Category Archives: Exhibitions

Upcoming event in Starr

This Friday, September 25, 6:00-8:00 PM, we will have a special event in honor of the recent restoration of an important Korean painting in our collection, Cascading Waterfall in Mountains, by Ko Hui-dong.  The event will take place in our reading room, and will include a number of brief lectures in addition to the unveiling of the restored painting.  A small exhibition of books and other material about Ko Hui-dong is also on view.  To attend this event, please register at  We look forward to seeing you there.

Ko Hui-dong poster


New exhibitions in Starr

We currently have selections from two donated collections on exhibit in our library.  One collection was received relatively recently, and is on display for the very first time.  The other collection was received longer ago, and was on display once before.  We hope you will enjoy viewing them both.


On view in our reading room is a small selection of Chinese ink stones and decorative ink sticks from the collection donated to our library in 2010 by John D. Roy, Columbia, B.A., '68, Ph.D., '84; Professor emeritus, Brooklyn College City University of New York.   



A larger selection of this collection is on display in our rare book and special collections reading room (access via the 200 level stacks).  In addition to the ink stones and ink sticks the display also includes a few brush holders and other ornaments.


The display is further enhanced with some brushes and other related items from the library's existing collection.  The Roy Collection includes over 50 inkstones in a great variety of sizes, materials, and designs. The display in the reading room is available for viewing whenever the library is open, the display in the rare book and special collections reading room is accessible during scheduled reading hours.


Meanwhile, in the Kress seminar room, we have on view a small selection of Japanese dolls from the Pickens Family Japanese Doll Collection, which was donated to our library in 1998.  The total number of dolls in the collection amounts to nearly 60.  They range from samurai dolls to doll festival dolls, dancing ladies and kokeshi dolls.  In the current display are 20 dolls, mainly dancing ladies on one side of the room, and samurai warriors on the other side.  This display is available for viewing whenever the rare book and special collections reading room is open, provided the seminar room is not in use for other purposes.

Seisai’s Thirty-Six New Views of Mount Fuji on View

Starting November 9, we will be hosting a special exhibit of twelve prints by Seisai (the artist name of Peter MacMillan), from his series Thirty-Six New Views of Mount Fuji.  This exhibition will take place in our rare book reading room (access via the 200 level of the stacks), and will be on view through November 30, 2012.

Thirty-Six New Views of Mount Fuji explores the gap between traditional Japanese culture and the careless consumerism of present-day society. Yet while the prints raise consciousness about preserving the world's resources for future generations, at the same time the images are playful and fun, incorporating ideas of asobi (play).  The artist uses lithograph printing, offset printing, hand painting, and gold leaf applied by hand in his prints, drawing upon Hokusai's motifs as well as those of other Japanese and Western artists.  Another inspiration was his recent translation of a book on Mount Fuji in literature, which piqued his interest in juxtaposing an idealized historical view of Mount Fuji and Japanese culture, with the reality of contemporary society.  Seisai composes images of social critique that pose questions related to art history as well as to the possibility of satire in contemporary society.  


Peter MacMillan is a poet, print maker, and translator.  He is from Ireland and has lived in Japan for more than twenty years.  He holds an M.A. from University College Dublin, where he completed a Master’s degree in philosophy and Ph.D. in English literature.  He has been a Visiting Fellow or Research Fellow at Princeton University, Columbia University, and Oxford University.  He was was awarded the Donald Keene Special Prize for the best translation of a work of classical Japanese literature (Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature) in 2009 for his book One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, published by Columbia University Press in 2008.  He is a Visiting Professor at Kyorin University and also teaches at Tokyo University, and was recently elected to be a UNESCO artist, and exhibited at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris this past month. He is also the founder of the Japan Institute (December 2012), an organization that promotes Japanese culture.


The series will also be on view at the Onishi Gallery at 521 West 26 Street, NY through Wednesday, November 7, 2012.

A taste of Starr




Currently on view in the display cases throughout our reading room is a small selection of materials from our various collections, to give you a taste of the breadth and variety of what the Starr Library has to offer.

Included, in the display case near the entrance, are some volumes from a newly acquired Chinese set 上海圖書館藏稀見方志叢刊 / 上海圖書館編 (Shanghai tu shu guan cang xi jian fang zhi cong kan), about which we will tell you more in a subsequent post. 

Also near the entrance are volumes from four different Japanese rare book titles that were recently added to our collection thanks to a combination of CUL Primary Resources Fund grant money and a generous donation from Professor Donald Keene.  The titles included are 繪入源氏小鏡 (Eiri Genji kokagami), 朝比奈唐子遊 (Asaina karakoasobi), 本樹真猿浮氣噺 (Motoki ni masaru uwakibanashi), and 繪入義經記 (Eiri Gikei ki).

Except for the volumes currently on view, these works are all housed in our Rare Book collection, and can be used in our Rare Book Reading Room.

In the display case in the center of the reading room you will find a volume including the inaugural and subsequent issues of a short-lived Tibetan pictorial magazine that features a variety of issues during the late 1950s.  In addition, the covers of two databases are shown, to wit a digital version of the Tempangma manuscript of the Kangyur, created in Gyantse in 1431, and a digital version of the Peking manuscript of the Kangyur preserved at National Library of Mongolia.  These databases are available for on-site use, by contacting the Tibetan Studies Librarian Lauran Hartley.

To the left of the Tibetan display is a selection of six Korean popular novels.  These come from a larger collection of 157 such booklets.  The collection is considered quite rare. 

A third display case is located near the stained glass window at the end of the reading room and includes a selection of postwar film-related publications, both scholarly and popular, from the Makino Mamoru Collection on the History of East Asian Film.  For more information on this collection check out the website and the Makino Collection blog.


In addition to our very substantial print-based collections, Starr Library also owns many less expected items, from woodblock prints to postcards to oracle bones.  Most of these artifactual items lack proper description and are, at this time part of our more "hidden" collections.  As an illustration of such artifacts we are showing a variety of printing blocks and printing type in the display case near the stained glass window, as well as ancient Chinese lance heads near the entrance.  We hope to highlight more of these three-dimensional treasures in blogs to come.