A-to-Z Index

GARTH 206  - Charles Maddox

Spring 2012

Required Procedures:

1) Choose one of the objects below and note its current location.

2) Carefully look at the photograph and read the information provided.

3) Research any unfamiliar words or imagery before your visit.

4) If your object is in Skyline Museum: go to Festival room 1108 which is open Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm, no appointment needed.  Please let the gallery attendent know that you are here for Charles Maddox's paper assignment so that you can sign in and out on the appropriate sheet.

If your object is currently in storage, make an appointment with Dr. Kathryn Stevens (stevenke@jmu.edu) at least one week before you wish to see the object.  Dr. Stevens is generally available M-F from 10am-4pm.  At your scheduled appointment, bring a pencil and camera to the Charles Lisanby Center located in Festival room 1010.

5) All images and information below may be used, citing this website as your source.  If you have further questions about your selected object, please email Dr. Kate Stevens (stevenke@jmu.edu).

Onna Shibaraku

Onna Shibaraku
Ryusai Shigeharu (1803-1853), possible restrike

Woodblock Print, 12.6x16cm
MAC 82.4.101

On view in Skyline Museum

This small print captures a kabuki actor in full costume for the lead role of Tomoe Gozen in “Onna Shibaraku”, a parody of a famous kabuki play called “Shibaraku”. This type of actor is called an onnagata, a male actor who specializes in female roles.

The story of the play is that an evil lord has plans to take control of the country and has arrested a group of nobles who have opposed him. As he is about to execute them, Tomoe Gozen cries, “Shibaraku!” (“Wait!”) and enters to rescues the nobles.

While the original play “Shibaraku” featured a male hero and was more serious in tone, “Onna Shibaraku” is at heart a comedy.  Tomoe Gozen performs superhuman feats of strength for laughs, destroying many enemies with a single stroke of her sword and delivering lines tongue in cheek. At the end of the play, after vanquishing all of her enemies, she protests that, because she is only a woman, she cannot make the famous, dance-like exit required by her character. She tries to join the audience instead, until a theatre manager appears onstage and persuades her to make the famous exit with him.

Koshohei Waking His Goats

Koshohei Waking His Goats
Yanagawa Shiegenobu II, circa 1868-1912

Surimono Print, 21x18 cm
MAC 82.4.81

On view in Skyline Museum

This small print captures a kabuki actor in full costume for the lead role of Tomoe Gozen in “Onna Shibaraku”, a parody of a famous kabuki play called “Shibaraku”. This type of actor is called an onnagata, a male actor who specializes in female roles.

The story of the play is that an evil lord has plans to take control of the country and has arrested a group of nobles who have opposed him. As he is about to execute them, Tomoe Gozen cries, “Shibaraku!” (“Wait!”) and enters to rescues the nobles.

While the original play “Shibaraku” featured a male hero and was more serious in tone, “Onna Shibaraku” is at heart a comedy.  Tomoe Gozen performs superhuman feats of strength for laughs, destroying many enemies with a single stroke of her sword and delivering lines tongue in cheek. At the end of the play, after vanquishing all of her enemies, she protests that, because she is only a woman, she cannot make the famous, dance-like exit required by her character. She tries to join the audience instead, until a theatre manager appears onstage and persuades her to make the famous exit with him.


Ryuryukyo Ryukaen (Shinsai Masayuki), circa 1800

Surimono Print, 21x18 cm
MAC 82.4.62

Currently in storage; please make an appointment

The monkey in this print is known as a sarumawashi, or street performer.  His large black and gold hat, called a sanbaso eboshi, is part of the costume for a ritual dance performed at New Years.  Because the hat was often worn by monkey street performers, it became a symbol of the monkey and, by extension, the monkey years of the zodiac.  Over the monkey’s shoulder is a staff called a gohei, a ritual wand made by attaching zig-zag strips of gold, silver, white or multicolored paper to a wooden staff. 

Originally an offering to the Shinto deities, the gohei stood deep within the sanctuary and came to be viewed as an object in which the spirit of the god resided.  Because of this connection to the divine they were often used in rituals to ward off disease as well as to purify worshippers at the shrine.

Takarabune (Ship of Good Fortune)

Takarabune (Ship of Good Fortune)
Toyohiro Utagawa, Group C copy circa 1868-1912

Surimono Print, 21x18 cm
MAC 82.4.66

Currently in storage; please make an appointment

The Seven Lucky Gods sailed in the Ship of Good Fortune.  As seen in the print, this oddly constructed ship was composed of a shrimp curled around a sail.  There are also several objects of the gods within the ship, such the uchide nokozuch, or lucky mallet, of Daikokuten the God of Wealth. Similar to a Greek cornucopia, the mallet could magically produce anything desired when struck. Also visible are the scrolls of Fukurokuju and Juroujin, the Gods of Longevity.

On New Year's Eve, the Seven Lucky Gods enter port together on their treasure ship to bring happiness to everyone. Originally the motif of the treasure boat came from China, but only later did the Japanese add such treasures as the wish-granting jewel, the mallet of good fortune, the robe of invisibility, cloves, and a treasure bag.

Mother & Child Mask

Mother & Child Mask
Baga Peoples from Guinea, West Africa, early 20th century

Carved wood, 52.5cm tall
MAC 2004.1.05

On view in Skyline Museum

Description:   The structure of this mask is composed of two human heads; one head likely female (top) and one likely male (bottom.) The male head is tapered and oval shaped with a jutting chin and mouth. The nose is a long triangle with slit eyes on either side, which the performer could not see though. There are multiple scarification marks on this mask on the right cheek as well as forehead. These marks indicated the regular placement of scarification on the Baga peoples.

The female head adjoins the male head with breasts and arms covering some portions of the male face. The breasts are elongated with flat ends. The fingers are delineated and separated yet rectangular. The shape of the face is also a tapered oval, however, is tapered in the opposite direction. The cone-like coiffure of the woman surrounds the head. The woman has a cylindrical nose, slit eyes, and a jutting mouth. She also has scarification on her right cheek as would be present within the women in society.

Neither of the heads visually shows ears. The face mask is worn over the face, with an open back. It is likely that the performer was accompanied by elders of the community to guide through the village as the performer cannot see through the mask itself. There was also raffia or cloth attached to the mask from behind and below to cover the exposed dancers head and body.

The use of heads atop one another is common within the Baga community. The naturalistic treatment of the faces is common among the Dan and Guro cultures of the Ivory Coast. Within Western Africa many ideas were spread through different cultures, such as this naturalistic treatment. However, because of the lack of evidence for dual faces on the mask, this is likely from the Baga culture in Guinea.

The true function of this mask is unknown; nevertheless, the mask likely took on the spirits of decease from the village. Masks were not, as it is commonly thought, a symbol of the dead, but rather a physical embodiment of the spirits. This mask does not represent the spirit, but rather is the spirit. The function of masks like this was lost in the early 20th century based on the intervention from outside countries.

Reliquary Basket Figure

Reliquary Basket Figure
Fang/Kota Peoples, West Africa, circa early 20th century

Carved wood, 46.5 cm tall
MAC 2004.1.11

On view in Skyline Museum

Reliquary firgures carved to stand above basket or barkclith receptacles containing the bones of ancestors are common among the Bakota and Fang of Gabon. Some are also found among the Ambete to the south of the Bakota, but are rarely found among tribes in other areas.

The figures do not represent the ancestors themselves; rather, they are the guardians of the bones, placed there to ward off evil which might desecrate the ancestral remains.

In this area of Africa, nearly all groups venerated the relics of ancestors, which they kept in containers with other collected objects that impart power (shells, animal hide, horn, wood.)

It is believed that the bones of the deceased were imbued with the power that the ancestor had during their lifetime, and it was believed that these powers could be drawn upon to help the living.  Consultation of ancestral relics preceded all significant events.    The container holding the bones and other magical substances was often surmounted by a carved head or figure (reliquary).  The construction and shape of the reliquaries took different forms among the different groups, but the function was generally similar.  In modern day these figures are normally displayed unadorned and cleaned, however traditionally they were often adorned with feathers and collars when not in use.  These reliquaries were also given libations by the living that were seeking help, thus giving it a variation of patinas across the area, encrusted were the Kota reliquaries, and the Fang reliquaries would get a shiny oily hue.  They are regularly quoted (though incorrectly) as being symbolic references or portraits of the deceased ancestor; they were in fact protectors of the relics, a warning to anyone approaching that sacred materials were within.  Often to protect the relics from prying children who are only introduced to the relics of their ancestors during their initiation ceremonies and rites of passage.

When this area was colonized under the French in the early 1900's, the French officials banned  both the reliquaries and the priests that kept them.  This ban was kept in place for the first decades of the 20th century.

Nuremberg Chronicle side a

Nuremberg Chronicle side b

Nuremberg Chronicle (German Edition)

Hartmann Schedel (author) & Michael Wolgemut (woodcutter), 1493

Hand colored woodcut print, 41x26cm
MAC 76.1.962

Currently in storage; please make an appointment

The Nuremberg Chronicle is an illustrated world history. Its structure follows the story of human history as related in the Bible and includes the histories of a number of important Western cities. Written in Latin by Hartmann Schedel, with a version in German translation by Georg Alt, it was published in 1493. It is one of the best-documented early printed books and one of the first to successfully integrate illustrations and text.

Latin scholars refer to it as Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles) as this phrase appears in the index introduction of the Latin edition. English speakers have long referred to it as the Nuremberg Chronicle after the city in which it was published. German speakers refer to it as Die Schedelsche Weltchronik (Schedel's World History) in honour of its author.

The Chronicle was first published in Latin on 12 July 1493 in the city of Nuremberg. This was quickly followed by a German translation on 23 December 1493. An estimated 1400 to 1500 Latin and 700 to 1000 German copies were published. A document from 1509 records that 539 Latin versions and 60 German versions had not been sold. Approximately 400 Latin and 300 German copies survived into the twenty-first century. The larger illustrations were also sold separately as prints, often hand-coloured in watercolor. Many copies of the book are also coloured, with varying degrees of skill; there were specialist shops for this. The colouring on some examples has been added much later, and some copies have been broken up for sale as decorative prints.

The publisher and printer was Anton Koberger, the godfather of Albrecht Dürer, who in the year of Dürer's birth in 1471 ceased goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher. He quickly became the most successful publisher in Germany, eventually owning 24 printing presses and having many offices in Germany and abroad, from Lyon to Budapest.

Der Weiss Kunig

Der Weiss Kunig (The White King)
The Life and Reign of Emperor Maximilian I
Hans Bergkmair II, circa 1531

Woodcut Print, 16x13.5 cm
MAC 76.1.939

On view in Skyline Museum

Der Weiß Kunig - literally translated as The White King - was prepared in the 16th Century in an apparent collaboration between at least four artists: Leonard Beck (1480-1542); Hans Burgkmair (1473-1531); Hans Schäuffelein (1480-1540); and Hans Springinklee (1490-1540). Jost Dienecker (also known as Jost de Neeker) is among the artisans thought to have worked as engravers on the work. Also known as The Life and Reign of Emperor Maximilian I, Der Weiß Kunig purports to provide a chronicle of the life of the Emperor.

Der Weiß Kunig was written by Marx Treitzsaurwein following suggestions and dictation provided directly by Emperor Maximilian I. The allegorical styling of the Emperor as The White King arose from a variety of sources, including the clear symbolic correlations between 'white' and 'wisdom' and the traditional white harness Emperor Maximilian I carried in tournaments and battles. Other rulers are also represented allegorically throughout Der Weiß Kunig, including the King of France (The Blue King), the Duke of Milan (The King of the Worm - a reference drawn from the Milanese coat of arms), and the King of Hungary (The Green King).

The allegorical tale is told in three parts: the first deals with previous Hapsburg rulers; the second with the birth and early life of Maximilian (through to his marriage to Maria von Burgund); and the third with the rule of Emperor Maximilian I. For the first two elements, Treitzsaurwein drew on a variety of historical sources, but for the third, relied upon direct comment from the Emperor. The third portion of Der Weiß Kunig, therefore, has value as a source document for the era.

The woodblocks used in Der Weiß Kunig were carved in the first two decades of the 16th Century, but were not published prior to the Emperor's death. In 1665, the manuscript was rediscovered in Schloss Ambras and a century later, the woodcuts were rediscovered in Graz. Publication of the text and woodcuts followed - after more than 200 years of the whole work being thought lost - in Vienna by Kurzböck in 1775.

Despite the propagandist intent and the somewhat romanticized imagery within Der Weiß Kunig, the illustrations provide a valuable and intriguing insight into late-Medieval and early-Renaissance Court life and the costumes, housewares, weaponry and architecture of the period.

Waterwheel side a

Waterwheel side b

“Waterwheel,” from Vitruvius Teutsch (German edition by Walther Ryff), Peter Flotner, 1548.

Woodcut Print, 30x30cm
MAC 76.1.981

On view in Skyline Museum

The woodcut depicts a waterwheel, accompanied by German text, and was originally part of the German translation of the Roman architect Vitruvius’ Ten Books on Architecture, nicknamed the German, or “Teutsch,” Vitruvius. The title indicates it comes from “chapter six,” but does not mention which of the ten books in Vitruvius’ text. This is followed by a subtitle, which describes the extraordinary engine that raises water from a stream and includes the woodcut illustration of the mechanism. The page concludes with an explanatory paragraph. Although not specified in the text, the design has been likened to “Archimedes screw,” which was one of the first hydraulic pumps invented by the Greek scientist and mathematician Archimedes. The leaf is also printed on the reverse, where it is entitled “the Tenth Book of Vitruvius.”

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (80-20 b.c.e.) was called an architect, but was more like an engineer. He worked in the Roman army designing bridges and aqueducts. He is particularly famous for the statement, “architecture requires firmness (strength), utility (function), and beauty (or aesthetic effect).“ Renaissance humanists were fascinated with his descriptions of Roman towns, houses and villas, temples, and the classical orders. In Book Ten he discusses various machines. The Latin text of Vitruvius was rediscovered in 1414 in the library of Saint Gall by the Italian humanist Poggio Bracciolini. Unfortunately, it had no images, so sixteenth century artists had to recreate illustrations based on the verbal descriptions. The Venetian friar Fra Giovanni Giocondo produced the first illustrated edition in 1511, and dedicated it to Pope Julius II.

Although the Madison Art Collection inventory records had dated the woodcut to 1502, this early year would be most unlikely. In fact, the page precisely mirrors fol. 303r in a 1548 translation of Vitruvius by Walther Ryff, which is preserved in the University of Heidelberg library and can be viewed online. Ryff was a controversial writer and apothecary from Strasburg, who translated everything from architectural and medical texts to cookbooks and self-help health guides. This first German Vitruvius with illustrations by Peter Flotner of Nuremberg was published by Johann Petreius.

Peter Flotner (c. 1490-1546) was a successful artist and designer in Nuremberg, which was also home to Albrecht Durer and one of the great Renaissance cities in Northern Germany. Flotner’s style shows Italian influence, probably because in 1520-21 he visited Northern Italy. His waterwheel illustration may have been derived from Cesare Cesariano’s Vitruvius, published in 1521. Unlike Fra Giocondo’s illustration of 1511, the screw mechanism is not placed in the water on a diagonal axis, but rather lies horizontally and looks more like the kind of waterwheel that ran a sixteenth century gristmill. This highlights the artist’s difficulty in imagining the form based on the Latin description. The mechanical vocabulary in Vitruvius was difficult and the artist was probably working from a German translation of an Italian translation of the Latin original. Flotner signed and dated his woodcuts “P.F.” or used a mallet and skew as symbols with his monogram. Flotner’s prints were published posthumously. Some Vitruvius illustrations were repeated from another volume by Ryff, Perspectiva, published in Nuremburg in 1547.

(Kathleen G. Arthur)

Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn

Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn
William Hogarth, 1738
Etching & Engraving, 47x64 cm
MAC 77.2.6

Currently in storage; please make an appointment

Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn is a painting from 1738 by William Hogarth reproduced as an engraving and issued with Four Times of the Day as a five print set in the same year. It depicts a company of actresses preparing for their final performance before the troupe is disbanded as a result of the Licensing Act 1737. Brought in as a result of John Gay's Beggar's Opera of 1728, which had linked Robert Walpole with the notorious criminal Jonathan Wild, the Licensing Act made it compulsory for new plays to be approved by the Lord Chamberlain, and, more importantly for the characters depicted, closed any non-patent theatres. The majority of the painting was completed before the Act was passed in 1737, but its passing into law was no surprise and it was the work of a moment for Hogarth to insert a reference to the Act itself into the picture.

While not part of the Four Times of the Day series it appears that it was Hogarth's intention from the outset to sell the five prints together, Strolling Actresses complemented Four Times just as Southwark Fair had done with A Rake's Progress. Whereas the characters in Four Times play their roles without being conscious of acting, the company in this picture are fully aware of the differences between the reality of their lives and the roles they are set to play. Some of the goddesses portrayed by the inhabitants of the scenes in Four Times of the Day are reproduced here as characters in the forthcoming play.

The troupe are preparing for the play The Devil to Pay in Heaven, a fiction that was probably intended as a satire on the mystery plays which were heavily controlled by the church. Hogarth contrasts the roles of gods and goddesses that appear in the play with the mortal reality at every turn. The leaky, draughty barn stands in for the heavens in which they will shortly be play acting. The playbill on the bed introduces the cast and aids the viewer in identifying the figures portrayed: Diana, Flora, Juno, Night, Siren, Aurora, Eagle, Cupid, two Devils, a Ghost and attendants.

Like other Hogarth prints, such as Southwark Fair and The Enraged Musician, a pretty woman takes centre stage - in this case, Diana, identifiable by her crescent moon headdress, practicing her pose. She imitates the Diana of Versailles, but she looks foolish as she has neither quiver nor arrows. Her hooped petticoat has fallen to her feet, exposing her thighs, and the low neckline of her shirt reveals her breasts; she is anything but the chaste goddess. She acknowledges the attention of the viewer with a slight smile. To her left Flora, is dusting her hair with a flour-shaker in front of a broken mirror propped up by a candle, in an effort to prepare herself for the role of the fertility goddess. Cupid "floats" above them with the aid of a ladder, fetching two stockings for Apollo, identifiable from the sun on her head, who points out their hanging place, on a cloud beneath a dragon, with the aid of a bow. Next to the actress playing Diana, two children dressed as devils help themselves to a mug of beer left on the altar like a sacrifice. A woman next to them (possibly their mother) is shocked by their behavior but has her hands full assisting the "ghost" to bleed a cat from its tail. As with many of Hogarth's cats, this one is reaping the rewards of life as an outsider. An old wives' tale of the time claimed that to recover from a bad fall you should suck the blood from the freshly amputated tail of a tom cat. Here the cat has the role forced upon it in the same way as the actresses fill inappropriate roles.

Above the women in this corner, a face peers down through the opening in the barn roof. Here a low mortal looks down on the gods from heaven, rather than the other way round. He fills the role of Actaeon, who accidentally saw Diana naked and was changed into a stag and torn apart by his own hounds as punishment. Here though the viewing of Diana is intentional. In the right foreground, Juno practices her lines, while Night, identifiable by her star-spangled headdress, darns a hole in her stocking.

In front of Night and Juno is Hogarth's take on a vanitas, but here the symbols of death are replaced by comic figures: a monkey wearing a cloak urinates into a helmet; one kitten plays with an orb while another plays with a harp; bags and coffee pots litter the table. The monkey and kittens presumably fill the roles of attendants mentioned in the playbill; their play acting as a human serves to highlight further the difference between acting and reality.

To the left of the picture, Ganymede, who is not yet fully dressed, accepts a drink of gin to ease the pain of his toothache from the Siren, who is being attended by Aurora, identified by the morning star on her headdress. In the foreground Jove's eagle feeds her child, the food rests on a crown with a small folded paper bearing the title The Act against Strolling Players. Next to her, Ganymede's breeches lie on the small bed adjacent to the playbill which is slipping perilously close to the chamberpot.

Horace Walpole (the son of Robert Walpole, the First Lord of the Treasury, who had pushed through the Licensing Act) rated Strolling Actresses as Hogarth's greatest work "for wit and imagination, without any other end", but Charles Lamb, while acknowledging the sense of activity and camaraderie, found the characters lacking in expressiveness.

Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism

Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism
William Hogarth, 1760-1762

Etching & Engraving, 45x32 cm
MAC 78.1.16

Currently in storage; please make an appointment

One of William Hogarth's last great works of art, Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism explores the ever dangerous world of fundamentalist religion. Presiding from a great height a preacher-performer terrorizes his congregation with a pair of puppets representing the devil and a witch. The text beside him has opened to a page reading, "I speak as a fool." Below, another minister thrusts an icon down the dress of an attractive girl seemingly in the throes of religious ecstasy. Hogarth continues the poignant comparison between religious and sexual excitement to the right of this couple by inventing a religious thermometer containing various emotional states such as, agony, lust, madness and suicide. At the thermometer's base rests a diseased brain.

In the foreground a woman splinters a gin glass while giving birth to rabbits. This was an actual person (a Mrs. Tofts) who made her living by performing such tricks. Above her the church clerk, surrounded by cherubs, embodies the words written on his lectern, "Continually do cry." Behind, the faces of the congregation are convulsed with horror and torment. Over them hangs a threatening chandelier which is titled, "A New and Correct Globe of Hell".

Standing apart from this scene of religious fervor is a bemused, pipe smoking man peering in from the window. Being the only sane individual depicted, he is thus both physically and emotionally removed from this obvious madhouse.

This original engraving was both designed and engraved by William Hogarth and published by William Heath in 1822.