ASIANetwork Asian Art in the Undergraduate Curriculum Initiative

Beloit College: Beloit, Wisconsin

The Wright Museum of Art has an astonishing number of Asian art holdings – approximately four thousand objects.  This is about 40% of the total art museum collection. Areas and objects of greatest significance include the collection of sixteen Chinese imperial robes from the late Qing dynasty as well as Korean ceramics from the Koryo dynasty and Japanese prints. The Logan Museum of Anthropology, with just over four thousand eight hundred objects, has holdings of textiles from around the world. Included here are items of Ainu clothing as well as items from the Phillipines, Indonesia, and Taiwan. Clothing items also include a Qing dynasty suit of armor and a Japanese suit of armor from the late Edo era. 

Berea College: Berea, Kentucky

The collection of Asian art at Berea College is extremely broad in range, including China, Japan, Korea, India, and all the other Asian countries between Indonesia in the South and Tibet in the North.  The collection is a bit uneven, with wonderful works of art shelved next to souvenir items.  The size of the collection is daunting, with an estimated 1,800 objects, many largely unstudied. The focus of the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian art consultancy was the Japanese art collection, consisting of paintings, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, modern Japanese prints (gendai hanga), woodblock-printed books, manuscripts and other calligraphy, armor, kimono, dolls, and small objects such as sword-fittings (menuki), toggles (netsuke) and containers (inro).

Bowdoin College: Brunswick, Maine

The special grant from ASIANetwork supported professional photography of eighteen works of Chinese painting and one printed sutra from the collection of Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Many of the paintings date to the late imperial period, with one painting possibly datable as early as the Yuan dynasty.

Carleton College: Northfield, Minnesota

The approximately 230 Asian objects in the Carleton College collection are of Chinese, Japanese and Korean origin. The core group of artifacts was gifted to the college early in the twentieth century by Dr. Percy Watson, an alumnus and medical missionary in China. Japanese woodblock prints are now being actively collected.  Chosen for inclusion in the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian art initiative are several sculptural works from Ming and Qing China, ceramic works from Korea as well a number of Japanese prints and a Buddhist reliquary.

Colby College: Waterville, Maine

The special grant from ASIANetwork supported digitization of the Asian art housed in the Colby College Museum of Art. The collection includes a broad range of materials now available within the ASIANetwork-Luce collection. Some examples include a number of items related to Chinese funerary traditions - tomb sculptures, bronze ritual vessels, and an ancestor portrait – as well as Japanese woodblock print manuals and Indian regional paintings on paper.

Connecticut College: New London, Connecticut

The grant provided by ASIANetwork allowed for the assessment of Chinese and Japanese works of art housed in the Shain Library of Connecticut College. Items selected for digitization in this project were fourteen Japanese woodblock prints from artists of late 19th through 20th century, including a series showing the process of woodblock printing using a Hiroshige and 21 Chinese paintings from the Chu-Griffis Collection.

DePauw University: Greencastle, Indiana

Items included in this project from DePauw point to the depth and breadth of their collection. Numerous items related to samurai culture, including a rare complete Tanegashima rifle and theatrical items such as Noh masks make up only a part of their Japanese collection. In addition to Japanese works, the Emison Museum contains a large number of Tibetan/Nepalese objects and a smaller number of Hindu/Indian objects as well as various artistic manifestations of Buddhist works.  There are three sets of mandalas in the collection. The South and Southeast Asian collection contains a few exceptional items. The collection of Mughal miniature paintings on ivory are of considerable historical significance and represent an extremely high level of aesthetic and technical quality, indicative of the best of late imperial Mughal patronage. DePauw also possesses eleven unique colored pencil drawings executed by Tibetan refugees in the early 1960s, soon after their escape from Tibet in 1959.>

Dickinson College: Carlisle, Pennsylvania

The Trout Gallery at Dickinson College is located in the Weiss Center for the Arts. The Asian materials represent a relatively small percentage of the whole collection. Some highlights of the collection are items of considerable antiquity, such a Gandharan sculpture, a fine Buddha image in the Thai Sukhothai style, a Juni Shinso of the Kamakura period, and images in the "wayang" style on its surface from Java. Another group of items from the 18th and 19th centuries is noteworthy for its high aesthetic quality.  These include a beautiful 18th century Mahakala Thanka from Tibet, an exquisite ornament made of a tiger's claw in a gold filigree setting, a world-class painted screen from the Tokugawa period, and a fine wooden Bodhisattva carved in the style of the Northern Qi dynasty. For sheer quantity, the largest number of items in the collection are twentieth century paintings and shadow puppets (wayang kulit) from Bali.

Earlham College: Richmond, Indiana

The core of the Earlham collection is its Chinese art works, housed within the museum, which is part of the Lilly Library. These Chinese artworks was donated to Earlham College by now deceased emeritus geology professor James Thorp and his wife Eleanor.  These objects were acquired by Professor Thorp in the 1930s while he traveled throughout China doing geological survey work for the Chinese government, many being received as gifts from individuals he visited.  Thorp would eventually write a book entitled "The Geography of the Soils of China". The Thorp collection comprises approximately 50 art and material culture pieces, largely ceramic with some bronze items as well as a few sundry items, such as a piece of mutton-fat jade and an small hand-blown glass container that recently have been found at Earlham.

Eckerd College: St. Petersburg, Florida

The holdings included in the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian art initiative from Eckerd College are contained in the Special Collection of the College Library. These include mainly Chinese and Japanese painting from the 16th through the 20th century. The Chinese works were mainly donated by two medical doctors, Drs. Samuel and Elizabeth Bekes, who both worked for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, an organization that was “the primary administrative and relief agency for displaced persons” after World War II.  The Bekes worked for this organization on mainland China sometime before 1968.  It is believed that they acquired most of their paintings while they worked in China.

Fairfield University: Fairfield, Connecticut

The Asian Art collection at Fairfield comprises only a little over 30 works (and many of these individual works are parts of sets). These objects include eighteen contemporary paintings by a living artist born and raised in China, six early 20th-century copies of earlier Persian miniature paintings, two early 20th-century Chinese paintings, four examples of Hindu folk art from India, one late 19th-century to early 20th-century Jain marble image (India), and a bronze Buddha head from Thailand.  The campus also houses a Japanese garden commissioned by the owner of the original estate on which the campus was built; the garden was developed adjacent to the original estate house in the 1920s and designed by Arthur Shurtleff, protégé of Frederick Law Olmstead.

Gettysburg College: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg College has approximately 2500 pieces in its college collection, eighty percent of which is from China. This is the result of Dr. Frank H. Kramer, emeritus professor of Gettysburg College who collected art between 1948 and 1963 in order to teach courses on Asian art. His bequest to the college represents two-thirds of the present Asian art holdings. Among the objects included in this digitization project are porcelain and jade works from the Ming and Qing dynasties as well as earlier Han dynasty burial figures and a Korean Silla-era bronze mirror.

Guilford College: Greensboro, North Carolina

Housed in the Guilford College Art Gallery, the strengths of this collection lie in prints, particularly by Japanese artists, and in modern/contemporary Chinese and Japanese works. One may create sub-categories of prints based on period or on subject matter. In the case of Guilford's print collection, images of women or landscapes as sub-categories come to mind. Other works include a sutra by Fang Chao Ling, a female artist and calligrapher of the late imperial period in China, as well as woodblock print works created in Japan by the Frenchman Paul Jacoulet.

Lake Forest College: Lake Forest, Illinois

The core of the Asian art collection at Lake Forest College consists of 65 ceramic pieces from Southeast Asia: Thailand, Vietnam, Khmer, and Burma. They range in date form Neolithic era works to many produced in the 18th century. This collection provides a starting point for a discussion of Asian trade patterns throughout the Southeast Asian region. It also includes domestic materials that were not used for trade, but were produced in northern Thailand and have been found only in that region.

Lawrence University: Appleton, Wisconsin

The Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University house a fine collection of Japanese prints from the 18th and 19th centuries. Since the works were fairly well-known, a consultancy was not deemed necessary, yet forty-five were offered by Lawrence University for inclusion in the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian art initiative. All of these prints belong to the ukiyo-e genre, with a core group originally coming from the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal collection.

Luther College: Decorah, Iowa

Works selected for the ASIANetwork project include items found both in Luther college's Ethnographic Collection, which belongs to the Department of Anthropology as well as items housed in the Fine Arts Collection, which is stored and under the supervision of the Preus Library. A selection of items from Japan and China cover a wide variety of media [wood, jade, embroidery, lacquer and painting] mainly produced between the 17th and 20th centuries. 

Marietta College: Marietta, Ohio

Marietta College houses a relatively small collection of Asian art objects, most of which were acquired due to missionary or student exchange connections. One example of this is a silverplated cup given to a Marietta alumnus by a group of Chinese students in 1906. A pair of Tang dynasty ceramic tomb figurines was donated to the collection by a former faculty member of Marietta College. Other items include works on paper. 

Mills College: Oakland, California

The Mills College Art Museum is located adjacent to the Jane Bearwald Aron Art Center, and houses an Asian collection of approximately 750 items, principally 20th century Japanese ceramics and prints as well as Asian textiles.  The items chosen for the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian art initiative include two South Indian bronzes, an Indian stone jali panel, a Chinese court robe, an archaic Chinese bronze ritual vessel, and one of the many Japanese fukusa found in the museum’s collection. 

Ohio Wesleyan University: Delaware, Ohio

Ohio Wesleyan's Asian art collection is largely divided between printed works on paper, housed in the Ross Art Museum, and objects and scrolls, stored in the Special Collections area of the Beeghly Library. Practically all of the Ross Museum’s Asian materials are from Japan, and this collection's strength lies in Japanese prints of the modern period (after 1868). Items in Special Collections comprise over 90 pieces from diverse regions of Asia, ranging from India to Indonesia, China, Korea, and Japan. These include furniture, scrolls, statues of metal and marble, ceramics, ancient Chinese and Korean coins and amulets, clay roof tiles, textile wall hanging, Chinese clothing, dolls and puppets, furniture, illustrated books (both manuscript and printed) and Korean armor. The largest group of these objects comes from China.

St Lawrence University: Canton, New York

The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery is located in the Griffith Art Center, and the Asian collection includes approximately 200 items, principally made in the 20th century. Items selected for the ASIANetwork project include three Indian paintings, a Cambodian sandstone sculpture, and a Chinese contemporary painting.

St Olaf College: Northfield, Minnesota

Housed in the Flaten Art Museum, the St Olaf College Asian art collection consists of approximately 100 works created between the 18th and 20th centuries of both Japanese and Chinese origin.  The core group of these works are related to the 20th century Yoshida school of Japanese printmaking, including works by both Hiroshi and Toshi Yoshida as well as their students. 

Swarthmore College: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Though small, the Swarthmore collection is distinguished. The most impressive of the pieces came to Swarthmore in the bequest of one alumna, Penelope Mason. Items included in the ASIANetwork project include mainly scroll paintings, with one example from China and sixteen from Japan, in various states of preservation but mostly in good shape. The examples from the Mason collection were created by some of Japan’s best painters of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Union College: Schenectady, New York

The most important examples of Asian Art at Union College are divided between traditional Japanese art and modern Chinese. The Japanese paintings include one example each of work in the Bunchô, Kanô and Tosa styles, while the prints are 17-19th c. woodcuts by the late masters Hiroshige, Utamaro, Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, Eisen, and Eizan. Union College owns seven very large (94” x43”) scrolls, five smaller ones and ten panel lacquer-collages by the Luo Brothers, a selection of which appeared in the exhibition Luo Brothers:  Welcome the World Famous Brand.

Valparaiso University: Valparaiso, Indiana

The collection of Asian art in the Brauer Museum of Art of Valparaiso University consists of ukiyo-e, 17-19th c. Japanese woodblock prints and modern Japanese prints (gendai hanga).  The ukiyo-e include works by Kitagawa Utamaro, Utagawa Hiroshige and Utagawa Kuniyoshi while such modern Japanese print masters as Kaoru Kawano, Mayumi Oda, Masaji Yoshida and most important of all, Watanabe Sadao are also represented. 

Washington & Lee University: Lexington, Virginia

The major holdings of the collection in the Reeves Center at Washington and Lee University are ceramics, specifically Chinese export porcelain. In addition, the ASIANetwork project includes a group of 94 Chinese fan paintings donated to the Reeves Center for the Exhibition and Research of Chinese Painting and Porcelain at Washington and Lee University. The gift was made in 1995 by Mr. Groke Mickey, a retired diplomat and businessman who lives in the area. Within this group are many of the major artists of the period, and many of the works are specifically dated. There are both paintings and calligraphy, and as such they provide a broad overview of the two visual arts most valued by the Chinese. Most, but not all, of these individuals lived and worked in the area around the mouth of the Yangtze River in the metropolitan centers of Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou.

Willamette University: Salem, Oregon

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University has a collection of approximately 250 works of Asian art. The bulk of the Asian collection was acquired through two major gifts. Included in the ASIANetwork project are examples of Chinese export ware porcelains, Japanese Buddhist works as well as secular hanging scrolls and screens dating to the Edo era, and Japanese prints from the Edo and modern eras. Gandharan Buddhist sculpture, a small assortment of Korean and Southeast Asian ceramics, and images of the Germaine Fuller Japanese Garden can also be found in their collection.

Wittenberg University: Springfield, Ohio

Wittenberg University’s Asian Art collection consists of approximately 500 pieces, aquired principally through donations over the last half century. The large majority of works are Chinese in origin, and these form the totality of the objects included in the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian art project.  Multiple media are represented: works in bronze such as a Qing Dynasty bronze bell and much earlier Zhou Dynasty ritual vessel, a Tang dynasty ceramic tomb figurine, and numerous textiles including rank badges along with items of personal attire such as Chinese shoes and coats.

The College of Wooster: Wooster, Ohio

The College of Wooster Art Museum is housed in the recently opened Ebert Art Center and has a modest permanent collection that includes some 600 Asian works of art, principally Chinese ceramics and bronzes, Japanese prints and modern ceramics, along with some Korean and Chinese textiles. Most of the items in the museum collection were accumulated by missionaries working in China and elsewhere in Asia during the first half of the 20th century. Fifteen works of art were selected from the collection as the best of the Museum’s Asian collection as candidates for the ASIANetwork project. These include examples of late Ming/early Qing Dynasty (17-18th century) Chinese objects that recall the archaistic aesthetic of bronze age China as well as several porcelain pieces of the same era.


Copyright © 2004-08, IDEAS Project, all rights reserved.