University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Zhuang Embroidered Jacket [Object of the Day #20]


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, […]

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 […]

Rhinoceros Libation Cups


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 […]

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: 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The NEW Chinese Painting Rack

By: Stephen Lang

Working in a museum can sometimes seem like an exercise in eternal patience.  You seem to always be planting the seed of something that will only come to fruition weeks, months, or even years from now.  One such project has been my dream of having the Chinese paintings in our collection (some of which have […]

Crating and Packing

By: Stephen Lang

After spending some time in Osaka seeing the sites, ( bunraku, fugu, kobe beef, Ceramics Museum, shopping) I headed to the city of Nara ready to get down to work.  I arrived at the museum with the intention of condition reporting  our statue and its base and then overseeing the crating of each.  If time […]

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