Kaikodo Journal XXXVIII
The Ancients Among Us
Corresponding to the exhibition held between Spring and Fall, 2022. 16 Chinese and Japanese paintings; 17 Chinese and Japanese works of art. Preface by Mary Ann Rogers. Online edition.
The Ancients Among Us includes works focusing on characters drawn from antiquity, whether historically real, legendary, or figments of an imagination. A human figure mysteriously appears seated dead_center in the forehead of an otherwise typical gilt-bronze taotie mask. A dignified slender-bodied military official represents his class in a sculptural style and garb typical of the early 6th century while an aristocratic couple in kaleidoscopic color lounge on the lid of a kogo incense container, fashioned by the inimitable Monomura Minsei in 17th-century Kyoto. Actual historical figures are immortalized in such painted images as that of the illustrious Zen monk Toran Totaku, a contemporary of Ninsei, and another of a Manchu noblewoman majestically sitting for her portrait in opulent formal attire. Writhing dragons on a late Zhou dynasty garment hook and a tiger captured in ink and color on silk by a painter working centuries later, have lorded over the East and the West from time immemorial, their claim to antiquity without peer. Artists and craftsmen who have slipped into eternity are among us today through their enduring creations in all manner of media, a number of them represented in the exhibition.
Also slipping into eternity are the family and friends taken from us during the past two years of a challenging pandemic. But we were wrong if we thought these would be the greatest of our losses and sorrows. Now our hearts, snatched from our own here and now, are lodged with those who are suffering a most catastrophic tragedy: the staggering and cataclysmic destruction of life, limb and land. These offerings of Kaikodo are presented with the realization that laser focus on righting this unspeakable wrong ought to be at the forefront of our thoughts, concerns and resolves.