Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cylindrical vase with a design of a waterfall. Around 1910. The vase shows Namikawa Yasuyuki's use of shaped wires and his skilful adaptation of decoration to form.

Namikawa Yasuyuki was a high status samurai who studied the art of cloisonné  in the centre for this art in Nagoya. He then established his own workshop and studio in Kyoto.

I think this is stunning.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dancing Ganesha
Stone, Western India, AD 650-750
Ganesha dances joyfully, flanked by musicians. He holds a mango or sweetmeat, which he savours with his trunk. One of India's most popular deities, the elehant-headed god is commonly invoked at the beginning of a new enterprise.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tiles from Iran 1800-1900: Yusuf and Zulaikha
This story is written in both the Old Testament and the Qur'an; the Old Testament story is of Joseph and Potiphar's wife.In this part of the story Yusuf appears before the women of Memphis. Overcome by his beauty, they faint or cut themselves with the knives they hold in their hands.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This is a Swedish runestone from about 1100 and was written in memory of a mother, father and brother. It was found outside the church in Ed, Sweden, commissioned by a man named Portsteinn and carved by a well-known stonecarver, Oepir.
It says ' Portsteinn had the landmark made in memory of Sveinn, his father, and in memory of Pórir, his brother. They were abroad in Greece. And in memory of Ingibóra, his mother. Œpircar.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Monday, May 23, 2011

Alfred Jewel, gold, rock crystal and  cloisonné enamel. Anglo-Saxon, 871-899, North Petherton, Somerset.

The Alfred Jewel is probably the single most famous archaeological object in England. It is comprised of a piece of cloisonné enamel depicting a human figure, thought to be a representation of the sense of sight. The eneamel is covered by a polished piece of rock crysta; and set in a gold frame that terminates in a beasts's head. The Old English inscription cut into the frame reads ALFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN ('Alfred ordered me to be made').
The Alfred Jewel was discovered in 1693 by a labourer digging for peat at Newton Park in North Petherton, Somerset. North Petherton is near Athelney, where in 878 King Alfred the Great took refuge from the Vikings and later founded a monastery.
The jewel first entered the possession of Sir Thomas Wrothe, owner of Newton Park, who later presented it to his uncle, Colonel Nathaniel Palmer, a former member of Trinity College, Oxford. He bequeathed it to the University in 1717 with the intention that it would go to the Bodleian Library. Instead, it was deposited in the Ashmolean by his son, Thomas, in 1718.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Friday, May 20, 2011

Frog Purse, 1600s, England, leather, silk, metal thread needlepoint stitches, glass beads, wire.
The purse was probably made as a personal gift to hold herb or perfume sachets.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dressing for the Great Game.
This garment comes from the collection of Central Asian garments of Robert Shaw, the painter and explorer.
In the winter of 1868/69 he wrote 'Kashgar, Tueday April 6th - This morning the Sircar (Treasurer) brought me as a parting present from the King .... a robe of crimson satin, gorgeous with gold and embroidery....'
Shaw was the first Englishman to visit Yarkand and Kashgar, and he related his adventures in his book Visits to High Tartary, Yarkand, and Kashgar. He described the splendid clothes he encountered and mentioned on several occasions receiving gifts of coats and other garments.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
Robert Shaw Visits to High Tartary, Yarkand and Kashgar

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Match coat from Canada: it is a hunting shirt from before 1656 and is made from caribou skin, porcupine quill, beaver claw, sinew and bark. It is thought to be the oldest surviving skin garment of Native American origin.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A small quilted bag from the Mamluk period (1250-1517), Egypt. It is a silk patchwork embroidered in buttonhole stitch with a linen lining.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Monday, May 16, 2011

Coats for children of the Chinese Imperial household ranging from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
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