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.
Standing Shaka Buddha
Standing Shaka Buddha

Standing Shaka Buddha

Kaikei
Japanese (active c. 1185–1225)
Kamakura period (1185–1333)
c. 1210
Gilt and lacquered wood
54 7/16 x 19 1/4 x 13 1/2 in. (138.2 x 48.9 x 34.3 cm)
AP 1984.01 a,b,c
Kaikei, the great master sculptor of the Kamakura period (1185–1333), established the primary school of sculpture that produced statuary for the major temples in Nara and Kyoto.
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.
En no Gyoja
En no Gyoja

En no Gyoja

Japan
Kamakura period (1185–1333)
c. 1300–1375
Polychromed wood
54 15/16 x 32 x 26 in. (139.6 x 81.3 x 66 cm)
AP 1984.13
En no Gyoja was the legendary founder of the Shugendo sect, which emphasized the practice of religious austerities, and he thus came to represent the archetypical ascetic recluse. He is said to have died in the early eighth century after living a hermetic life in the mountains.
Seated Arhat
Seated Arhat

Seated Arhat

China, Shaanxi province
Late Yuan to early Ming dynasty (1279–1368/1368–1644)
c. 1300–1450
Cast iron, traces of pigment
30 11/16 x 19 7/8 x 16 in. (78 x 50.5 x 40.7 cm)
AP 1984.14
This engaging portrait of a monk represents an arhat (in Chinese, lohan), one of a group of “perfected beings” who, in the Buddhist faith, were the original disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Twenty-Five Bodhisattvas Descending from Heaven
Twenty-Five Bodhisattvas Descending from Heaven

Twenty-Five Bodhisattvas Descending from Heaven

Japan
Kamakura period (1185–1333)
c. 1300
Pair of hanging scrolls; gold and mineral pigments on silk
39 x 15 3/4 in. each (99 x 40 cm each)
AP 1986.11 a,b
In this pair of paintings, twenty-five small music-making divinities, bejeweled and richly dressed in gold, float down from the heavens on diaphanous clouds. The divinities are bodhisattva attendants to Amida Buddha, who inspired in his followers the hope of eternal life in his Western Paradise.
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.
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.
The Apostle Saint James the Greater Freeing the Magician Hermogenes
The Apostle Saint James the Greater Freeing the Magician Hermogenes

The Apostle Saint James the Greater Freeing the Magician Hermogenes

Fra Angelico (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole)
Italian (c. 1395/1400–1455)
15th century
c. 1426–29
Tempera and gold on panel
10 9/16 x 9 3/8 in. (26.8 x 23.8 cm) Framed: 18 5/8 x 17 7/16 in. (47.3 x 44.3 cm)
AP 1986.03
Born Guido di Piero, the artist known as Fra Angelico acquired his nickname not long after his death, when he was referred to as “Angelicus” by a fellow Dominican monk for his pious life and artworks.
Four Mandalas of the Vajravali Series
Four Mandalas of the Vajravali Series

Four Mandalas of the Vajravali Series

Central Tibet, Tsang (Ngor Monastery), Sakya order
c. 1429–56
Thangka, gouache on cotton
35 x 29 in. (88.9 x 73.7 cm)
AP 2000.01
Most Tibetan art was created in connection with the complex rituals and meditational practices of Vajrayana Buddhism (the Diamond Path), in which mandalas (cosmic diagrams) are employed as visual representations of the sacred realms inhabited by a host of deities.
Virgin and Child (The Borromeo Madonna)
Virgin and Child (The Borromeo Madonna)

Virgin and Child (The Borromeo Madonna)

Attributed to Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi)
Italian (1386/87–1466)
15th century
c. 1450
Terracotta
32 7/8 x 20 1/2 in. (83.5 x 52.1 cm)
AP 2006.01
Celebrated for his powers of invention, range of expression, and technical prowess, Donatello was the preeminent Italian sculptor of the fifteenth century.
The Madonna and Child
The Madonna and Child

The Madonna and Child

Giovanni Bellini
Italian (c. 1438–1516)
15th century
c. 1465
Tempera, possibly oil, and gold on panel
32 1/2 x 23 in. (82.5 x 58.4 cm) Framed: 48 x 39 1/8 x 5 in. (121.9 x 99.4 x 12.7 cm)
AP 1971.06
Giovanni Bellini’s half-length devotional paintings of the Madonna and Child enjoyed great popularity in Venice, and later in his career he employed a large workshop to meet the demand.

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