Japanese. Bronze Censer, late 19th–early, 20th century. Bronze, 20 3/4 × 11 3/4 in. Gift of Mrs. Guy Blackinton 1938.3


December 18, 2021 - July 17, 2022

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

Featuring objects from around the globe, from ancient to contemporary, this exhibition explores the creative capacity of works made to enclose and hold materials in a wide variety of forms and styles. As these objects demonstrate, the need to design vessels for multiple purposes led to elaborate creations not only in function but visual appeal as well. These designs reflect the artistic expression of the culture and time period in which they were made, sometimes restrained in ornament with subtle details, and other times unrestrained with extravagant and ornate surface decoration. 

While these objects were once a part of daily life, from objects used in ceremonial settings to personal adornment, they have become artworks in their own right. A number of works in this exhibition push the boundaries of containment—acting to simultaneously hold its contents while allowing for a secondary element—like light or smoke—to permeate its walls. In more than 50 objects from the permanent collection, including never-before-seen works, the artistic possibilities of materials, such as clay, glass, and metal, as well as an array of highly skilled techniques, are revealed. 

From the Exhibition

  • Debbie Weinstein, American, born 1974. Vessel, n.d. Stoneware, 4 1/2 × 11 × 9 1/4 in. Gift of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger 2011.80

  • Thom Bohnert, American, born 1948. White Basket, 1976. Low-fired stoneware, Egyptian paste and microchrome wire, 18 1/4 × 10 × 9 1/2 in. Gift of the Friends of Modern Art 1976.11

  • Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, German, founded 1710. Widderkorb (Ram's Head Basket), 1815 - 1860. Porcelain, 7 1/4 × 14 1/2 × 9 in. Gift of Johanna E. Harmon 2020.91

  • Maya culture, Guatemala. Cocoa Jar with Monkeys, ca. 800 – 1200 CE. Clay, 20 × 10 in. Gift of Robert Drapkin 2008.267

  • Chinese. Lian (Lein) Box, n.d., Han Dynasty. Glazed earthenware, Other (Lid): 3 5/16 × 6 7/8 in. Other (Base): 5 5/8 × 6 7/8 in. Gift of Dr. Gerald J. Shepps 1996.19

  • Komai. Japanese. Six-sided Box, 19th–20th century, Meiji Period, 1868–1912. Gold and gold-bronze, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel, and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel 1982.399