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Kaikodo Journal XXXIX

Safety in Numbers

Corresponding to the exhibition held between Spring and Fall, 2026. 27 Chinese and Japanese paintings; 13 Chinese and Japanese works of art. Preface by Mary Ann Rogers. Online edition.

The exhibition Safety in Numbers was inspired by two recent acquisitions whose raison d’etre was linked inextricably to a specific number. The first was a Heian-period wooden image of Shō Kannon from a staggering group, the Sentai-Kannon, “One-Thousand Kannon,” created for and enshrined in the Kōfukuji in Nara until recent times. The second was a most engaging and dynamic Ming-dynasty fahua porcelain jar featuring eight immortals aloft in a deep blue firmament. Numbers in Asian culture, in everyday life and in artistic expression on every level are profoundly meaningful and are considered consequential, decisive, and inevitably impactful. Rather than plumbing the philosophical depths of this critical phenomenon, we have used it as an invitation to bring together works of art in which numbers or multiples are of some essence, resulting in an exhibition that touches many bases in time and place.

While a Tang period white amphora, such as the one in the present exhibition, might stand secure in its own regal beauty, it is not alone in the world of Chinese ceramics, where its family is extensive. Two stalwart soldiers from the Six Dynasties period proudly represent their platoon. A kosometsuke dish of the early 17th century with incised qilin décor seems to stand alone, almost unique. Still, it exists within an enormous fold of Jingdezhen porcelains destined for markets abroad. Japanese paintings open a world of safety in numbers, whether at a horse or fish market or in an intimate group of masters of haiku poetry, brought together in a work by Yosa Buson (1716-1784). A 16th-century Chinese painting of the jovial Budai shows him celebrated by a band of numerous happy children, while the Qing-dynasty painter Zhang You captures a troop of monkeys at play in a remote mountain environment. Many of the works of art in the exhibition testify to the efficacy of numbers in making visual and aesthetic statements, while others serve more practical requirements.

Kaikodo Journal XXXIX - Spring 2023 (web)Online only
Kaikodo Journal XXXVIII - Spring 2022 (web)Online only
Kaikodo Journal XXXVII - Spring 2021 (web)Online only
Kaikodo Journal XXXVI - Spring 2020 (web)Online only
Kaikodo Journal XXXV - Spring 2019 (web)Online only
Kaikodo Journal XXXIV - Spring 2018 (web)Online only
Kaikodo Journal XXXIII - Spring 2017 (web)Online only
Kaikodo Journal XXXII - Spring 2016 (web)Online only
Kaikodo Journal XXXI - Spring 2015Available
Kaikodo Journal XXX - Spring 2014Available
Kaikodo Journal XXIX - Spring 2013Available
Kaikodo Journal XXVIII - Spring 2012Available
Kaikodo Journal XXVII - Spring 2011Available
Kaikodo Journal XXVI - Spring 2010available
Kaikodo Journal XXV - Spring 2009Available
Kaikodo Journal XXIV - Spring 2008Available
Kaikodo Journal XXIII - Spring 2007
Spring in Jinling - Spring 2004
Kaikodo Journal XXII - Spring 2002
Kaikodo Journal XXI - Autumn 2001
Kaikodo Journal XX - Autumn 2001Available
Kaikodo Journal XIX - Spring 2001Available
Kaikodo Journal XVIII - November 2000
Kaikodo Journal XVII - Autumn 2000
Kaikodo Journal XVI - May 2000Available
Kaikodo Journal XV - Spring 2000Available
Kaikodo Journal XIV - November 1999Available
Kaikodo Journal XIII - Autumn 1999Available
Kaikodo Journal XII - Autumn 1999
In Two Dimensions - Spring 1999
Kaikodo Journal XI - Spring 1999
Kaikodo Journal X - November 1998Out of Print
Kaikodo Journal IX - Autumn 1998Available
Kaikodo Journal VIII - May 1998Available
Kaikodo Journal VII - Spring 1998Available
Kaikodo Journal VI - October 1997Not Available
Kaikodo Journal V - Autumn 1997
Kaikodo Journal IV - May 1997OUT OF PRINT
Kaikodo Journal III - Spring 1997OUT OF PRINT
Kaikodo Journal II - Autumn 1996OUT OF PRINT
Kaikodo Journal I - Spring 1996OUT OF PRINT
Backward Glances - February 1996
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