On View

Head, possibly a King
Head, possibly a King

Head, possibly a King

Africa, Southwestern Nigeria, Ife culture
12th–14th century
Terracotta with residue of red pigment and traces of mica
10 1/2 x 5 11/16 x 7 3/8 in. (26.7 x 14.5 x 18.7 cm)
AP 1994.04
The art of Ife, which flourished from the twelfth to the fifteenth century in southwestern Nigeria, in the area occupied by the Yoruba people, is unique in Africa in representing human beings with extraordinary naturalism.
Reliquary Arm
Reliquary Arm

Reliquary Arm

French
12th century
c. 1150–1200 (crystal possibly added in the 15th century)
Silver, champlevé enamel on copper, gilt bronze, wood core, glass cabochons, and crystal
24 7/16 x 6 x 3 7/8 in. (62.1 x 15.3 x 9.9 cm)
AP 1979.25
The veneration of the physical remains of saints––or objects with which they had come into contact—began to be practiced during the Early Christian era. In A.D. 393, the Church decreed that every altar must have a relic.
Buddha Enthroned
Buddha Enthroned

Buddha Enthroned

Thailand, Chaiyaphun province
Angkor period (802–1431)
c. 1180–1220
Bronze
69 3/16 x 25 7/8 x 16 1/4 in. (175.7 x 65.7 x 41.3 cm)
AP 1966.09
The identification of Buddhist monarchs with overt symbols of worldly wealth and power was characteristic of the time of the Angkor king Jayavarman VII (1181–c. 1218).
Reliquary Casket
Reliquary Casket

Reliquary Casket

French
13th century
c. 1200–1220
Champlevé enamel on copper, wood core
8 7/8 x 9 1/2 x 4 1/8 in. (22.6 x 24.2 x 10.5 cm)
AP 1979.26
A major center of the manufacture and export of exquisitely crafted reliquaries in the Middle Ages was Limoges, located in southwestern France along several ecclesiastical and pilgrimage routes.
Vishnu
Vishnu

Vishnu

India
Chola period (c. 850–1310)
13th century
Bronze
33 3/4 x 13 3/8 x 12 7/8 in. (85.7 x 34 x 32.7 cm)
AG 1970.01
The Cholas originated a tradition of large-scale, cast-metal Hindu sculpture in the round. These sculptures were carried in ritual processions through the temple and adjoining precincts––the lugs and holes on the base were used for the insertion of poles to support the image.
Seated Nyoirin Kannon
Seated Nyoirin Kannon

Seated Nyoirin Kannon

Japan
Kamakura period (1185–1333)
c. 1230–50
Wood with traces of gilt and pigment
19 x 18 x 10 in. (48.3 x 45.7 x 25.4 cm)
AP 1985.15
Kannon is the Japanese name for the Indian Buddhist deity Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Because of the boundless love he offered to all beings, this was the most popular of all the Buddhist deities throughout Asia.
Bamboo and Rocks
Bamboo and Rocks

Bamboo and Rocks

Attributed to Tan Zhirui
Chinese (active late 13th to early 14th century)
Yuan dynasty (1279–1368)
c. 1275
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
39 1/2 x 14 15/16 in. (100.3 x 38 cm)
AP 2002.02
This delicate ink painting of bamboo and rocks, a recurrent motif in Chinese painting, has recently been attributed to the Yuan-dynasty (1279–1368) painter Tan Zhirui. The elegantly inscribed poem was added by the Buddhist priest Yishan Yining (1247–1317).
The Barnabas Altarpiece
The Barnabas Altarpiece

The Barnabas Altarpiece

Southwestern French or Northern Spanish (?)
(13–14th century)
Southwestern French or Northern Spanish (?), 13–14th century
c. 1275–1350
Tempera, oil, and gold on panel
Left: 35 13/16 x 14 3/8 in. (91 x 36.5 cm) Center: 35 13/16 x 22 7/16 in. (91 x 57 cm) Right: 35 13/16 x 14 9/16 in. (91 x 37 cm) Framed: 41 7/8 x 60 1/4 x 2 1/4 in. (106.4 x 153 x 5.7 cm)
AP 1969.06 a,b,c
These three panels are fragments of a once-larger ensemble, which has been named The Barnabas Altarpiece because of the inscriptions on its lower border alluding to an unidentified Bishop Barnabas.
Arhat Taming the Dragon
Arhat Taming the Dragon

Arhat Taming the Dragon

China
Yuan dynasty (1279–1368)
Early 14th century
Hanging scroll; ink and mineral pigments on silk
48 1/4 x 20 3/4 in. (122.5 x 52.7 cm)
AP 1987.03
Arhats (in Chinese, lohans) were the original disciples of the Buddha, enlightened beings of exceptional wisdom, endowed with supernatural powers. One of their primary roles is to serve as guardians and advocates of the Buddhist Law (dharma).
Pink and White Lotus
Pink and White Lotus

Pink and White Lotus

China
Yuan dynasty (1279–1368)
14th century
Hanging scroll; mineral pigments on silk
53 9/16 x 23 7/8 in. (136 x 60.7 cm)
AP 1984.19
The grandeur of this depiction of lotus blossoms, leaves, and seed pods is eloquent testimony to the considerable position accorded the genre of flower painting in China.
The Raising of Lazarus
The Raising of Lazarus

The Raising of Lazarus

Duccio di Buoninsegna
Italian (active 1278–1318)
14th century
1310–11
Tempera and gold on panel
17 1/8 x 18 1/4 in. (43.5 x 46.4 cm) Framed: 20 7/8 x 22 1/8 x 1 7/8 in. (53 x 56.2 x 4.8 cm)
APx 1975.01
Duccio was the preeminent Sienese painter in the early years of the fourteenth century. He infused the prevailing Byzantine style with a more naturalistic, narrative mode.
Returning from a Visit
Returning from a Visit

Returning from a Visit

Zhu Derun
Chinese (1294–1365)
Yuan dynasty (1279–1368)
c. mid-14th century
Handscroll; ink on paper
11 1/8 x 46 15/16 in. (28.2 x 119.3 cm)
AP 1972.06
The Yuan dynasty (1279–1368), during which time the Mongols dominated China, was one of great distress for the Chinese. For the first time in their history, the entire country was under foreign control.
Dish with Melon Design
Dish with Melon Design

Dish with Melon Design

China
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
early 15th century
Blue-and-white ware, porcelain, cobalt oxide pigment
H. 3 1/16 in. (7.7 cm); Diam. 17 1/16 in. (43.4 cm)
AP 1970.03
Porcelains of the Ming dynasty, namely the blue-and-white wares produced during the fifteenth century, begin a new chapter in the history of Chinese ceramic art.
Flat-Sided Flask
Flat-Sided Flask

Flat-Sided Flask

China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
early 15th century
Porcelain with cobalt oxide pigment under transparent glaze
13 1/8 x 7 11/16 x 5 1/4 in. (33.3 x 19.5 x 13.3 cm)
AP 1968.11
This elegant porcelain of unusual form is a fine example of the technical and decorative excellence of Ming dynasty blue-and-white wares. The flat-sided flask is known in bronze vessels dating to the sixth century B.C.
Parvati
Parvati

Parvati

India
Vijayanagar period (1336–1565)
15th century
Bronze
35 11/16 x 10 15/16 x 9 5/8 in. (90.7 x 27.8 x 24.5 cm)
AP 1969.13
In the Hindu religion, Parvati, the consort of Shiva, is the archetypal mother goddess and fertility image. She benevolently mediates between the worshiper and the divine. This graceful sculpture represents the divinity as an ideal beauty.
Round Dish with Pommel Scrolls
Round Dish with Pommel Scrolls

Round Dish with Pommel Scrolls

China
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
15th–16th century
Carved black lacquer with red layers (tixi)
13 7/8 in. diameter (35.2 cm diameter)
AP 1993.03
Carved, “marbled” lacquer (tixi), a variety unique to China, was made from at least the Song dynasty (A.D. 960–1279) onwards.

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