The vase uses Shigaraki clay and the wood-firing process. The deformities and imperfections are intentional, and in Iga style. It has a lopsided lip edge at the top, with a deep indentation circling the vase just below it. The texture of this piece is splotchy and ridged, and the colors are earth tones, ranging from tans to dark, forest greens.
This is a flower vase made at the kiln in Shigaraki.
TOP IMAGE. On the bottom right appears a river, with at least three boats moored against her banks. Along the shore, in the central bottom area of the image, is a large groups of figures, potentially a local market area. In the center of the image is a plank bridge with figures carrying bundles, and the bridge (ramp) leads from the center to the top left, where it connects with a large brink palazzo-type structure. In the central background stands a large thatched and planked group of dwellings. A pile of barrels fill the bottom left corner.
BOTTOM IMAGE. A three-arch stone bridge with crossing figures spans the image from center right edge to the bottom left corner. Underneath pass small rapids with rocks. At the bottom right corner is a group of three, perhaps with a fishing pole; the left and right figures kneel, while the central figure stands with pole in hands, pointing up. A cross - perhaps a medieval pilgrimage marker - stands at the left-hand end of the bridge. On the right-hand side behind the bridge are tall stone pediments, perhaps dwellings or fortress-like walls. A distant part of the river and its structures can be seen in the left-hand corner.
TOP IMAGE. A genre market scene on the banks of a river, with houses and architectural structures.
BOTTOM IMAGE. A three-arch bridge over small rapids with travellers and fisherman. Architectural structures in the background and on the remote river banks in the bottom left corner.
The flat iron plate with quatrefoil design. It has three holes: one for blade (middle) flanked by oval-shape hole (for kougai) and oval with bump shape (for kozuka). Chrysanthemums, autumn grass and a rock are carved on lower-right side; a butterfly is descending toward the flowers. Gold inlays are applied to the flowers, grass, part of the rock, and butterfly. The surface is finely granulated by etching (“ishime-ji”).
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. A smaller hole on the left is to place an ornamental stick, kozuka. Another hole on the right is to insert kougai, spatula-like sticks which are said to be used for itching hair underneath hats or helmets. Butterflies, chrysanthemums, autumn grass, and rock are popular motifs in Japanese decorative arts; the combination of chrysanthemums and grass suggests that this is an autumn scene.
The use of light ink to depict the hills and remote mountains was to present the misty and dreamlike Dayu Mountain. Chang applied the wash to creat a sense of wet atmosphere.
The painting depicts a poetic scene in the Dayu Mountain in Taiwan. The colophon in this painting was inspired by a famous Ming dynasty literati painter--Dong Qichang (or Dong Xiangguang as used by Chang). This colophon implies a literati painting tradition of "in painting there is poetry, and in poetry there is painting" since Tang dynasty.
This painting inculdes the seal of the artist Ren Xun. A crane stands in the foreground, with it's head and beak turned toward the viewer, revealing a patch of orangish red on its face. A pine tree arches across the background above.
Ren Xun, best known for painting birds and animals, was the younger brother of Ren Xiong’s (1823–1857). This elegant painting of a crane, a symbol of immortality, and pine and bamboo, symbols of longevity, is appropriate for birthday or New Year’s gifts. To suggest the cold season, Ren Xun chose orange pigment to depict the pine needles.
This vertical image is of a waterfall flowing down the side of a hill. It is the middle of the waterfall and the upper and lower portions are not visible. The water on the right hand side appears to be stronger than the left, creating a larger splash.