Expanded Cloisonne Collection Set for Fall Exhibit

Mrs. Dorthy Adler Routh was once described as the owner of one of the largest private collections in the United States of enameled bronze objects. In 1973, she generously chose to donate part of that collection to Scripps College, due, in part, to her friendship and collaboration with Rick Petterson, a Scripps art professor, who had assisted in the creation of an illustrated catalogue of her collection in 1975.

The gift consisted of 60 personally selected pieces of 16th-through 19th-century Chinese and Japanese cloisonne- incense burners, vases, ancestral altar fittings, chargers, and various sculptural pieces-in brilliant blues, rich reds, and gorgeous greens. Initially displayed in the Clark Humanities Museum and Honnold Library Founders’ Room, the collection has been studied by students, artists, and scholars, while key pieces have appeared in published art books and been loaned to various exhibitions on Chinese and Japanese arts.

Continuing in her generosity, Mrs. Routh’s children, Pam and Doug, have over the last year added more than 150 cloisonne pieces to Scripps’ collection, making it one of the most significant holdings of Chinese cloisonne in the western United States.This recent gift is largely comprised of small animal figurines (dragons, elephants, horses, birds, lions, and quilong a mythical flying horse) made of bronze and covered with intricate patterns of enamel (melted glass) and gold wire. In addition, the Rouths donated a number of rare, large-scale vases dating back to the 17th-century Ming dynasty, decorative pieces likely used in the Imperial Palace in Beijing.

Selections from the Dorothy Adler Routh Cloisonne Collection at Scripps College will be featured in the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery fall exhibition, “Dragons, Beasts, and Butterflies: Asian Art from the Scripps College Collections.” The show runs August 30 through October 19,2003, and is curated and organized by Professor Bruce Coats with the help of Morgan Nomura ’05, a J. Paul Getty Multicultural Summer Intern. Pieces of the Japanese cloisonne will be shown in April at the Clark Humanities Museum as part of an exhibition of 19th-century “Meiji Period Japanese Arts,” to be curated by students in a spring art history seminar.