Turning a New Leaf into Art

Oak Leaf Ornament, early 20th CenturyUnknown maker; probably United StatesGold; 4 1/2 in.30713BGift of Mrs. Anita L. Alexander Disbe-leaf That It Is 2024 Hard to believe as it may be, 2023 has ended and the new year, 2024, has begun. With high hopes for all the wonderful and exciting things that the new year may hold, today’s post celebrates the pr...

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Buffalo Holder: Two Batak Horns

Medicine or Magic Horn (Naga Marsarang), early 20th centuryUnrecorded Batak Toba artist; Sumatra, IndonesiaBuffalo horn, wood, brass, and plant fiber; 12 1/2 × 2 1/4 × 21 in.2004.67.1Bowers Museum Purchase with Funds Provided by Don and Barbara Greek Indonesian Carvings Among the Bowers’ collection of objects from the Indonesian archipelago, some o...

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Divine Renditions: The Paintings of Shashi Dhoj Tulachan

Composite of Vairocana and Vajrasattva Mandalas, 2001-2004Shashi Dhoj Tulachan (Nepalese, 1942-)Natural mineral pigments on canvasL.2012.25.3,.4,.6,.9Loan courtesy of Gayle and Edward P. Roski Returning to a Bowers Near You For most of the past decade Bowers Museum’s Freedman Galleria has been flanked by nine immense paintings by Lama Shashi Dhoj T...

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On the Gau: A Look at Tibet’s Portable Shrines

Amulet Box (Gau or Gawu), 19th to 20th CenturyTibet Autonomous RegionBrass; 4 1/4 × 3 7/8 × 1 3/8 in.2021.8.52Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Warding Wardrobe In cultures that believe in the existence of supernatural forces in humans’ day-to-day lives, important steps are taken to ensure that individuals are protected from the unseen as well as th...

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Weighing in on Steelyard and Bismar Scales

Bismar Scales, 19th to 20th CenturyLaosWood, metal, fiber and tortoiseshell2019.23.71-.80Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Scales of Justice When most think of scales, they likely summon an image of Lady Justice, perhaps guarding the entrance of a courthouse, with golden scales for balancing the deeds of the good, evil, and those difficult to classi...

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Embroidered Worlds: Rebozos of New Spain

Detail of Shawl (Rebozo), early 19th CenturyUnknown Maker; Manila or Mexico City, Viceroyalty of New SpainSilk and sequins; 82 x 30 in.2379Gift of Dona Magdalena Murillo A Small World After All We live today in a global society. The produce we eat, the clothes we wear, and the technology we use on a daily basis all might have been produced or assem...

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Hoppy New Hare: Ushering in the Water Rabbit

Modified detail of F81.109.8Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Reilly P. Rhodes in Memory of Clarence H. Hoiles History of the Zodiac This past Sunday marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year, a holiday closely tied to the zodiac observed by cultures of eastern Asian countries like China and Vietnam as well as their diaspora. The Chinese zodiac of twelve anima...

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Crossbows of the Montagnard Peoples

Crossbow, 1960sMontagnard culture; Central Highlands region, VietnamWood and bamboo fiber; 28 × 2 × 40 1/2 in.2021.7.9a-cAnonymous Gift Enemy’s Enemy During the Vietnam War the United States and South Vietnam allied with some of the Indigenous peoples of the country’s Central Highlands. Collectively called the Montagnard peoples—a name derived from...

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Under the Hilt: Identifying Three Japanese Swords

Short Sword (Wakizashi), 15th to 19th CenturyTsuguhiro (Japanese, active 1469-1521), Jiryūsai Tomohide (Japanese, 1778-1847) and Seiyōken Akitada (Japanese, active 19th Century); Fukui Prefecture, Chūbu Region, Japan and Nagasaki, Kyushu Region or Tokyo, Kantō Region, JapanSteel, manta ray skin, lacquer, silk and iron; 2 3/4 x 2 3/8 x 27 1/4 in.200...

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Illuminating Nepalese Sukunda

Oil Lamp (Sukunda), early 19th CenturyNewar culture; Kathmandu Valley, NepalBrass; 16 1/2 × 7 × 16 in.2021.8.23Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih There’s The Rub The human fear of darkness is without a doubt born of the unpleasantness of our ancestors being devoured in lonely, midnight recesses by animals that formerly held the title of ‘apex predato...

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Gong With the Woodwind: Instruments of China and Southeast Asia

Detail of Gong (Kyizi), 19th to 20th CenturyMyanmarBrass; 8 1/8 × 12 1/2 × 3/4 in.2020.14.19Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Melodies of Late Summer Like the visual arts, there is a universality to music that is only affected by a handful of factors. Just as a culture’s paintings are influenced by the brushes they use; their music is a product of t...

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Around the World in a Model T: The Aloha Wanderwell Story

Captain Wanderwell Filming Seminole Women in Front of Car, 1921Unknown photographer; Miami, FloridaPhotograph; 3 1/4 x 4 3/8 in.95.24.1Gift of the Walter Baker Trust Tall Tale, 6” To Be Exact The best biographical stories are those that are so wonderfully implausible that it is impossible to tell if they are fabricated or just stranger than fiction...

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New Acquisition: Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Horse Head Sculpture, late 18th to 19th CenturyTibetan culture; Tibet Autonomous Region, ChinaBronze and pigments; 13 1/4 × 2 1/8 × 5 1/8 in.2021.5.1Gift of Virginia Rooney Head Above the Rest The Tibet Autonomous Region, referred to here as Tibet, is nestled against the Himalayas in the southwest of China. Backed by the roof of the world, the spra...

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Eureka: Inventions of the Bowers Museum

The State Exclamation The 7th to 13th of June is Museum Week, an annual global event which celebrates museums. The different days of the week are marked with hashtags or themes through which museums can share their collections. Today’s is #EurekaMW, an opportunity to look at some innovations in our collections which may have prompted the maker to s...

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Silver Blooms: Celestial Crowns of the Yao

Celestial Crowns, 20th CenturyYao culture; Yunnan Province, ChinaSilver, copper, zinc, cloth and hair2007.23.10, 2015.26.10.1-.2Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih and Anonymous Gift Sweet Sixteen Different cultures around the world come of age at different times and mark that rite of passage in different ways. In the United States a sweet sixteen mig...

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Song Swan Song: Three Taiwanese Scroll Painters

Scroll Paintings, c. 1930-1968Lin Yu-shan (Taiwanese, 1907-2004) and Chang Lee Tekhoe (Taiwanese, 1893-1972); TaiwanInk on paper2020.2.1,.3-.5Gift of Aloysius F. Kuo Good Things Come in Threes Aside from clues in their subject matter, many paintings do not immediately bely their geographical origin. Back in February of this year the Bowers Museum r...

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New Installation: Miao Masters of Silver

The Bowers Museum's new Miao Masters of Silver installation. Quarter of a Thousand Shining Moons The Bowers Museum is reopening its doors to the public this Saturday, September 12 with a brand-new installation in our East West Bank Gallery: Miao Masters of Silver. Due in large part to the generous support of Anne Shih, the Bowers owns perhaps the f...

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Hand Solo: Armless Figures and Disembodied Hands of the Bowers

Artist's rendition of 2004.66.1.1-.2 and 31901 in dialogue in a futuristic setting. Man: The Lore (ian) This coming Monday marks yet another May the Fourth (be with you) on the Galactic Standard Calendar. While it might be an unremarkable day for the least nerdy of us, for those of us raised on Star Wars the date is as sacred as the Jedi texts. And...

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Baby Back Cribs: Embroidered Carriers of the Miao

Baby Carrier with Pleated Ties, 20th CenturyMiao culture; Gulong Town, Guizhou Province, China, AsiaCotton and silk; 23 x 30 in.2008.9.71Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Miao Mom Weightlifting Club We should be thankful to the wonderful moms in our lives every day, but Mother’s Day is the one day a year we have chosen to distill that love into the ...

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A Budai By Any Other Name Would be Just as Compassionate

Hotei Relaxing in a Field, mid to late 20th CenturyMaker Unknown; ChinaPainting on porcelain tile96.52.34Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herb Hansen Lots of Loves Love is a fairly complex force that can (often insufficiently) be defined as an intense feeling of affection towards family; friends; a significant other; a childhood pet gerbil named Scruffy, rest ...

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Magamaog’s Lashed Logs: Yami Canoes of Orchid Island

Fishing Canoe (Taratara), 20th CenturyYami culture; Lanyu (Orchid) Island, TaiwanWood, paint and feather; 81 × 204 × 36 in. 97.8.1Gift of Leon Chen When a Gangway’s Raised a Porthole Opens While the hopes of the Bowers most nautically inclined visitors may be sunk following the departure of Arthur Beaumont: Art of the Sea this past weekend, rest as...

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Snakes and Stones: Perak Headdresses from Ladakh

Headdress (Perak), late 20th CenturyLadakhi culture; Ladakh Region, Jammu and Kashmir State, IndiaCotton, lambskin, yak hair, turquoise, coral, carnelian and silver; 54 × 20 × 1 3/4 in.2019.7.1Anonymous Gift Crown of the Roof of the World Ladakh is a region of India located in the barren mountainous foothills between the Himalayas and the Karakoram...

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I Came, I Saw Ikat: Sumbanese Hinggi

Shoulder Cloth (Hinggi), late 20th CenturySumba culture; Sumba Island, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Lesser Sunda Islands, IndonesiaCotton; 96 × 112 in.2016.15.45Anonymous Gift Syncretic Dyeing Art has always been a chorus of different groups reacting to, influencing, inspiring and drawing upon one another’s creations. On the small East Indonesian i...

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Dharma Wheels and High Heels: Shashi Dhoj Tulachan in Dialogue

Guo Pei's Garden of Soul collection backed by Shashi Dhoj Tulachan's paintings. Fashion 101 Recent visitors to the Bowers Museum will have noticed a few new faces—placid as they may be—in the Freedman Galleria, the long hallway travelling between our main desk and the Bowers Museum’s changing gallery spaces. Of course, these seven new, poised ...

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Imposition of Exposition Exhibition Export Ware

 Two Meiji-era Japanese exposition objects (2017.6.1a-h and 36756) on view in the Dr. Wan-Lin & Assumpta Kiang Family Foundation Rotunda.Globalization in the 19th and early 20th Centuries in many cases led to the butting of heads on a national scale, but the conflict served as a fantastic motivator for both art and tra...

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On Ornamental Wings: Qing Dynasty Wooden Corbels

Corbels with Phoenix and Crane, 19th CenturyQing Dynasty; ChinaWood and pigments; 27 x 14 x 5 in.2001.58.13a,bGift of Kevin BranchDiagram dougong holding up a multi-inclined roof, from the architectural treatise Yingzao Fashi, 1103.To one degree or another, all objects run the gamut between form and function. In architectural terms this polari...

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What Became of the Floating World

Two Prints from The Fifteen Views of Kyoto, 1950-1960Tomikichiro Tokuriki (Japanese, 1902–1999)Woodblock print on paper; 15 x 13 in.81.8.1J, KGift of Mr. Kerwin JacobsBeauty Reading a Letter, late 18th CenturyUtamaro (Japanese 1753-1806)Woodblock print on paper; 19 x 13 in.36124.1Evylena Nunn Miller Memorial CollectionUkiyo-e, the term for a s...

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Spun Silver: Apron Counterweights of the Dong and Miao

S-Shaped Counterweight, 20th CenturyMiao or Dong culture; Guizhou, Hunan or Guangxi Province, ChinaSilver; 6 1/4 × 10 7/8 in.2015.26.59Anonymous Gift Glance at the Moon Alternate image of 2015.26.59.Silver was used as a currency in China as early as the turn of the common era. It is unclear when exactly the Dong and Miao of southern China bega...

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Car Fit for an Empress Dowager

Empress Dowager Cixi's 1901 Duryea SurreyDuryea Motor Wagon Co.; Reading, PAJanuary 1902 advertisement for the Duryea Surrey.Climb InEmpress Dowager Cixi is arguably the most influential figure in late dynastic China. Coming from humble beginnings as a low-ranking concubine for the Emperor, she managed to leverage a legitimate heir to the throne in...

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Viper Vessels of Taiwan's Paiwan

Vessel with Snake Motifs, 18th CenturyPaiwan culture; Pingtung or Taitung County, TaiwanClay and wood; 15 x 11 1/2 in.2017.11.28-.29Gift of Anne and Long Shung ShihOne Hundred PacesThe hundred-pacer snake is a venomous pit viper indigenous to the same region occupied by the Paiwan of southern Taiwan. Hailed as an ancestor in several of their creati...

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The First Warbles of Spring

Scene from Tale of Genji Chapter 23, “Hatsune (First Warbler)”, 1890Yōshū Chikanobu (Japanese, 1838-1912); Tokyo, JapanWoodblock print on paper; 21 1/2 x 33 in.94.64.8Gift of Mr. William DrellTale of the EquinoxSpring is in the air! The spring equinox, which occurred Tuesday, March 20th, provides the possibility for rebirth, renewal, and regrowth. ...

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Japanese Wedding Kimono

Wedding Furisode Kimono (Furisode), c. 1900JapaneseSilk and threadF78.62.1Bowers Museum Purchase A woman’s first furisode (a long-sleeved kimono, literally “swinging sleeve”) is given to her at the age of 20 when she is recognized as an adult, allowed to vote, responsible for committing crimes and is officially allowed to smoke and drink. A furisod...

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Who Answers the Cries: Guanyin at the Bowers

Guanyin Seated on a Lotus Flower, late Ming Dynasty (1600-1643)Han culture; ChinaWood and pigments; 49 x 16 x 11 in.2005.37.1Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Mercy Me Whether or not you recognize the name, if you have been to the Bowers you have seen at least one representation of Guanyin, the adopted Chinese bodhisattva and goddess of mercy. Woode...

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