Buddhist Art in India, Ceylon and Javaby J. Ph. Vogel; A. J. Barnouw

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  • Buddhist Art in India, Ceylon and Java by J. Ph. Vogel; A. J. BarnouwReview by: Ludwig BachhoferThe Art Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Dec., 1938), p. 448Published by: College Art AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3046609 .Accessed: 15/06/2014 04:32

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    THE EXULTET ROLLS OF SOUTH ITALY, II, PLATES. By Myrtilla Avery. 2o6 pls. Princeton University Press. r977. $20.0o. This splendid series of plates, reproducing all the scenes

    in the extant Exultet Rolls and including other comparative material, for the first time completely illustrates this most important group of South Italian miniatures.

    The preponderant r6le played by the Benedictines in fostering and spreading about both the arts of the illumi- nator and the fresco painter throughout medieval Europe, makes a careful study of these South Italian manuscripts obligatory for anyone who wishes to gain a comprehensive view of the general development of early medieval painting as a whole. Together with the comparatively few extant wall-paintings of the region they constitute our only source of knowledge for the evolution of the Benedictine style at its fountainhead. The Mater Ecclesia of the Catalonian frescos of Pedret must have been directly inspired by some such Ecclesia as the one in the tenth century Exultet of Beneventum, now in the Vatican Library. Other instances of direct contacts between South Italian painting and that of the north might be cited. The influence of this Bene- dictine painting was further reinforced and spread about by the art of Cluny which itself probably owed much to South Italy.

    These Exultet Rolls which date from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries were used at the benediction of the Pascal Candle on Holy Saturday. The origin of the hymn from which the texts were derived has been attributed to St. Augustine, and celebrates the triumph of Christ over Night and Death. Biblical and other scenes are employed to illustrate the text including a pastoral eulogy of the bees who made the wax for the candle and symbolized the chaste fecundity of the Virgin. As the roll was read from the ambo by a deacon, the miniatures were often put in an opposite direction to the text, so that as it was unrolled they could be seen by those of the congregation who were standing near.

    The plates (many of them double) show all the scenes in the 28 known Exultet Rolls, or fragments, together with those of three closely allied liturgical rolls, the Benedictio Fontis of Bari and the Pontifical and the Benedictio Fontis in the Casanatense Library. In addition, the ninth century frescos at S. Vincenzo al Volturno are shown, as well as other comparative material. The manuscripts are alphabetically arranged according to their present location. An excellent feature is the labelling of all figure-subjects in the margins of the plates so that they may be quickly and easily identified.

    Although much of the material will be of primary inter- est to students, in sheer beauty many of these scenes com- pare favorably with the best of the production of any of the schools of medieval illumination, and would well repay the attention of those who are chiefly interested in the work for its own intrinsic quality. To cite but a few ex-, amples of outstanding quality, picked at random, we may mention: the Angels Blowing Trumpets, from the Bari Exultet (pl. V); the initial "V" with Christ Enthroned, and the Tellus, also from Bari (pl. VII); the Christ Enthroned, from the Bari Benedictional (pl. XV); the Tellus and the Mater Ecclesia, from the Exultet in the British Museum (pl. XLV); the Bees, from the Mirabella Exultet (pl. LIX); the Tuba Intonat Salutaris, from the Vatican (pl. CXIX).

    The detailed descriptive notes, as Miss Avery states: "are restricted to objective explanation planned to make the plates more intelligible to the general reader. Discussion and argument are reserved for the Text volume." The notes include a detailed description of the actual condition of the miniatures, their dimensions, the colors employed, the costumes, repairs and restorations, comments on the

    neums by Dom Gabriel Beyssac, the Benedictine expert on liturgy and musical notation, and a wealth of addi. tional information. Bibliographical references are given at the end of the notes on each roll. In addition, there is a general subject index to the plates as well as an icono- graphical index.

    Miss Avery is to be congratulated upon having this im- portant work so adequately published. Students of me- dieval illumination will await with great interest the publi- cation of the Text, which will fill a gap of long standing in the research for this field.


    L'EVOLUTION DES BRONZES CHINOIS ARCHAYQUES D'APRES L'EXPOSITION FRANCO-SUEDOISE DU MUSEE CERNUSCHI, MAI-JUIN. Prdface de M Rend Grousset, ix, 64 pp.; I pl. in heliotype, 14 pl. with drawings, Paris, Editions d'Art et d'Histoire, 1937. This booklet is in reality the catalogue of an exhibition

    of early Chinese bronzes, held at the Mus6e Cernuschi, and displaying objects from the Paris and the best Swedish collections. The preface by Ren6 Grousset gives a short report on the state of our present knowledge about Chinese bronzes and their history.

    The descriptions of the exhibits are preceded by a few remarks on the characteristics of the stylistic phase which they belong to; these remarks are exclusively drawn from the fundamental work of Karlgren: "Yin and Chou in Chinese Bronzes," Stockholm, 1935. The arrangement is clear, the significant features are illustrated by simple drawings. Unfortunately, amongst the types of Shang vessels, two very important ones were forgotten, the kuei and the hsien, though the kuei at least is mentioned in the catalogue. To the types disappearing in Middle Chou times (from about 950 B. C. onward) the ch'ia(kia) must be added.

    The evolution of archaic Chinese bronzes is certainly not clarified in this little book; but it contains a concise account of Karlgren's findings, and as such it is welcome. It is, however, a pity that it is illustrated with drawings only, which gives scarcely more than a hint of how the objects really look.


    BUDDHIST ART IN INDIA, CEYLON AND JAVA. By J. Ph. Vogel. Translatedfrom the Dutch by A. .7. Barnouw, 15r PP.; 39 pl. Oxford, I936. This book is more than a mere translation of "De Budd-

    histische Kunst in Voor-IndiE" by J. Ph. Vogel, for two more chapters have been added to the original, dealing with Buddhist art in Ceylon and Java.

    The text is written by an author who had spent a life- time in the study of Indian art and archaeology. This means that when a scholar of Vogel's standing confines himself to drawing the barest of outlines, the result will be an essentially correct and dependable presentation. This work is, indeed, a distillation of our knowledge of the rise and decline of Buddhist art in the countries named.

    One may, perhaps, find fault with the description of Gandhiran art since the newly discovered last phase of it is not mentioned. It was iust this phase which exercised the strongest possible influence on Buddhist art in Central Asia, and, through it, on the pre-archaic stage of Buddhist sculpture in China. It may be added that the name of the famous Chinese pilgrim ought to be transliterated Hsfian- tsang in a book written in English, Hiuen Tsiang being the French transcription. But these are mere trifles which can not mar the excellent impression made by this little book.


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    Article Contentsp. 448

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Art Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Dec., 1938), pp. 339-450Volume Information [pp. 449-450]Front MatterPrinciples of French Classic Painting [pp. 339-358]A Chronology of Greek Sculpture 400 B.C. to 40 B.C. [pp. 359-418]Once More "The Friedsam Annunciation and the Problem of the Ghent Altarpiece" [pp. 419-442]Notes and ReviewsNote on Review by Richard Florsheim of Is Art a Superstition or a Way of Life? By Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, in The Art Bulletin, XX, p. 126 f [p. 443]Note on Review by Frank Jewett Mather, Jr. of Giorgio da Castelfranco, Called Giorgione, by G. M. Richter, in The Art Bulletin, XIX, pp. 596-601 [pp. 443-444]Review: untitled [pp. 444-446]Review: untitled [pp. 446-447]Review: untitled [p. 447]Review: untitled [p. 447]Review: untitled [p. 448]Review: untitled [p. 448]Review: untitled [p. 448]


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