Oxford College Collection of Asian Artifacts, 1894, undated

Emory University

Oxford College Archives

Oxford College Library

134 Few Circle

Oxford, GA 30054


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/r7wt7

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Oxford College of Emory University.
Title: Oxford College Collection of Asian Artifacts, 1894, undated
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 011
Extent: 6.70 linear ft. (9 boxes)
Abstract:Contains a variety of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese artifacts, most of them purchased in Kobe, Japan by William Patillo Turner while he was a member of the Japan Mission of the United Methodist Church, South.
Language:Materials in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply. The figurines found in Boxes 1-4 are restricted due to the fragile nature of the silk textiles. Digital surrogates are available.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Additional Physical Form

Digital surrogates are available for each artifact. Contact the Oxford College Library for more information.

Related Materials in Other Repositories

William P. Turner Photograph Collection, Pitts Theology Library, MSS 136.

Separated Material

48 items from the original Oxford College Collection of Asian Artifacts was transferred to the Michael C. Carlos Museum in 1969. These artifacts are no longer housed at Emory.

Related Materials in This Repository

Oxford Local History Collection, OX-MSS004.


Purchased by William Patillo Turner, 1894, and by unknown donors.


[after identification of item(s)], Oxford College Collection of Asian Artifacts, Oxford College Archives, Oxford College Library, Emory University.


Processed by Oxford Library Staff.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

The Oxford College Collection of Asian Artifacts was, in part, purchased by William Patillo Turner while he was a member of the Japan Mission of the United Methodist Church, South. A graduate from Emory College in 1889, Turner moved to Japan in 1891 and served as a supply instructor at a night school for young men in Kobe, Japan. During his years in Kobe, Turner sought items that he could send back to his alma mater, to be displayed at Emory College to serve as an example of their missionary work. The funds used to purchase these artifacts came from donations and from Emory College. By November 1894, all artifacts had been purchased and were shipped back to the United States.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of Japanese figurines along with numerous artifacts purchased in Kobe, Japan from 1891-1894, and also from unknown sources. Seven of the eight figurines depict Japanese women in traditional kimonos, while the other figurine is of a couple dancing in gold attire. Most of the collection consists of metal, wood, basketry, stone and ceramic objects; such items include plaques, incense burners, prayer beads, altar boxes, feng shui compasses, and several carved stone artifacts. Although most of the artifacts were purchased in Kobe, Japan, some artifacts are of Korean and Chinese origin.

Also included is the original letter to Emory College president Warren A. Candler from William Patillo Turner describing the items he purchased for display in the Emory College Museum.

Arrangement Note

Organized by material type and then size. Numerical values in Boxes 6-8 represent trays of material.

Finding Aid Note

Descriptions for the artifacts have been supplied by students from Professor Cheryl Crowley's JPN 363: Literary and Visual Culture in Japan class, 2015.

Container List

Box Folder Content
1 Woman in blue and red kimono. From the position of her hands, she may have once held an umbrella or fan. She wears a blue furisode (long sleeved kimono) and a red-gold underrobe, her obi (sash) trails behind her, it is gold brocade; 5 x 6 x 15, undated
2 Woman in blue, green, and white kimono, leaning to one side and looking up. She wears a long sleeved kimono (furisode), yellowish in color, now deteriorated. Also visible are red and blue material. She has high geta (clogs) and a simple hairstyle crowned with a tegara (crepe cloth); 5 x 6 x 15, undated
3 Woman in red and beige kimono, her neck and body are exaggeratedly tall and slender. She wears an elaborate hairstyle held in back with a red ribbon. Her furisode (long sleeved kimono) is pale blue with flower pattern decorations, lined with red. Beneath it she wears a red underrobe. Her obi (sash) is pale yellow and trails behind her; 4 x 6 x 11, undated
3 Woman in blue and brown kimono. From the position of her hands, she may originally have held an umbrella. Her jacket is blue and ties with a knotted cord; fragments of a patterned material appear to have covered it originally. She wears very high geta (clogs). She has a broad obi (sash) in a straw color and a brown kosode (short sleeved) kimono, under which are several more layers in contrasting colors. Her hairstyle is simple, pulled back with a tegara (crepe cloth) at the crown of her head; 4 x 6 x 11, undated
3 Cloth figurines of a male and female dancer in the national dress of Thailand. A gold paper label affixed to the stand reads "Made in Thailand"; 4 x 6 x 11, undated
4 Woman in dark brown and beige kimono holding an umbrella. She is in a pose that suggests movement, probably dancing, with her head tipped to the side and her hands raised. Her hair is swept up in a style typical of the 18th or 19th century, with a decorative comb in front and a red cord in back. Her outer robe is blue; it has long trailing sleeves characteristic of an unmarried woman. The materials of her costume are deteriorated; 4 x 6 x 11, undated
4 Woman in formal attire, bowing Korean doll wearing a formal orange hanbok with a headpiece and hair accessories. Her face is pale and made up with blush, eyeliner and lipstick. Two distinguishing features of this doll are the red dot on her forehead and the beauty mark on her right cheek. It is implied by her headpiece (jokduri), hair stick (dinyeo), and hair ribbons (daenggi), that the doll is a bride in a traditional Korean wedding dress; 4 x 6 x 11, undated
4 Woman in green and beige kimono, She is probably married, judging from the simple hairstyle and kosode (short-sleeved kimono). The placement of her hands suggests that she was originally holding something. Her geta (clogs) are very high. She wears a pale gray jacket with a lace tied near the collarbone, a broad obi (sash), and several layers of kimono. Color of the underrobe visible at her wrists is reddish. The piece is deteriorated; 4 x 6 x 11, undated
Metal Artifacts
5 Matching incense burners decorated with mythological creatures. They stand on four tall legs, and each are capped by a beast, likely a qilin (chimera); 5 x 4 x 8, undated
5 Qilin (chimera) and rider (2 pieces). Rider sits astride a qilin, a mythical beast that is part dragon, part deer. The beast's mane is curled in waves; it lifts its muzzle towards the rider. The rider is holding an object in one hand, flames and spotted markings are engraved on the beast; 9 x 4 x 10, undated
5 Lobster with a dragon wrapped around its antenna [right antenna broken]; 8 x 3 x 7, undated
6 1 Maedate (decorative device for a helmet) in copper and silver-colored metal. Cloud patterns separate a crescent and disk; 5 x 1 x 5.5, undated
6 1 Plaque depicting entrance to Shintô shrine, carved bronze plate showing the caretaker and the Torii. It was probably not used in religious practice, but rather sold as a souvenir. On the left, a caretaker with a broom looks up at the sky. On the right, a pigeon is pecking at the cobblestones of the path leading under the torii. The panel behind the torii is stamped with floral patterns of chrysanthemum and wisteria. A stone lantern is to the right of the torii; 8 x 1 x 12, undated
6 1 Man on horse, 2 piece bronze set. Man astride a horse, bearded, and dressed in the clothes of a Taoist immortal. The horse has a high saddle, elaborate tack, and a long blanket draped over its back; 7.5 x 2.5 x 7, undated
6 1 Bronze scepter; 5.5 x 2 x 1.5, undated
6 1 Pair of brass vases, similar to those used in offering flowers on home altars; 4 x 2 x 4, undated
6 2 Brass pieces, two appear similar to candle holders, two have stamped designs; 10 x 9 x 3, undated
6 2 Small brass container, nearly spherical, with a pointed lid. Overall the shape resembles a water droplet. Vessels of this kind, called mizutama, are frequently used to hold water offerings at home altars; 3 x 3 x 1.5, undated
6 2 Water pipe for smoking tobacco, brass; 12 x 2 x 4, undated
6 2 Ornamental brass bell with an orange braided string, and a wood handle striker with silk wrapping; 4 x 4 x 3 and 11 x 1.5 x 1.5, undated
6 2 Metal-topped carved wood, wood carved with a spiral design and heavily varnished, capped with stamped silver-colored metal. Possibly the handle of a European-style umbrella or walking stick; 9 x 2 x 1.5, undated
6 3 Matching pair of cloisonné vases with identical decoration. Panel with a bird and two roundels/stylized flowers on one side, panel with flowers opposite; 8 x 4 x 5.5, undated
6 3 Handwarmer, small copper container with a handle. The top of the container is perforated in order to allow smoke to escape; 6 x 5 x 3.5, undated
6 3 Brass crane perched on tortoise, both representing longevity in Chinese and Japanese culture. On the right hand side of the crane, there is damage indicating that this piece was previous attached to something else. The object is most likely meant to be a house ornament to wish longevity on the receiver; 5 x 2.5 x 8, undated
Wood and Basketry Artifacts
7 1 Large plain wooden altar box with metal medallions and textile tassels inside. Wooden Altar Box is in the shape of closet with two hinged doors. The character 金 appears in circular gold medallions on both sides of the main image. Decorative pieces of cloth are attached both to the side doors and the center. The main image is in the shape of a Shintô shrine. On the reverse is a price stamp that is translated to read "Fixed price/55 sen/Konpira Shrine Votive Box/Organization Regulations Office," with the crest of Konpira Shrine in the center; 12 x 5.5 x 2, undated
7 1 Large wooden prayer beads w/ fabric tassel and silk pouch. Contains basket, Buddhist rosary of brown wood and white and blue beads, and a pouch made of red silk with an elaborate embroidered pattern. The embroidery is typical of China; 9.5 x 6.5 x 2, undated
7 1 Small prayer beads; 9 x 3 x 3, undated
7 1 Silk pouch with embroidery; 9 x 6 x 1, undated
7 2 Red and gold painted plaque, inscribed with the meaning "The Heavenly Official Bestows Happiness." A charm used for good luck in China, given by W. B. Bonnell; 12 x 6 x 1, undated
7 2 Small Red Lacquer Zushi for Deity (probably Daikokuten), wooden image of Daikokuten inside a small portable shrine. The exterior is painted red; the interior is gold. Drapery almost covers the image of the deity; 3 x 2 x 4.5, undated
7 2 Statue of the deity Daikokuten standing on a pair of rice sacks. His skin is black; he wears a mustache. In his left hand he holds a bag; his right hand is empty; 3 x 2 x 4.5, undated
7 2 Miniature woven lidded basket with handle, curved sides, and four feet; 2 x 2 x 2.5, undated
7 2 Large feng shui compass, disc-shaped object with a compass in the center, used in feng shui calculations. The eight trigrams circle the center; the surface of the disc is covered with minute lines and inscriptions in red and black; 7.5 x 7.5 x 0.5, undated
7 2 Small Feng Shui compass dating back to as early as the 17th century. The region and the maker of the object is labeled on the back, indicating that the object originates from Xiuning County in the Anhui province of China. Eventually it was brought over to Japan, possibly as a souvenir, and then to America in the late 19th century by William Patillo Turner; 5 x 2.5 x 0.5, undated
7 2 Small portable altar box of a Buddhist deity likely 11-Faced Kannon (Sanskrit: Avalokitesvara). The deity's right hand is extended in the "welcome" (Varada) mudra. Its left hand is broken; several faces appear on its head. The deity is framed in a flame-shaped aureole. The wall of the shrine behind the deity is painted gold. The exterior of the shrine is black; at its top is a ring; 2.5 x 1.5 x 6, undated
7 3 Carved rickshaw, tortoiseshell and thread; 4.5 x 2.5 x 3.5, undated
7 3 Lacquer smoking box with pipe and 2 brass pieces. Lacquer box and lid is decorated with a tree in gold; 9.5 x 3.5 x 3, undated
7 3 Benzaiten zushi (small portable shrine). Zushi (small portable shrine) of the female deity Benzaiten (originally the Hindu deity Saraswati), one of the Seven Lucky Deities. The exterior is covered with red paint or lacquer. The daity holds a club, sword, wish-granting jewel, snake, and the torii gate with old man's face appears on her head; other objects originally in the deity's hands are missing; 5.5 x 3.5 x 9, undated
7 3 Red painted wooden bell, large wooden percussion instrument carved in the shape of a bell, painted red, gold, and black, typically used in Buddhist rituals; 6 x 4 x 6, undated
Stone and Ceramic Artifacts
8 1 Ceramic figure of five monkeys, one wearing an eboshi (court cap), another a white jacket; 4 x 3 x 3.5, undated
8 1 Ceramic figure of a seated farmer with a basket on his back. The artist and city of origin are unknown, but the craftsmanship of the object suggests the artist was not of high rank, also seen in the lack of a signature on the piece. It is unknown if the Old Farmer was meant to resemble a particular historical, religious, or folk figure; 3.5 x 4.5 x 5, undated
8 1 Cylindrical vessel made of white porcelain painted with pink, green, yellow, blue, and orange-colored glaze depicting a jovial Chinese official with a servant holding a large fan or shade. The shape is typical of containers used to hold writing brushes; 3 x 3 x 5, undated
8 1 Porcelain Guanyin statue, presumably brought from China to Japan in the Meiji Era (1868-1912). It appears to be in a color mingled by blue and white. The Guanyin is sitting on top of a base made of lotus flower. Even though the left hand of the Guanyin Statue is missing, the right hand is holding a infant. It represents the spirit of maternity and brings good fortune of creating new life and birth; 4 x 3 x 9.5, undated
8 1 Small stone carving of a cannon on a wheeled base; axles of the wheels are made of wood or bamboo; 5.5 x 3 x 4, undated
8 1 Carved teapot with separate lid bearing rough decorations, carefully designed; 7.5 x 4.5 x 2.5, undated
8 2 Ceramic lidded vessel, object is a non-glazed ceramic lidded vessel with grey and red smoke patters on the lid which extend to the body as well. The overall vessel is very smooth. On the back of the lid, there is an engraving pattern with two characters which means "reward," 5 x 5 x 2.5, undated
8 2 Matching small narrow necked porcelain vases, Chinese style typically used for flowers and placed in front of a Buddhist image on an altar; 3 x 1.5 x 4, undated
8 2 Small Japanese porcelain incense acquired around the area of Kobe, Japan, in the 1890s. The object is a glazed, stoutly shaped vase with depictions of various flowers and pottery painted in blue on the outside; 3 x 3 x 2, undated
8 2 Small stone carving with a flat bottom. On the top there is a deep well in the center of a circular disk. The sides depict robed figures standing in a pine forest against a backdrop of cliffs. It bears no identifying marks but appears Chinese in origin; 3.5 x 2.5 x 2, undated
8 2 Stone box with a lid, probably made of soapstone. The image of clouds, banana leaves, and a woman (possibly an apsara or celestial maiden) scattering flowers from a basket is carved in low relief on the lid. The sides of the box have an incised floral pattern; 5 x 3 x 2, undated
8 2 Small stone sculpture of a boar, brown with a black eye, one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac; 3.5 x 1.5 x 2, undated
8 2 Small stone sculpture of a rabbit, white with a red eye, one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac; 3 x 1.5 x 2, undated
8 2 Black and white stone carving of the rat, one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac; 3 x 2.5 x 1.5, undated
8 2 Stone carving of the dog, one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac; 3 x 2 x 2, undated
8 2 Horse, small carving in red stone, one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac; 4 x 2 x 2.5, undated
8 2 Ink grinding stone made of black rock. The surface, which is damaged, depicts a jar; cloud motifs are inscribed in the background. The mouth of the jar is broken into two deep wells; 3.5 x 5.5 x 1, undated
8 3 Old man sitting on top of a group of rocks. He portrays a calming and acknowledging expression. A black frog is sitting on his right leg which seems to be laid sideways and his other knee is propped up. Both of his hands are placed on top of the left knee. This man seems to be wearing a black robe with feathers around his waist, which makes it seem like a feather belt. He also carries feathers on his shoulders and his white beard is in the shape of a feather as well. Overall, he displays an unkempt and unclean appearance; 4 x 3 x 3.5, undated
8 3 Smiling, seated man with a frog on his head, holding a basket. He is dressed in a robe covered with feathers. His clothing appears windblown; 6 x 3.5 x 9, undated
8 3 Coral-shaped sculptures (3) collected by William Patillo Turner in Kobe, Japan; 8 x 11 x 3, undated
9 1 Letter to Warren A. Candler from William Patillo Turner, 1894 November 24
9 2 Inventory of artifacts drafted by William Patillo Turner, 1894