square ding (ting) tripod with four legs, the body as well as the upper portion of the four legs is decorated with "t'ao-t'ieh" zoomorphic design. One of the leg was recast after the rest of the body has been completed, thus had a less refined craftmanship and joint line at its base. The double loop handles are also decorated with zoomorphic design. A group of three inscription is cast on the upper portion of the interior wall, which reads as Fu (father) Ji (day name), followed by an symbolic representation of a chariot, possibly a clan emblem. The interior is plain, the animal bone remains attached to the bottom and variations in patina patterns with a line running through the middle indicates that the vessel was once filled with cooked meat offerings, presumably in a Shang elite burial in late second millennium B.C.E.
known as the ding tripod for cooking and presentation of food, usually animal meat, in ancestral rituals of early China. The narrow upper register of the body of the vessel is decorated with Kui dragons, face-to-face around the top. The dragons have open mouths, long thin bodies that end in curled tails. The body of the vessel is decorated with tao-tie masks with staring eyes and above which are broad, curving horns. The nose is formed by the raised flanges that divide each mask in half. At the bottom is the open, hook-like jaws. The upper sections of the legs and the two loop handles are also decorated with zoomorphic designs of masks and dragons.
The large white bowl is round with a wide rim and a narrow bottom; almost like an up-side-down cone shape. Diamond patterns are stamped around the middle of the body. It has no foot. The rim is slightly warped.
This graphite drawing depicts a full-length portrait of a young boy sitting on a loosely described ledge and resting his feet on a rock. The figure holds a circular pot or basket in his lap. There is some slight shading throughout the image but otherwise it is quite loosely sketched in outline.
An angular bottle executed in two tones of white stands tall just to the (viewer's) right of center. To its left is a stack of gray drinking cups. Irregular blocks of various sizes and colors make up the rest of the field.
A Cubist still life, depicting a bottle and drinking cups. The perspective is mildly fragmented and, through the use of the blocks of color as well as the blocky objects, the space is flattened into discrete planes.
A rounded bowl, its lower two-thirds carved as a lotus blossom centered on the foot of the bowl, with two bands of double incised lines around the rim area. The pale yellow-brown glaze is worn in some areas. Five spur marks inside.
Vertically oriented. Ink on silk with silk edging. Three figures at a stream in a wooded area.
The two gentlemen seated beneath the tall pines are the famous Tang dynasty (618–907) tea connoisseur Lu Yu (? – 804) and his guest relaxing on lush grass under pine trees. Nearby, a young attendant dips a jug into the clear stream to fetch water for brewing tea. The environment depicted in this painting—the distant mountains, beautiful trees, green, soft grass, and a surging creek—altogether offers the viewer a sense of utopia.
This painting, attributed to the professional painter Zhou Chen of Suzhou, elegantly illustrates the popularity of tea drinking in sixteenth-century China. This painting is like an allusion to a poem on tea drinking by Xu Chao (? – 1211), a Southern Sung dynasty (1127–1278) poet:
Sweeping the ground and relaxing in the cool cleaning, the sun shines gently through the pines.
In order to abate my fatigue, tea is brewed from the fresh water in the rocky spring.
This is an unglazed stoneware bizen jar fired in a wood-burning kiln.
It has a hard, smooth surface with decorative incisions near the top of the jar. The lower portion has effect of color gradation of reds and browns. The lid seems to dip into the jar, and has a know handle. The entire piece is not perfectly formed, but has an organic aesthetic.
The Bizen kilns have been in operation since the sixth century, but by early modern times, they were in steep decline. Kaneshige Tôyô single-handedly led a revival of Momoyama wares. His work can be remarkably faithful to Momoyama prototypes, as in this water jar, or subtly modern. A water jar like this would have been used for tea ceremony.
For his accomplishments in restoring Bizen ware to its long-lost fame, Kaneshige was named a "Living National Treasure" by the Japanese government.
This work is a depiction of haniwa, clay figures used as tomb burial objects during the Kôfun Period (250–338 CE) that have come to be emblematic of Japanese art and cultural traditions.
Though initially simple clay cylinders, in the fourth century haniwa began to be shaped as warriors, female shrine attendants, everyday objects, and animals. In Saitô’s presentation these traditional figures are pared down to their essential shapes, their basic geometric components emphasized with blocks of patterns and colors reminiscent of Cubism. Dusted with malachite, Saitô’s prints of haniwa glitter in the light, evoking the dynamism of these occasionally playful clay sculptures.
Saitô Kiyoshi (1907–1997) was a member of the Creative Print (sôsaku hanga) movement, a group of artists dedicated to bringing individualism, experimentation, and autonomy to Japan’s centuries old ukiyo-e tradition. One of the most well-known forms of Japanese art, ukiyo-e is a type of woodblock print that first appeared in the mid- to late Edo period (1615–1868). Cheap to produce, widely available, and very popular in the late eighteenth century, by the early twentieth century when Saitô was working demand for woodblock prints in Japan was waning. Historically the production of ukiyo-e was dominated by giant publisher-controlled studios where the labor was divided and no single artist was responsible for creating an entire work. The Creative Print movement aimed to topple these traditions by bringing control of the woodblock print process into the hands of the individual artist.
In the past even famous ukiyo-e artists like Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) were responsible only for the initial steps of the process. The artist would draw a design that would be handed off to the carver, who cut around the lines, creating a separate block for each color of the print. Finally, the printer placed paper on top of an inked block and rubbed it with a special pad made of bamboo fibers. Creative Print artists performed each of these steps themselves, seeing a print through from start to finish. This essential difference emphasized the artist as a talented individual and distanced the modern woodblock print from what was seen by many Japanese as its plebian origins. Saitô was a distinguished printmaker, whose success in the international art world helped bring the Creative Print movement to prominence and raised the status of the modern print in Japan.