Bowers Museum’s South Coast Plaza Display

Bowers Museum's display at South Coast Plaza's Jewel Court, image from Bowers' Exhibit Design Department Trip to the Mall The Bowers Museum is very excited to be collaborating with South Coast Plaza on a temporary display in their Jewel Court that both promotes our upcoming Fall/Winter exhibitions and includes five cases of highlights from the Bowe...

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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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In a Gallery Far, Far Away: May the Fourth at the Bowers

A Coruscant gallery and a selection of objects similar to those from a galaxy far, far away. And With You Happy May the Fourth! As we have done for more than half a decade running, on International Star Wars Day the Bowers Blog again takes a trip to a galaxy far, far away and looks closely at some Bowers objects that are visually similar to the ali...

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Silk and Gold: Chinese Embroidery at the Bowers

Embroidered Panel, late 20th CenturyMiao culture; probably Guizhou Province, ChinaSilk and metallic thread on possibly silk backing; 14 × 31 1/2 in2017.3.7Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih National Embroidery Month February is National Embroidery Month in the United States, a timely celebration given the significance of embroidery in the Bowers Muse...

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The Crate Escape: Protecting China’s Cultural Patrimony from Imperial Japan

Crate, 1931-1933Unknown Maker; Beijing, ChinaWood and metal; 20 × 36 × 20 1/2 in.2020.14.111a,bGift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Unsung Heroes In the context of art museums, transportation solutions for cultural artifacts are generally resigned to storage and staging areas. Visitors to the Bowers will note that our staff—like that of most museums—ma...

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Old but Never Forgotten: Chinese Neolithic Pottery

Vessels, mid to late Neolithic period (5000-2050 BCE)Yangshao and Majiayao cultures; ChinaPainted ceramic90.5.64, 91.48.5, 97.119.1, 99.54.1, 2000.39.1Gifts of Patricia de Hoffman, Carroll and Susanne Barrymore, Mr. Lowell C. Martindale, Jr., and Linda Shih Yangshao Culture’s Significance The Yangshao culture, a neolithic Chinese society that lived...

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The Thing About Ding: Chinese Ritual Cauldrons Through the Ages

Cauldrons (Ding), Eastern Zhou to Han dynasty (770-221 BCE)ChinaCeramic and bronze91.48.4, 2005.11.1, and 2010.24.1a,bGift of Carroll and Susanne Barrymore, In Remembrance of Judy Owens, and Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Eileen Mohler Lukewarm Take Though often analyzed mostly through the lens of conquest and war, human history can just as easil...

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Peak Perfection: Mountains in the Art of the Bowers

Sand and Trees, c. 1950Ralph Love (American, 1907-1992)Oil on canvas; 20 x 24 in.2010.5.1Vernon & Carolyn R. Cunningham Family Trust Saving the Everest for Last Just this week the Bowers Museum opened Everest: Ascent to Glory, an exhibition organized in collaboration with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and curated by the award-winnin...

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Fog of Yore: Clouded Scenes of Days Gone By

Morning Mist, mid 20th CenturyJames Patrick (American, 1911 - 1944); CaliforniaWatercolor on paper; 14 × 17 1/2 in.2018.6.21Ann and Bill Cullen Memorial Collection Gloom Havens All those early morning commuters in the central Orange County area will know just how foggy it has been in recent days. While individuals may be split on whether being swad...

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Staying on Tusk: Ivory in Ancient Arts of China

Carved Tusk, late Qing dynasty to Republic of China (1870-1949)ChinaIvory; 69 1/4 in.34475-34476Gift of Vernor G. and Edith P. Rich Relephant Information Ivory remains a hotly debated topic for museums. The rampant poaching of endangered elephants has rightfully led to international bans on the trade of ivory, but many museums around the world hous...

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Bats, Cats, and Hats: Qing Dynasty Children's Headwear

Children’s Festival Hat, Qing dynasty (1644-1912)ChinaCotton, silk and fiber; 11 x 10 in.2001.1.47Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Long Shung and Anne Shih Children of Many Hats Medicine and hygiene standards in rural China during the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) meant that many children did not live to see the end of their first 100 days. This tragedy w...

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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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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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Sonorous Spring: Birds of the Bowers

Detail of 86.47.10Gift of Junius & Angeline HolteDetail of Brocade Worn by Madame Modjeska (5002G)Gift of Myrtle Blakeslee Your First Carson It is a rare history of Earth Day that does not at some point mention Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Though the first day dedicated to restoring the environment—held on April 22, 1970—coalesced from m...

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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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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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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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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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Reflections on Early Chinese Mirrors

Mirror with Animal, Leaf, and Fruit Designs, Tang Dynasty (618-907)Han culture; ChinaBronze and silver; 1/2 x 6 1/8 in.2005.28.1In Memory of Armand J. Labbe The World in Bronze Mirrors today are multi-layered compositions of metal and glass, but historically the only requirement was a reflective surface. In China, a country whose complex manufactur...

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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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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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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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