Shigaraki stonewares have been created in Japan for about 1,000 years and have long been admired for their natural glazes and rugged surface texture formed by quartz particles in the clay. Asian art historian Meher McArthur will trace the history and evolution of this ancient ceramic tradition from its origins as a functional stoneware for the masses to a tea ware for the Samurai elite and merchant classes to its recent status as highly collectible art ceramic.
The seventeenth century Chinese painter Chen Hongshou (1599-1652) is best known for his enigmatic paintings of personages from the distant past. Recent research reveals that these depictions reflected in part the artist's state of mind and the social conditions he endured as the Ming dynasty disintegrated around him. A close examination of his best known paintings opens a window onto a turbulent time as one artist confronts the challenges associated with dramatic dynastic upheaval.