Spotlight on the Collection: February 2017

/ Spotlight on the Collection

Lamp, Western Han dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 24), China, Jiangxi province, Bronze, T.2014.263a&b

*This work will be on view later this year as part of an exhibition of Asian art from the Weldon collection.

This lamp is a masterpiece of design. A small dish on the back of the goose once held oil and a wick that burned to provide light. Smoke from the wick was drawn up into the fish that the goose is holding and then dissolved in water held in the body of the bird, providing a smoke free light. Two similar lamps were excavated in 2015 in eastern China from the tomb of the Marquis Liu. He died in 59 B.C. and was buried in the Haihunhou cemetery in Nanchang, Jiangxi province.

The lamp is part of a gift of the Asian art collection of Henry and June (Jimmy) deH Weldon. This gift to the Museum is transformative. These major works from China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia, spanning thousands of years of history, enrich our holdings in many ways. The collection is particularly strong in Chinese works from the Han, Tang, Liao, and Song dynasties (206 B.C. – A.D. 1279). Ceramics, tomb figures, and sculpture are complimented by Japanese Buddhist sculptures of the Kamakura period (1185-1336), and folding screens of the Edo period (1615-1868). Indian and Himalayan Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain sculptures also abound.

The Museum will present an exhibition of highlights from this outstanding gift in late 2017. The exhibition will feature over 60 pieces from the collection. Over time, pieces from the Weldon collection will be integrated into the permanent display of Asian art at the Museum.