This fibula, a type of brooch used to pin outer garments, features a crossbar that ends in three onion-shaped terminals, which give the fibula a shape reminiscent of a crossbow. An arched bow connects the crossbar to the longer catchplate, which is ornamented with vegetal motifs.
Crossbow fibulae, a type of brooch whose name derives from its resemblance to the much-later weapon, were used by men to pin an outer robe at the right shoulder. The folds of the robe were gathered beneath the arched bow segment of the fibula above the trilobed crossbar and held in place by a pin, while the longer catchplate projected vertically above the shoulder. During the fourth through sixth centuries men, typically of Germanic origin, who were granted an official position in the Roman Empire wore such fibula to communicate this important social distinction.
Inscription by Wen Cheng-ming in the right: (writing of T'ao Ch'ien's "Peach Blossom Spring") During the reign-period T'ai-yüan (326-97) of the Chin dynasty there lived in Wu-ling a certain fisherman. One day, as he followed the course of a stream, he became unconscious of the distance he had traveled. All at once he came upon a grove of blossoming peach trees which lined either bank for hundreds of paces. No tree of any other kind stood amongst them, but there were fragrant flowers, declicate and lovely to the eye, and the air was filled with drifting peachbloom. The fisherman, marveling, passed on to discover where the grove would end. It ended at a spring; and then there came a hill. In the side of the hill was a small opening which seemed to promise a gleam of light. The fisherman left his boat and entered the opening. It was almost too cramped at first to afford him passage; but when he had taken a few dozen steps he emerged into the open light of day. He faced a spread of level land. Imposing buildings stood among rich fields and pleasant ponds all set with mulbery and willow. Linking paths led everywhere, and the fowls and dogs of one farm could be heard from the next. People were coming and going and working in the fields. Both the men and the women dressed in exactly the same manner as people outside; white-haired elders and tufted children alike were cheerful and contented. Some, noticing the fisherman, started in great surprise and asked him where he had come from. He told them his story. They then invited him to their home, where they set out wine and killed chikens for a feast. When news of his coming spread through the village everyone came in to question him. For their part they told him how their forefathers, fleeing from the troubles of the age of Ch'in, had come with their wives and neighbors to this isolated place, never to leave it. From that time on they had been cut off from the outside world. They asked what age was this: they had never even heard of the Han, let alone its successors the Wei and the Chin. The fisherman answered each of their questions in full, and they sighed and wondered at what he had to tell. The rest all invied him to their homes in turn, and in each house food and wine were set before him. It was only after a stay of several days that he took his leave. "Do not speak of us to the people outside," they said. But when he had regained his boat and was retracing his original route, he marked it at point after point; and on reaching the prefecture he sought audience of the prefect and told him all of these things. The prefect immediately dispatched officers to go back with the fisherman. He hunted for the marks he had made, but grew confused and never found his way again. The learned and virtuous hermit Liu Tzu-chi heard the story and went off elated to find the place. But he had no success, and died at length of a sickness. Since that time there have been no further "seekers of the ford." To the right is the "Peach Blossom Spring." 1542, spring, third month, sixth day. Written by Cheng-ming at the age of 73. --the translation of the writing is tran. by Cyril Birch, Anthology of Chinese Literature (1965, pp. 167-68). Seal of Wen Cheng-ming following the long inscription: Cheng-ming. Additional seals: One unidentified seal at lower right corner: Lang-huan hsien-kuan ts'ang-shan, One almost illegible seal at lower left corner: Ch'iu Ying. (This was identified by Mr. James Robinson; therefore, this painting was attributed to Ch'iu Ying.)
In this fan painting mounted as an album leaf, a fishing boat is moored at shore. Water stretches to the right, and above it calligraphic text recounting the story of Peach Blossom Spring. To the left of the boat, are green riverbanks, blossoming peach trees, and a man in a small cave.
This fan is a rare collaboration between two famous artists from Suzhou who belonged to different social strata. The calligraphy is the work of the great literati (non-professional artist) master Wen Zhengming, while the painting is by the professional painter Qiu Ying. Literati artists such as Wen were part of an educated elite that pursued painting and calligraphy as gentlemanly pastimes rather than for financial gain. By contrast, painters who earned their living selling their work usually came from humble families and seldom had a formal education.
The scene is from The Account of the Peach Blossom Spring, inscribed on the scroll by Wen. This famous prose work written by Tao Yuanming (372–427), the great poet of the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420), tells the story of an ordinary man who stumbles upon a utopian world that he cannot find again after leaving it. The tale was reinterpreted by many Chinese poets and thinkers and has western counterparts in stories from Arcadia to Brigadoon.
Signed: Kai Ch'i; Dated: keng-ch'en (1820), eighth month. With an inscription by Huang Ju indicating tht the painting was presented to the artist Ch'ien Tu (1763-1844). Seals: One of Kai Ch'i: Kai Ch'i. One of Huang Jun: (undecipherable). Three collectors' seals: Chang Shou-chieh yin, Yung-yü shu-chai, Kuei an lu hsin yüan shen-ting. Additional inscription: On the mounting, giving biographical information about the artists and with three seals on the mount, including Teng kang wu kang, Ch'ing Yao and one other.
A scholar sits in a relaxed posture at his desk looking at cut plum blossoms in a white vase; before him is an empty sheet of paper and ink stone, and by his side an attendant is boiling water for tea. A crane tucks her head and leg to keep herself warm in the cold winter air. The scholar seems to be contemplating a subject to be drawn or written, perhaps related to the flowers.
A crane—an auspicious bird that denotes longevity—tucks her head and leg to keep herself warm in the cold winter air. Plum blossoms, like bamboo, were a favorite subject of literati artists (educated public servants who practiced painting and calligraphy), for their beauty and sweet fragrance. They were also a symbol of great moral integrity because they bloom in early spring when there is still snow.
The colophon is by Huang Chun and indicates that the painting was presented to the artist Chien Tu (1763-1844). There are a seals of the artist Gai Qi, Huang Chun, and three collectors.
A woodblock print depicting a post town in the Edo period of Japan. There is a wooden structure to the left. It looks like a store, with a list of products hanging on the frame of the door. White flags with a blue circular design hang from the roof to the left and to right near a grouping of trees. Two groups of five men are in front of the structure, five to the left, five towards the center of the image. A thin vertical stick structure is right of center in the foreground.
Post towns were where travelers could take a rest along their journey.
The print depicts a figure in black walking in the snow with an umbrella. The snow covers the road, the well and the trees. Inscriptions of two poems appear on the upper right-hand corner, and the artist's signature can be found on the bottom edge of the print.
Vertical lines stream downward across the print indicate torrents of rain. Several travelers with umbrallas and straw hats are walking across the bridge over the river. A village alongside the river and mountains are shown in the background.
Inscription of artist at upper right corner: San-sung. Seal of artist at upper right corner: Chu-lai shan-jen. Additional seals and inscriptions: Lable: Authentic work of Ming Chiang Sung, "Evening Snow, Returning Fisherman"; remounted 1972. (Ming Chiang Sung mu-hsüeh kuei-yü t'u chen-chi, i chiu ch'i erh nien chung-chuang)
Swift, spontaneous brushwork is used to capture a winter landscape. Two fishermen, wearing wide-brimmed straw hats and thatched grass rain capes, work their way through the heavy snow as they cross a bridge, carrying nets on their shoulders.
The impressive scale of this hanging scroll, the spare composition, and bold use of brush and ink are characteristic of this professional Zhe school artist Jiang Song's style.
A temple lies in the not-so-distant background of tree and mountains. Travellors weave their way along the path, some on horseback. They have their heads covered--some with cloth and some with hats.
This fan painting depicts a well-known historical event of the Kaiyuan era (713–41), when seven prominent scholars celebrated the first winter snow by venturing forth together for an outing to the famous Longmen temple outside of the capital city of Chang’an (today’s Xi’an). This attractive fan was painted by Sheng Maojun, the younger brother of the renowned painter Sheng Maoye from Suchou.
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.