Volume 49 – Number 6
This issue features three articles in our series ‘Women in Asian Art’. The first, by co-curator Daisy Yiyou Wang, celebrates the exhibition ‘Empresses of China’s Forbidden City’, currently on view at the Peabody Essex Museum and moving next year to the Freer|Sackler. The show includes some 200 works from the Palace Museum as well as pieces from US museums, and seeks to increase awareness of the presence and influence of women at the Qing dynasty court. The second article also focuses on the Qing imperial court, specifically on Empress Dowager Cixi. The de facto ruler at the end of the dynasty, Cixi had numerous images made of herself masquerading as the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Guanyin. Yuhang Li introduces a unique painting of Cixi in this guise, produced for a specific patron without Cixi’s consent. Our third article in the series turns to Japan, with a look at Kaigetsudō school depictions of courtesans. Curator Janice Katz discusses these large-scale images in connection with the Weston Collection exhibition, on view at the Art Institute of Chicago from November to next January.
Included also in this issue is an overview of recent Chinese art acquisitions at the Norton Museum of Art, by curator Laurie Barnes. The Florida museum will be opening a brand new wing in February, with five galleries dedicated to the display of Chinese art. Ina Asim’s article considers a highlight of the opening exhibition, a set of Ming dynasty panels depicting the Lantern Festival in Nanjing.
Next in our line-up, Nicoletta Celli takes a fresh look at some early bronze Buddhas, with implications for the wider field of the transfer of Buddhist art to China. Ada de Wit and colleagues present some Asian artworks in the Wallace Collection, while James Beattie and Richard Bullen reveal how the Chinese art collection of New Zealander Rewi Alley was deployed as a form of cultural diplomacy.
COVER: Empress Dowager Cixi (detail)
By Katharine A. Carl (1865–1938), Qing dynasty (1644–1912), Guangxu period (1875–1908), 1903
Oil on canvas, 297.2 × 173.4 cm
Transfer from the Smithsonian American
Art Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
(see p. 42)
Costumed stilt walker carrying a child
Detail of The Lantern Festival
China, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Wanli period
(1573–1619), probably late 16th century
Six panels, ink and colour on silk,
each: height 206.4 x 57.8 cm
Norton Museum of Art
Acquired through the generosity of the John
and Heidi Niblack Fund, (2015.108.1-.6)