14.29 cm x 41.91 cm x 33.18 cm (5 5/8 in. x 16 1/2 in. x 13 1/16 in.)
Lacquer ware box with mother-of-pearl inlay decoration combining geometric patterns, flowers, dragons, and scepters.
A ryôshi-bako or document box holds important documents,
letters, or even writing utensils such as paper, brushes, and ink.
Gallery Rotations Fall 2012
Japan, Edo period
Black lacquer and abalone shell inlay on wood
Transfer from the College of Architecture and Design, 1972/2.108
A ryôshi-bako or document box holds important documents,
letters, or even writing utensils such as paper, brushes, and ink. The surface of this box is densely decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay decoration combining geometric patterns, flowers, dragons, and scepters. Since dragons are a Buddhist symbol of enlightenment and scepters are used in Buddhist rituals, it is
likely that this box once belonged to a Buddhist institution. Mother-of-pearl inlays also are frequently used in a Buddhist context in both Japan and Korea.
Lacquer ware from Japan and the Ryûkyû Islands
Lacquer, made from the sap of a type of of sumac (Rhus vernicifera), requires both skill and patience to apply. On a base material, usually wood, a thin layer is brushed on and allowed to dry completely before being polished with charcoal sticks; this process is repeated multiple times until a hard, smooth surface is achieved. Lacquer is not just aesthetically pleasing; it serves to protect and waterproof wood.
Lacquer ware and the technique for producing it were first transmitted from China to Japan during the sixth century, at the same time that Buddhism was introduced, and by the sixteenth century it was flourishing as one of the decorative arts favored by the military elite and wealthy merchant class. After the tenth century lacquer luxury objects were embellished with intricate decorations including carving, painting, engraving, inlay with metals, shells, or colored lacquers, and maki-e (meaning “sprinkled picture”), in which a design is painstakingly created with an application of gold powder.
Lacquer was introduced from China to its tributary kingdom of the Ryûkyû Islands (now modern Okinawa prefecture in southwestern Japan) in the fourteenth century by thirty-six families of shipbuilders sent there by the Ming (1368–1644) court. Used at first to waterproof ships, it soon flourished into a distinctive art. The Ryûkyû Islands produced lacquer ware densely adorned with gold engraving and mother-of-pearl inlay, in which high quality mollusk shells (such as abalones and oysters) were cut into different shapes and then laid on wet lacquer to form geometric patterns; when dry, the surface was polished to ensure a seamless appearance. Some of the best mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquer wares in East Asia were created by Ryûkyû Island artists.
The Japanese and Ryûkû Island lacquer wares in this gallery include selections from the renowned collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.
11.5 cm x 23 cm x 7.3 cm (4 1/2 in. x 9 1/16 in. x 2 7/8 in.)
Round ceramic boxes with slightly domed lids and a pale olive-gray glaze, such as that seen here, are examples of Yue ware (Yueyao) produced in China's southeast Zhejiang province in the 10th century. The delicate color of the glaze was so highly prized that it was called "mise," or "secret color." Smaller versions of such boxes were made for ladies' cosmetics, but both the dragon theme and the large size of this lid suggest that the box was designed for a man's use. Despite the fragmentary condition of this box lid, it is one of the finest examples of Chinese ceramics in the Museum's collection.
M. Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art, 4/20/2006
15 cm x 13.8 cm x 20.9 cm (5 7/8 in. x 5 7/16 in. x 8 1/4 in.)
Women fumigated their garments and rooms with fragrant incense regurlarly in ancient times. The chests are usually made of Paulownia wood and have drawers for storing incense. Incense burning was considered an important aspect of a lady's religious activities as well as her dressing process.
Born Jane Caroline Mahon in Detroit, Michigan on July 21, 1863. Married Louis Crandall Stanley, who was at one time president of the Detroit Archaeological Society. Died October 31, 1940 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after a brief illness. She had been living at the home of her son, George Stanley, a member of the Geology Department at the University of Michigan. Her daughter, Alice Stanley Acheson, was also a painter and the illustrator of New Roads in Old Virginia, and her father-in-law, John Mix Stanley, was a painter of Indians and western landscapes.
Stanley studied with Charles Sanderson, Louis K. Harlow, H. H. Hallett, and S. P. R. Triscott, and in London with Leonard Richmond. She was a charter member of the Detroit Society of Women Painters and Sculptors and was active in several other artists’ societies. Most of her paintings depict scenes observed during her world travels. She continued to seek out new inspiration for her work even as she grew older, traveling to Mexico and Central America three years before her death.
In a brief announcement (11-6-27) of her return after a year spent in northern Italy and the exhibition of her paintings at the Bonstelle Playhouse Gallery, the Detroit Free Press wrote, “Her sketches of Venice depart from the too-familiar beauties known to the genus ‘tripper,’ and find the flavor of native life in the city.”
Mrs. Walter Parker bequeathed thirty of Stanley's watercolors to the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, in 1954. The Detroit Art Institute also owns works by Stanley, as does the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the National Museum for Women in the Arts.
Memberships: Detroit Society of Women Painters; American Water Color Society; Washington Water Color Club; National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors; American Federation of Arts; Ann Arbor Art Association
One-person exhibitions: Bonstelle Playhouse, Detroit, 1926-27; John Hanna Galleries, Detroit, 1928, 1938; Ann Arbor Art Association, 1931, 1938; Argent Gallery, New York City, 1942 (two-person)
Detroit Society of Women Painters Annual, Detroit 1905, 1921, 1923, 1930, 1933-34, 1951
Annual Exhibition of the Scoiety of Western Artists, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1910
Annual Watercolor Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1925, 1928-29, 1931
Detroit Society of Women Painters, Argent Gallery, New York City, 1932
Ann Arbor Art Association, 1937
Sources: Acheson, Alice. Jane Stanley, 1863-1940: Her Life and Work. Washington, D.C.: Whalesback Books, 1990; Artists in Michigan, 1900-1976: A Biographical Dictionary. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989; Detroit Free Press, November 6, 1927; Detroit Free Press, November 2, 1940; McGlauflin, Alice Coe, ed. Dictionary of American Artists, 19th and 20th Century. Poughkeepsie, NY: Glenn Opitz/Apollo Book, 1982; New York Times, November 1, 1940; Opitz, Glenn B., ed. Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters Sculptors and Engravers, 2nd ed. Poughkeepsie, NY: Apollo, 1986; Pettys, Chris. Dictionary of Women Artists. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985.
Stoneware lotus-shaped cup and stand with celadon glaze. The cup is shaped in the style of a ten-lobed lotus blossom. On each lobe lies lightly incised chrysanthemum decoration. The cup rests on a pedestal in the design of an inverted lotus flower, which rises from the dish-like base of the stand, mounted on a fluted foot.
Lotus blossom shaped cup and stand with gently incised chrysanthemum design.
March 28, 2009
Like the double-gourd ewer in the gallery, this elegant wine cup and matching stand are outstanding pieces of Korean celadon. The repeating ten-lobed forms are all variations of the lotus, a Buddhist motif that was ubiquitous in the decoration of art and architecture of Goryeo. Based on a Chinese silver prototype, the complex lobed shapes were produced with ceramic molds. The barely discernable chrysanthemums and floral sprays were incised on the body before the glaze was applied. Where the glaze has collected in grooves, the celadon color appears darker; where it has thinned along the edges, the glaze appears more translucent.
When put in place, the wine cup and stand resemble a lotus emerging from a pond. In the middle of the stand is a raised circular dais carved in the shape of an inverted lotus. The cup, also in the shape of a lotus, rested on this lotus throne. Surrounding the lotus throne is the well of the stand, which is meant to catch overflows of liquid from the cup, and it appears as the watery recess of a pond. A Goryeo viewer saw these elements as cosmic: a soul (symbolized by the cup-shaped lotus) emerging in pristine beauty above the muddy waters of the mundane world (symbolized by the stand).
(Label for UMMA Korean Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)
Descendant of Seifû Yohei (1803-1861), a late Edo period Kyoto potter, who specialized in cobalt underglaze decoration (sometsuke), as well as white (hakuji) and gold and enamel (kinrande) porcelains. The 2nd generation head of the family developed white porcelain relief decoration techniques. His brother-in-law became the third generation head of the family (i.e. the present artist) and continued to make fine artist. In 1892, Seifû Yohei III was honored by the designation of court artist (teishutsu gigei-in). [Adapted from Biographical Dictionary of Japanese Art.]