University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Ainu Robe from Japan [Object of the Day #31]

Ainu Robe

By: Stephen Lang

This Ainu robe was collected by  Hiram M. Hiller (1867-1921) a physician and amateur ethnologist during a trip to Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan. The trip itself lasted only a month but covered an area stretching from the southern coastal villages of Hokkaido, near Shiraoi (where this piece comes from), to a circuit around […]

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Gisan Painting from Korea [Object of the Day #24]

Gisan Painting

By: Stephen Lang

    This watercolor was done by the artist Chun-gŭn Kim (artist name: Gisan) in 1886 in Choryang, Korea.  It illustrates one of the many games played in Korea during the 1800s. Two country girls, about eighteen years of age, in traditional Korean attire can be seen practicing choo-cheon or swinging. Gisan beautifully renders their billowing skirts and […]

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Zhuang Embroidered Jacket [Object of the Day #20]

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By: Stephen Lang

One of the newest acquisitions in the Asian Section is a collection of ethnographic textiles from the Philadelphia Civic Center Museum formerly known as the Commercial Museum. Originally exhibited at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, the approximately 400 pieces entered the museum and expanded the range of the textile collection to include South China, Indochina, […]

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Seated Luohan from China [Object of the Day #17]

Seated Luohan

By: Stephen Lang

The Penn Museum’s luohan is one of the most famous and important pieces in the museum’s collection. The fact that it is slightly larger than life size makes it a marvel of technology. Firing something so big  is extremely hard to do without destroying the piece in the process.  The modeled  facial features also imply […]

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Rhinoceros Libation Cups

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By: Stephen Lang

The Chinese antiques market continues to grow as evidenced by the recent Antiques Roadshow episode that featured a set of rhinoceros libation cups valued at over a million dollars.   This morning as I flipped through the channels I came across the Today show and saw a plug for a segment with the owner of […]

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Xuanzang and the Silk Road Pt. 4

By: Stephen Lang

Back in June of 2010 I wrote about travelling to the Nara National Museum for an exhibition about China’s influence on Japan during the Tang Dynasty. see:  http://penn.museum/blog/museum/crating-and-packing/ During my trip I visited a temple called Yakushi-ji Temple.    Near the entrance there was one object that  caught my eye, a replica of the pedestal […]

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Xuanzang and the Silk Road Pt. 3

By: Stephen Lang

The iconography of Xuanzang, and its history,  is quite fascinating.   Bearing the typical shaved head of a Buddhist monk, Xuanzang is depicted in our painting with a large backpack of sutras, a canopy over his head (with a hanging incense burner) and holding a scroll in his left hand and a fly wisk in […]

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Xuanzang and the Silk Road Pt. 2

By: Stephen Lang

In my last post I introduced a Japanese painting currently hanging in the Director’s office, here is the basic information about the piece: Title: Buddha with Sixteen Benign Deities (Shaka juuroku zenshin)  釈迦十六善神 Period: Late 17th – Early 18th century Material: Ink and Color on Silk Provenience: Japan Artist: Signed Shuho What is going on […]

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Xuanzang and the Silk Road

By: Stephen Lang

The Director’s office sees all kinds of visitors.  From curators and researchers to  board members and potential donors, there is a diversity of interests and topics that get addressed over light cocktails and finger foods.  For this reason we have been trying to create a focal point in the room that relates to a particularly salient exhibit or […]

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The great FREEZE out

By: Stephen Lang

On Friday the 29th of October starting at 6:00 PM,  the Penn Museum will officially be frozen out of our collections database ARGUS.  For two months we will be unable to update locations for objects or input new information about the collection.  This is because we are finally transitioning to our new database KE Emu! That […]

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