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Category: 20th c

Morihei Ueshiba

14 August, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, japan | By: xensen

morihei ueshiba

This photo of Morihei Ueshiba comes from Wikipedia. Morihei Eushiba was greatly influential in developing martial arts practice as a spiritual discipline.

Walter Spies

23 June, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, paintings, southeast asia | By: xensen

walter spies

The other day I commented on Deb Clearwaters’s new blog on Bali. Subsequently, I found this collection of paintings by the Russian-born German painter Walter Spies. Spies, who was born in 1895, moved to Bali in 1927. His painting swings between mannerist and expressionist tendencies, but often with overtones of the primitivism of someone like Dounier Rousseau. With decent connections to the international art community, Spies helped to popularize the notion of Bali as an idyllic and exotic Shangri-La. This painting dates from 1929.



16 June, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, paintings, south asia | By: xensen

birth by francis newton souza

Indian painting is hot these days. Francis Newton Souza’s Birth (oil on board, 48 x 96 in., 1955), shown above, recently sold for $2,487,931 at an auction at Christie’s London, a record price for modern Indian art.

Souza spent much of his life in London and is the only Indian artist to have a room dedicated to his works at Tate Britain. He was born on April 12, 1924, in Saligaon, Goa, India and died on March 28, 2002 , in Bombay, India. His website is maintained by his estate.


Eyes and dolls

5 June, 2008 (05:05) | 20th c, japan, paintings | By: xensen

daruma doll

The image above is a Daruma doll. The owner of such a doll paints in one eye and makes a wish. When the wish is fulfilled, the other eye is painted in.

An operation took 7 Junipers out of operation. I had a little trouble with one of my eyes.

Happily, I am now back. And blogging!


Kanjuro Shibata enso

11 March, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, japan, paintings | By: xensen

kanjuro shibata xx enso

Form is void and void is form.
– The Heart Sutra

Let’s have a look at some Zen circles, or ensos. A symbol of wholeness and cyclic return — and some would say of enlightenment — this simple figure seems ideally suited to brush and ink, and it can be surprisingly expressive. Every good enso has some individual quality that sets it apart from others.

This enso, by Kanjuro Shibata XX, who served as the bowmaker to the Emperor of Japan from 1959 until 1994, has a twist — literally. Kanjuro Shibata puts a sort of lock on the join in his circle, perhaps much as an archer locks in on his target.


Wang Yi Guang

10 March, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, china, himalayas, paintings | By: xensen

wang yi guang

Wang Yi Guang is a Chinese artist who studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He has produced a series of romanticized visions of gambols in the fields of Tibet. According to Paintalicious

Wang’s fond memories of Tibet — particularly catching sight of young girls running and laughing across the magnificent Tibetan plains, their sheep and cattle in tow — remind the artist that Feitain (or flying Devi, a mystical character, which is primarily found in the murals at Dunhuang and in sculptural forms in a handful of cave grottoes in China) does exist in life.

Do these paintings have a political agenda? I’d like to think not.


Shown is River to Paradise, O/C, 130 x 140 cm, 2004.


Nakahara Nantenbo Daruma

28 February, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, japan, paintings | By: xensen

nakahara nantenbo daruma zen painting, 1912

Seven Junipers continues Daruma week with this bold image by Nakahara Nantenbo (1839-1925), which is more than five feet tall. The work was painted ni 1912. The thin lines outlining Bodhidharma’s face (which lacks a nose) contrast with the broad arc that suggests his robe in the most minimalist manner possible, as well as with the rough, energetic calligraphy. The arc of the robe is drawn with such force that it has splashed ink over Bodhidharma’s left ear, from which an earring hangs.

Nantenbo, the artist’s priest name — he was abbot of the Zen monastery of Myoshinji in Kyoto — derives from bo (staff) and nanten (a kind of tree), alluding to the staff with which he struck practitioners whose attention faltered.

The epigraph reads “A flower opens five petals and bears fruit — all in its nature.”

The work is in the collection of the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.


Shanghai deco

19 February, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, china | By: xensen

shanghai deco - old advertisementShanghai was one of the great centers of art deco. For a couple of decades, beginning in the mid to late 1920s, the city’s artists produced art deco furniture, architecture, and painting to rival any produced in the West, yet with a distinctive Chinese flair. More on this subject to come …

The image is an old advertisement reproduced on the Bund Collection website, which offers reproductions of classic Shanghai deco furniture for sale.



23 January, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, decorative arts / textiles, korea | By: xensen

bojagi, korean wrapping cloth

Bojagi are Korean wrapping cloths. They are typically square and hemmed along the edges; many have a sort of ribbon “handle” in the center. The cloths were used for wrapping presents, as well as for storying and carrying objects. They are wonderful examples of folk art, and although they date at least from the Joseon dynasty, they feel modern in their design spirit.

This example is from the Museum of Korean Embroidery in Gangnam-gu. There is another example (at this writing) in the lower right sidebar.

Tibet in the early 1940s

14 January, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, himalayas, prints/photographs | By: xensen

himalayan stupas

The Asian Studies department at Skidmore College has posted posted several photos from Tibet in the early 40s, such as this picture of unidentified stupas. The photos were taken by members of the Tolstoy expedition of 1942-43 — two U.S. Army officers, Lt. Col. Ilya Tolstoy and Capt. Brooke Dolan entered from India to explore possible routes for supplied Chiang Kai-shek with military supplies. That mission didn’t prove fruitful, but the photographic legacy is wonderful.


Tezuka Osamu self-portrait

10 January, 2008 (06:00) | 20th c, japan, literature/performance/film/music | By: xensen

Here’s a ten-second self-portrait by anime pioneer Tezuka Osamu.


The Shimmering of Heated Air

8 January, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, japan | By: xensen

shimmering of heated air, japanese bamboo basket by shono shounsai

That’s the title of this famous bamboo flower basket by Shono Shounsai.

Flower Basket, Shimmering of Heated Air, approx. 1969, by Shono Shounsai (1904-1974, named Living National Treasure in 1967, Kyushu: active in Shiraki, Oita Prefecture). Bamboo (madake), rattan, and copper alloy. Thousand-line construction. H. 13 3/4 in x Diam. 14 in. Asian Art Museum, Lloyd Cotsen Japanese Bamboo Basket Collection, 2006.3.836 (B-1095). Photograph by Kaz Tsuruta.

From the catalogue Masters of Bamboo. This book is out of stock as I write but will be reprinted soon.

The Khoan and Michael Sullivan collection of modern Chinese art

18 December, 2007 (05:00) | 20th c, china, paintings | By: xensen

Fu Baoshi, Landscapes of the Four Seasons, 1950.

Asia House Gallery in London is presenting twentieth-century Chinese works from the Khoan and Michael Sullivan collection in two rotations through 24 May 2008. Michael Sullivan is one of the most influential scholars of Chinese art. His book Chinese Art in the Twentieth Century (1959) was the first in English on the subject, which he continued to explore in Art and Artists of Twentieth Century China (1996).


Shown is Landscapes of the Four Seasons, 1950, by Fu Baoshi.