Smithsonian's Freer Sackler

Art Museum

Discover ancient relics and modern masterpieces at the Smithsonian's museum of Asian art, the Freer|Sackler, located on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

The Freer|Sackler is where Asia and America meet. Our collections feature ancient to contemporary masterpieces from Japan, China, Korea, Southeast Asia, India, and the Near East. In addition, we have an important collection of 19th-century American art, punctuated by James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room.

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Freer|Sackler staff do not identify, authenticate, or appraise objects or works of art that do not belong to the museum; nor do they offer advice about the care and conservation of objects. Staff members cannot make statements regarding authenticity or monetary value. The curators’ primary responsibility is to research, publish, and exhibit the collections that belong to the museum.

10 months ago
If this #ValentinesDay has proven all too true the immortal words of Wisdom-Rocker Pat Benatar, that “Love Is A Battlefield”, then you’d best have a few Myo’o by your side. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Lust as Weapon ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Myo’o, deities that express the Buddha's wrath against evil, are prominent in esoteric Buddhism. This school recognizes and emphasizes the disruptive power of sexual passion. It personifies this force in Aizen Myo’o, turning lust's energy into a weapon in the struggle for enlightenment. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Believers embroiled in matters of the heart invoked Aizen Myo’o to attain guidance and calmness. And during the tumultuous years of the late 1200s, warriors in Japanese armies invoked the deity as they fought against invasions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Aizen Myo'o (Ragaraja) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Buddhist sculpture, Japan, Kamakura period, 1293 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Wood with color and applied gold leaf ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Worship of the fierce Buddhist deity Aizen Myo'o reached a peak when the deity was invoked to protect Japan against two attempted invasions by the Mongols in 1274 and 1281. This sculpture, an example with a rare dated inscription on the interior of the pedestal, was made at the height of devotion to this deity. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ H x W x D (overall): 43.1 x 32.2 x 29.9 cm (16 15/16 x 12 11/16 x 11 3/4 in) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #sculpture #bell #bow #Buddhism #Japan, #Kamakura period (1185 - 1333) #lotus #mask #vajra, #Japanese #Art #freersackler
1 year ago
Five Festival Painting #FSDeepDive This set of five paintings (F1999.5.1-.5) by Ikeda Koson (1806–1866) depicts five ancient Japanese imperial court rituals (Gosekku) which had evolved from Chinese models during the Nara (710–794) and Heian (794–1185) periods. Elements of these rituals, sometimes referred to as the five sacred festivals, are found in contemporary Japanese festivals. By the late Edo period (1600–1868) The festivals had acquired multiple features beyond the original format but what the artist attempts to reveal in these paintings is the essence or distillation of the early Japanese court models. Japanese of the Nara and Heian periods regulated their lives on a lunar calendar and adapted many Chinese seasonal festivals. 1. The Kojohai Ceremony, New Years Day The first festival, Kochohai, (F1999.5.1) celebrated the event in which the crown prince and assembled nobles processed before the emperor on the first day of the first month. 2. A Ceremonial Poetry Party in March Next, Kyokusui (.2) celebrated on the third day of the third month, observes the custom of courtiers floating wine down a stream in the imperial garden; as the cup passed each guest would take a sip and recite a poem. This ritual originated from a more basic purificatory rite in which symbols of past pollution were cast upon the running stream. 3. A Special Display of Iris Flowers in May The festival of Ayame no Dai (.3) derived from the Chinese custom of hanging mugwort from eaves to dispell evil spirits. In Japan the iris was endowed with similar protective properties. On the third day of the fifth month, tiny roofed structures filled with iris leaves symbolozing a talismanic protection of the hall of state and the nation and were placed at the southerly corners of the Hall of State Ceremonies (Shishinden). 4. Tanabata Offerings for Improvement in Certain Skills in July The late summer feast of Kikkoden (.4) celebrated the once-annual crossing of the Vega and Altair constellations, known respectively as Weaver and Cowherd, on the seventh night of the seventh month. This celebration was replete with romantic connotations. Chinese women were said to have prayed for success in love and proficiency in calligraphy and weaving on this night. The painting here indicates a similar expectation on the part of Japanese court women. Because of its chronological proximity to the feast of the dead in Japan, it also became associated with certain purification rituals. 5. The Feast of the "Double-Yang" in September Choyo no En (.5) derived from the Chinese custom of drinking chrysanthemum wine on the ninth day of the ninth month. In Japan this approximated the time of the rice harvest and thus took on the role of a harvest celebration. Music from ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #Painting, #celebration, #eating, #Edo period (1615 - 1868), #Japan, #kakemono, #WWII-era provenance, #Japanese #Art, #dc #smithsonian #igdc #museum #art #artmuseum #asianart #history #arthistory #freersackler #instamuseum
1 year ago