The Period Eye

Notes on Early Modern Visual Culture

Northeastern Asia and the Northern Rockies

Catalog release: Autumn 2022

Now available on

Northeastern Asia and the Northern Rockies: Treasures from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Daryl S. Paulson Collection is a scholarly exhibition catalog published by Punctum Books. The philosophical ties between Northeastern Asia and the Northern Rockies as represented in a selection of fine art — including Daoist nature deities and immortals, Confucian scholar brushes and inkstones, and Buddhist guardian kings and compassionate bodhisattvas — have never been explicated. This catalog lays the groundwork for a serious discussion of trans-Pacific acculturation: first by explaining the fundamentals of Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism in reference to rare works of art produced in China, Korea, and Japan between the Tang Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty, and second, by assessing the prevalence of these philosophies as indicated by photographs of temples, shrines, deities, and rituals recreated in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado between the Civil War and World War I.

Drawing from the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Daryl S. Paulson Collection in Bozeman, Montana, Asian art curator Stephen Little offers three brief essays that distinguish the philosophies of Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism according to their founding values, each followed by several object case studies that illustrate, elaborate, and develop those ideals. Mining the photographs of the state historical societies of Boise, Helena, Cheyenne, and Denver, Euro-American art professor T. Lawrence Larkin offers a long essay that compares religious values and artistic forms on both sides of the Pacific illustrated by objects that highlight migrant and settler culture in the Inner West. Profusely illustrated with new color and rarely seen black-and-white images, and containing useful maps, chronologies, and an index, Northeastern Asia and the Northern Rockies is an invaluable reference for the general reader and an important resource for the regional scholar.

Ah Say (and His Wife?) Standing beside an Altar Dedicated to Fu Xing in the Joss House, Evanston, ca. 1890s. Photographic negative, Sub Neg 11823. Historical Photograph Collection, Wyoming State Archives, Cheyenne.


Acknowledgments – T. Lawrence Larkin



Introduction – T. Lawrence Larkin

Essays and Object Entries:

I. Daoism – Stephen Little


II. Confucianism – Stephen Little


III. Buddhism – Stephen Little

IV. Transpacific Transmissions: The Three Philosophies Manifested in Art and Ritual of Asian Migrants and Settlers of the Northern Rockies – T. Lawrence Larkin




Professor Todd Larkin received a Faculty Excellence Grant to conduct archival research on Asian settlements in Butte, Helena, Boise, and Denver in the spring of 2021.

Comments are closed.