Utagawa Kunisada, Prince Mitssji Spying on the Go Players, 1849-50. Polycgrome ink on paper. Edo period. Given in memory of Joyce Campbell. Cantor Arts Center Collection.

STANFORD, CA.- Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University announces the forth and final exhibition in the yearlong “Passion for Collecting” series, highlighting the museum's acquisitions from the past decade. The exhibition “From the Bronze Age of China to Japan's Floating World,” on view July 29-October 18, 2009, presents works from many eras and broad geography, from China's Zhou dynasty, which ruled between the 11th and third centuries B.C.E., to the 1800s in Edo, Japan, and to 20th-century East Asia.

Since the museum reopened in 1999, with an expanded and enhanced facility named for lead donors Iris and B. Gerald Cantor, the Asian art collection at the Center has expanded through significant gifts and selective purchases with donated funds. This exhibition presents some of those acquisitions, covering a diverse range of cultures and historical periods, in a breadth of media, including bronzes, ceramics, woodcut prints, calligraphy, sculpture, and paintings. Highlights include a bronze vessel, a Zhou dynasty food container used during ancient rituals, decorated with animal mask motifs. In contrast to this ceremonial art, 17th-century hand scroll painting “Dream Journey,” by the Chinese painter and calligrapher Zha Shibiao, presents a sketchy, dry-brush rendition of a tour through a mindscape. Zha Shibiao was a leading figure of the Xin'an school.

The exhibition includes a set of prints by 19th-century Japanese printmaker Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, from his most famous series, “New Forms of 36 Ghosts.” One vivid print depicts an ill samurai Minamoto no Yorimitsu, about to strike at one of the ghosts who had been plaguing him in his feverish dreams. Yoshitoshi designed ukiyo-e, "pictures of the floating world," at the rise of the Meiji regime and modernization, and this is one of the late, great executions of a disappearing craft.

Graduate and advanced undergraduate students participated in the selection and research of the objects through a Stanford University seminar organized in conjunction with the exhibition. The seminar, taught by Xiaoneng Yang, the Center's Patrick J. J. Maveety Curator of Asian Art, and Richard Vinograd, the Christensen Professor in Asian Art, was offered winter quarter 2009 through Stanford's Department of Art and Art History.

In addition to this exhibition, on view in the Ruth Levison Halperin Gallery, works from the Center's Asian collection can be seen in galleries off the museum's main lobby.


Western Zhou dynasty (1045-77, B.C.E.), Ritual Food Container (gui). 7 3/8 X 14 5/8 X 10 3/32 in. Bronze. Gift of Peter S. Bing, Cantor Arts Center Collection