloom, struggle frantically to escape rising floodwaters. The figures gesture wildly and strenuously twist their long athletic bodies into a seemingly infinite variety of contortions as they clamber up the last hilltops and trees. A city stands on a hill and appears through the trees in the background.
Râmâyana manuscript page: Rama kills the deer (folio no. 31)
India, Central India, Malwa School
The artist has captured the story of the deer hunt with the fewest possible elements, in a way that is instantly recognizable and yet takes liberties with the classical tale. The forest is represented by two trees and a few sprays of foliage; the deer is a mundane gray, not magical gold; and Sita waits anxiously in a white marble pavilion, rather than a thatched hut. The vibrantly colored backgrounds divide the composition into zones that create mood and organize the narrative.