Archive | Archaic Chinese

Bodhisattva Final copy

The Power of Images: A Bodhisattva

People coming into the gallery often comment on the feeling they get from the Buddhist sculptures, and in fact that was the purpose of this art. This brings us to a paradox of Buddhist images, for originally Buddhism was aniconic, focused on the disciplines of meditation and release from the material world. How were these images explained in Buddhism, and what role did they serve? These are the questions we ask in this video, which will be one of a series. We pull in pop culture references to help illustrate the power that these images are meant to contain.

Continue Reading
Liangzhu stemmed cup

A Black Glazed Stemmed Cup

When I first purchased this delicate, thin walled stemmed cup, I was unclear as to where or when it was made. I had no doubt it was ancient, and it reminded me of Etruscan black bucchero ware. However, it is much finer than Etruscan bucchero ware, and I discovered that it is in fact Chinese, and Neolithic in date, about 5,000 years old. It is an amazing object.

Continue Reading
Bronze Vessel Edited

An Inlaid Bronze Vessel

A look at a beautiful Chinese bronze Hu vessel, inlaid with copper, and dating to the Warring States Period, 475 – 221 B.C. What is amazing about this piece is the use of copper to inlay into the bronze, related materials that we do not consider precious today, but was treated as a precious material by the ancient Chinese. The amount of technical skill and labor to inlay the thin pieces of copper into precisely cut depressions is quite remarkable and we are able to see it clearly in this video.  

Continue Reading
Version 2

The Face of Glory

A look at a beautiful Chinese jade sash buckle of a fierce monster mask. Dating to the Han to Six Kingdoms period, the image is very much like protective monster faces from Buddhist monuments of the Wei to Zhou periods, and brings up a wonderful Hindu myth of the god Shiva.

Continue Reading

A new purchase; the She Bear

I usually post about places I go and what I see, however, I do buy objects from time to time, and am going to post about them as well, when so moved. I am moved at the moment by one of my latest purchases, a small white jade carving of a bear with pendulous human breasts. While a strange subject, the carving is compelling, it is an intense concentrated work of art. Standing just under two inches (48 mm) high, it is quite small, but incredibly finely carved with great attention to detail. The fur ruffs on the limbs and edge of jaw are incised with fine lines, the teeth are individually carved and even the tongue is freed, reaching from the bottom of the mouth to touch the palate in a fierce open expression. Most strange are the breasts, which are pushed together between its paws, as if being presented. Interestingly the piece is drilled through from the top of the head through its bottom, and may have been worn as a bead or […]

Continue Reading