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Kaikodo LLC


An Autumn Airing

September 14 – Winter 2023

For Asia Week Autumn 2023, we are pleased to present An Autumn Airing, which is inspired by memories of late summer/early Autumn in Japan when temples and shrines would engage in mushiboshi (drying insects). All manner of art and accoutrement—for example, a 13th century book bag, centuries-old monks clothing, precious paintings, or even wooden storage boxes—would be laid out in the fresh air to dry out moisture, kill mold, and dispatch insects. Currently, temple holdings are often stored in secure facilities off-site but the practice continues with troves returning home for the airing, providing an opportunity for a public viewing of treasures that are otherwise usually out of sight.

One of the highlights is a Longquan Celadon Funerary Jar. Typical of a vessel produced at a Longquan kiln in Zhejiang province, this is a light grey stoneware with greyish-green glaze, and, similar to others of this category of funerary jars, it is of elongated ovoid form ascending in cushion-like tiers, with incised designs and a cap-like cover surmounted by a lotus-bud shaped knob completing the pagoda-like form. The visual similarity to Buddhist pagodas, pagoda finials, or to stone pillars suggests that Buddhist architectural art was an inspiration behind the ceramic funerary vessels. The tubular appendages are signature characteristics, and can vary in number and length, and usually not opening into the interiors of the vessels.

According to the inscriptions on the lids of some of these jars found at burial sites, along with the actual contents sometimes still preserved, they were intended to hold grain for the deceased while the function of the tubular appendages, common to all, is not clearly understood. Since these vessels appeared to be very closely linked to the Yueyao stylistic tradition, it had been assumed that they were products of the Yue kilns until kiln-site materials proved differently. A number of these urns have been discovered with inscriptions dating to the 11th century and a Northern Song date is accepted as their period of production.

To view the exhibition, click here.