What's Happening in Asian Art...

Bingata Textiles: Preserving a Royal Tradition in Okinawa at Japan Society

October 13, 2022

Bingata Textiles: Preserving a Royal Tradition in Okinawa,
Japan Society

Online program, October 18, 7pm EDT

The bingata method of textile dyeing is a vibrant artistic tradition with a long history on Japan’s subtropical Okinawan islands. Originally reserved for the sumptuous garb of the royalty and ruling class of the Ryukyu Kingdom, these traditional hand-dyeing techniques are still being carried on by craftspeople in Okinawa today. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, this program explores the fascinating history, unique methods and current state of bingata with textile specialist Ginny Soenksen, and bingata craftsman Touma Chinen. The first event in Japan Society's multi-part Living Traditions webinar series this season.

Ginny Soenksen, Director, Madison Art Collection and Lisanby Museum
Touma Chinen, 10th generation head of the Shimujiibu line of the Chinen family of bingata craftsmen; President of the Chinen Bingata Institute
Moderator: Dr. Masato Ishida, Director, Center for Okinawan Studies, University of Hawai`i, Mānoa

Read more and register, click here.

Symbolic Inversions in Chinese Art at Columbia University

October 11, 2022

Teapot with Black Peony Blossoms, 1913, porcelain, British Museum

Symbolic Inversions in Chinese Art, Columbia University
Alfreda Murck

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 6-7pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall

Authors and artists in most cultures have expressed opinions through symbolic inversions: verbal or visual expressions of a world turned upside down (mundus inversus). In China it was sometimes referred to as “black and white reversed” (黑白颠倒 heibai diandao). Symbolic inversions allowed artists to express disappointment at lack of success, to comment on an injustice, or to contradict social norms. What did depictions of a world turned upside down look like? This lecture will offer five examples of poets and painters presenting symbolic inversions.

This lecture is in-person only; reception follows
RSVP: mo2486@columbia.edu
Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art

National Museum of Asian Art Opens Rinpa:
Creativity Across Time and Space

October 10, 2022

Fuka'e Roshu (1699-1757), Wisteria and Other Flowers, 18th century, hanging scroll,
ink and color on paper, Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment

Rinpa: Creativity Across Time and Space,
National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution

October 1, 2022-February 5, 2023

The Japanese painting movement now known as Rinpa was a loose association of artists that began around the dawn of the seventeenth century and continued into the nineteenth century. Their aesthetic came to define an almost stereotypical image of Japanese art consisting of stylized forms in bright colors. The National Museum of Asian Art invites you to explore a selection of paintings and ceramics by several generations of Rinpa artists from their collection.

Monochromatic Japanese Prints

October 9, 2022

Katsukawa Shunchō (active about 1781-95), Summer Bush Clover (Natsuhagi), from the series
Choicest Odes upon Flowers of the Four Seasons (Shuku awase, shiki no hana), circa 1792, color woodblock print, chūban, 10 1/4 × 8 in. (26 × 20.3 cm)

Monochromatic Japanese Prints, Art Institute of Chicago
September 30-April 9, 2023

In its oldest and most basic form, a printed image consists of black ink indirectly applied to paper. In Japan, this method was developed by the 8th century and employed for commercial purposes beginning in the 17th century, with color printing becoming widespread in the 1760s. The early commercial monochromatic prints are known as sumizuri-e—literally, “pictures printed in ink.” Despite their limited palette, these works by designers such as Kaigetsudō Anchi and Okumura Masanobu, who are represented in this display, have a presence and immediacy rarely seen again in Japanese printmaking until the 20th century.

After the development of full-color printing in the mid-18th century, some publishers chose to save money by continuing to use black ink alone to produce illustrated books and single-sheet prints. Other publishers deployed black ink to make a statement about the skill of an artist or to imbue a print with a painterly quality: they produced complex images rendered mostly in shades of gray, as seen in works by Katsukawa Shunchō and Utagawa Hiroshige.

In the 20th century, print designers who recognized the potential of black ink on paper took up the challenge of making compelling images with only the fundamental materials. Artists including Munakata Shikō and Hiratsuka Un’ichi spent virtually their entire careers working almost exclusively in black ink, demonstrating the expressive power of mono-chromatic printing.

The striking works in this exhibition span nearly 250 years and are drawn entirely from the rich holdings of the Art Institute’s Japanese print collection. Monochromatic Japanese Prints is curated by Janice Katz, Roger L. Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art, the Art Institute of Chicago.

iGavel Launches Asian, Ancient, and Ethnographic Works of Art Auction

October 7, 2022

Set of Four Chinese Bronze Knives with Jade Pommels, L: 10 ¼, 9 ¾, 10 1/4 and 11 1/4 in., Estimate: $60,000-90,000, Asian, Ancient, and Ethnographic Works of Art

Asian, Ancient, and Ethnographic Works of Art,

Online auction, October 6-25

The final big event of Asia Week is iGavel’s online auction Asian, Ancient, and Ethnographic Works of Art. The first part opened for bidding on October 6th and runs until the 25th. Over 500 lots from China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia represent a range of categories, including fifty Chinese archaic jades from the property of Sam and Myrna Myers, the renowned Parisian dealer and collector, who gifted the Musée Guimet. Several of these pieces have been exhibited at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, the Pointe-A-Calliere Museum, in Montreal, the Fondation Baur Musee des Arts D'Extreme-Orient, in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Asian Art Museum in Nice, France.

Among the archaic jades are a Chinese Brown Jade Huang with Dragon Head Terminals (Estimate: $30,000-50,000); a Yellow Chinese Jade Dragon Pendant (Estimate: $15,000-20,000); a Brown and Black Chinese Jade Tiger Form Pendant (Estimate: $30,000-50,000); a pair of Jade Dragon Form Pendants (Estimate: $35,000/45,000); a Brown Chinese Jade Dragon Form Pendant (Estimate: $20,000/30,000); and a Chinese Brown Jade Carved Pendant (Estimate: $20,000-40,000); a set of four Chinese Bronze Knives with Jade Pommels, (Estimate: $60,000-90,000); and a Chinese Carved Green Jade Huang, (Estimate: $10,000-15,000).

The second sale, Asian Works of Art, will open for bidding on October 11 to 27 and includes a large selection of works from the collection of George Barrie, the business partner of Jim Thompson, who mysteriously disappeared in the jungles of Southeast Asia, leaving Barrie to take over the company, expanding it to become the largest producer of raw silk in Southeast Asia. Included in the sale from his collection is the important Portrait of Merchant Howqua by the School of Lamqua (1801-1860) (Estimate: $30,000--50,000); a 16th/17th century Burmese Sandstone Buddha Footprint Buddhapada, carved with 108 Buddhist symbols; and a pair of Thai Carved Wood Chora Architectural Spires, or “sky tassels", often used as spires which often adorned the roofs of temples and palaces and thought to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

Also now available for sale online at iGavel is Rugs and Carpets from the Collection of Barry MacLean, which runs until October 22nd. The highly regarded MacLean Collection is based in Chicago and was assembled over the past half century. Among the many special items in this sale is this Qing-dynasty Peking Blue Ground 5-clawed Dragon Decorated Wool Carpet (detail above) from the Qing Dynasty (Estimate: $3,000-5,000).

Read more, click here.

The NMAA Presents Sneak Peek—Reading Between the Lines: Japanese Calligraphy and Frames

October 6, 2022

Section of The Wonderful Adornments of the Leaders of the World, Chapter 1 of the Flower Ornament Sutra, Heian period, ca. 1100, hanging scroll, ink on light indigo-dyed paper, with gold-ruled lines and gold-leaf, Gift of Sylvan Barnet and William Burto, Freer Gallery of Art, F2014.6.4

Sneak Peek—Reading Between the Lines: Japanese Calligraphy and Frames,
National Museum of Asian Art

Online lecture, October 11, 12–12:40pm

Calligraphy is language turned into art. It celebrates the artfulness of the written word and the different ways in which language can be interpreted visually and conceptually. In the traditional arts of East Asia, calligraphy has long been considered a form of personal and conceptual expression, where individuality and meaning are being projected through the way a text is written. In this way, most if not all pieces of calligraphy combine form and function. This talk focuses on the religious and secular works of Japanese calligraphy and analyzes how meaning is conveyed by form, materials, and the writer’s intention. The talk will also consider how the mountings—frames and integral structural of hanging scrolls—can correspond with and enhance the aesthetic and content of a work of calligraphy.

Frank Feltens is the Japan Foundation Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. He holds a PhD in the history of Japanese art from Columbia University and is a specialist in Japanese painting from the medieval to the modern periods. Among his publications are Ogata Kōrin: Art in Early Modern Japan (Yale University Press, 2021) and, co-authored with Yukio Lippit, Sesson Shūkei: A Zen Monk-Painter in Medieval Japan (Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, 2021).

Read more and register, click here.

Paper Road: Korean Fashion Show and Open Studio at NMAA

October 6, 2022

Paper Road: Korean Fashion Show and Open Studio,
National Museum of Asian Art

In-person program, October 8, 2-4pm

Join this afternoon of Korean fashion on the museum plaza and watch a fashion show of traditional and contemporary designs crafted from paper, highlighting the beauty of traditional Korean design. See costumes that have been recreated based on ancient murals from the Goguryeo era (37 BCE–668 CE) and those inspired by modern-day Korea. After the show, feel and experience Hanji, traditional Korean mulberry paper, which has been recognized as a form of intangible cultural heritage. See how this paper is turned into textiles, including through the process of traditional Korean paper knitting, in a drop-in workshop.

This program is offered in collaboration with the Korean Cultural Center in conjunction with their exhibition Paper Past-Present in partnership with the Hanji Development Institute. In case of rain, the event will be held indoors.

Read more and register, click here.

Asia Society Discusses Curating Contemporary Asian Art

October 5, 2022

Asia Society Museum Mirror Image installation view © Bruce M White 2022

Curating Contemporary Asian Art: A Conversation, Asia Society New York
Live and on-line program, October 6, 6:30-8pm

Join Asia Society for a conversation about a new generation of young Asian curators creating a different and fascinating dialogue around Asian art exhibitions in the United States. Scholar Amy Kahng will discuss the curatorial disciplines from an academic perspective; Yiwei Lu, a Los Angeles-based curator, gallerist, filmmaker, and writer will bring in the unique perspective of the West Coast pop-up exhibition strategy; and Phil Cai, partner at Eli Klein Gallery, will address the commercial aspects of curation. Moderated by Hongzheng Han, guest curatorial assistant for the Asia Society Museum exhibition Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese Identity.

The exhibition will be open from 5:30-6:30 for audience members. Read more and register, click here.

Pictorial Illusions: Reused Blocks at Scholten Japanese Art

October 4, 2022

Paul Binnie (born 1967), Pictorial Allusions, Reused Blocks: Los 41 Maricones de 1901 (test print),
7 1/2 x 11 in. (18.9 x 27.9 cm)

Pictorial Allusions, Reused Blocks: Los 41 Maricones de 1901,
Scholten Japanese Art

This print is the fourth in the ongoing Honga Dori project, a print series featuring antique woodblocks incorporated by Binnie into his own compositions, merging images from the past with the present, although this work is a slight departure in both subject and methodology. The subject is a tribute to persecuted gay men with an adaptation of an early 20th century black and white illustration by Mexican broadsheet artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) recording a significant event in queer history known as The Dance of the 41. Without access to Posada’s lost original blocks, Binnie created his own keyblock of the design by recarving the image directly from an enlargement copy of a postcard purchased during a trip to Mexico City.

To read more about this unusual Binnie release, click here.

Translocation of South Asian Art: Provenance and Documentation at NMAA

October 3, 2022

Translocation of South Asian Art: Provenance and Documentation,
National Museum of Asian Art

Two-day online program, October 6 and 7, 9am-12pm EDT

From the seventeenth century onward, Western visitors to the South Asian subcontinent were actively acquiring as well as commissioning works of art for private and public collections. A complex network of individuals and institutions encouraged collecting and facilitated the strategic movement of art out of South Asia. In our contemporary moment, histories of South Asian objects in museum collections are under increasing scrutiny, and questions about the art market and museum ethics are at the forefront of people’s minds. While this webinar engages with those important issues, it primarily focuses on documenting the provenance and circulation of South Asian art before 1970 as a way to better understand and reckon with the collections that exist today. Divided into two half-day sessions, this webinar will present scholarly talks and discussions that provide an overview of the field of South Asian provenance research and highlight important resources.


This program is the fifth installment in the series Hidden Networks: Trade in Asian Art, co-organized by the National Museum of Asian Art; Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; and The British Library.

Read more and register, click here

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