Archive

Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Swat’s Uddiyana Kingdom

EXPLORING THE VALLEY OF SWAT once known as the Switzerland of the east…..
in Pakistan

SWAT

Swat District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan has a history of over 2000 years, with Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic kingdoms and most recently the Taliban.

High mountains, clear lakes and green meadows are attractive not only to tourists. The Valley of Swat is said to have had over one thousand stupas and monasteries – today we now know of about 400 Buddhist sites – most frequently associated with Gandharan and Kushan art. A group of women trekkers, some from Swat University visited sites in March 2017 – that saw the times of Alexander the Great, the Kushan empire and Ashoka (Mauryan empire) – one of the earlier followers of Buddha.

Can we still go there to visit??

Cheers,

Elisabeth

(top photo from Buddhist Art News)

SWAT2

MY SUGGESTIONS FOR FALL IN PARIS…

WHEN IN PARIS……….not only to the Moulin Rouge  ……….
 
 A TOUR THAT FOCUSES ON  MAJOR COLLECTIONS OF ASIAN ART
OCTOBER 5TH- OCTOBER 7TH
ORGANIZED BY THE ORIENTAL CERAMIC SOCIETY: http://ocs-london.com
If you cannot join the OCS,  do it on your own. These are some of the best and oldest collections of Asian art in the world.
1. CHATEAU DE FONTAINEBLEAU with treasures from the Summer Palace
2. MUSEE GUIMET   (http://www.guimet.fr/en/)
3.  MUSEE D’ENNERY (musée Guimet  website)
4. MUSEE DU QUAI BRANLY (http://www.quaibranly.fr)  specializing in Asian ethnographic material
Cheers,
Elisabeth and Natasha

NEW DISCOVERY IN PAKISTAN DATING BACK TO MAURYAN AND KUSHAN DYNASTIES IN SWAT, PAKISTAN

Archeologists excavated in April and June of 2016 layers  of cities associated with  Indo-Greek, Mauryan and Kushan cultures.
Mauryan settlements dating to the third century BC – think of the great Mauryan king Ashoka, the  grandson of the founder of the dynasty who vigorously promoted Buddhism among other things with carved edicts  on pillars of stone and wood from Bengal  to Afghanistan.  Some of us have admired the great lion capital in Sarnath from a time when episodes  and symbols from Buddha’s life  were portrayed – in this case the lotus and the wheel of law – instead of the later  presentations of Buddha  – seen first in the arts of Gandharan and Mathura.
unnamed
Archeologists also excavated a large temple with four pillars belonging to the Kushan era, 2nd century BC to second century AD. The Kushans dominated the areas of the Hindu Kush into Kabul, Gandhara, northern Pakistan and north-western India. They controlled the trade between China in the east and the Romans in the west. Under the famous Kushan ruler Kanishka ( 144 to 172 AD) Buddhist settlements flourished including Gandhara with its distinctive Graeco – Buddhist art form that influenced the arts in Central Asia and then China.
I first read about this discovery in Buddhist Art News:
Cheers,
Elisabeth and Natasha

Swann Galleries’ Early Printed Books Auction

Central Asian travel books exceeded expectations at Swann Galleries’ Spring Early Printed Books Auction.

unnamed

Sir Marc Aurel Stein, Serindia: Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost China, first edition, Oxford, 1921. Sold April 12, 2016 for $18,750. (Pre-sale estimate $6,000 to $9,000).

New interest in the adventures of the Silk Road during the late 19th and early 20th century sparked these extraordinary prices.  I am aware that Sir Aurel Stein also removed a collection of books and manuscripts from the famous Dunhuang caves……..  And some of us are still waiting to go…..especially to the Taklamakan desert — if only briefly!

Cheers,

Elisabeth and Natasha

NUNS LEARN TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT THE TREASURES IN THEIR MONASTERY

unnamed-7

Buddhist Art News shared the attached article about a group of  seventeen nuns who have learned   in Bodhgaya, Bihar State,  India,  from Ann Shaftel, an expert in sacred art preservation,  how to document and preserve  thangkas, statues,  costumes and texts.
P.S. Bodhgaya is a place for pilgrimage since this is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree.
Please read this encouraging story.
Cheers,
Elisabeth and Natasha

CAVE TEMPLES OF DUNHUANG: BUDDHIST ART ON CHINA’S SILK ROAD

 

CAVE TEMPLES OF DUNHUANG: BUDDHIST ART ON CHINA’S SILK ROAD

https://buddhistartnews.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/cave-temples-of-dunhuang-buddhist-art-on-chinas-silk-road/

GETTY CENTER, LOS ANGELES

May 7 – September 4, 2016

www.getty.edu

unnamed-3

If you cannot make it to Dunhuang to see the spectacular Mogao caves on the ancient Silk Road dating from the 4th to 14th centuries – then you should go to the Getty and see rare treasures found in the famous caves together with full size replicas of three of the caves. This is a cooperation between  the Getty Conservation Institute and  Dunhuang Academy together with several other American and Chinese cultural institutions. The Mogao caves are important because they document  the earliest evidence we have of how Buddhism travelled with monks, scholars and merchants to China and beyond.

Cheers,

Elisabeth and Natasha

PEARLS ON A STRING

PEARLS ON A STRING: ARTISTS, PATRONS & POETS AT THE GREAT ISLAMIC COURTS

February 26 – May 8, 2016
 
ASIAN ART MUSEUM 
 
San Francisco  www.asianart.org
unnamed-2
I have  always been interested in who and what fueled the high artistic achievements  of the Islamic world from the 16th through the 18th century  –  a time when the global movement of people and their ideas not only tolerated but furthered a cosmopolitan society that was very much inclusive.  Some sixty-four art works, including textiles, paintings, manuscripts, sculpture, metalwork and jeweled objects show us the way through 16th century Mughal India, 17th century Safavid Iran and 18th century Ottoman Turkey.
We follow the lead of a writer,  an artist and a patron.
The writer and historian  Abu’l Fazl ibn Mubarak (1551-1602) was employed at the court of Akbar the Great (ruled 1556-1602) as a writer, an advisor, scholar and chief secretary. His interest in religious sciences and philosophy resonated with the liberal sentiments of Akbar who surrounded himself with Jews, Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
 I have always been partial to Akbar the Great ever since visiting Fatehpur Sikri in India and visiting his grandfather’s (Emperor Babur the Tiger) tomb and garden in Kabul. And below my favorite portrait of Akbar.
unnamed-1
The artist and painter Muhammad Zaman ibn Haji Yusuf (active 1670-1700) at the Safavid court of Shah Sulayman (reigned 1666-1694) worked  in the cosmopolitan city of Isfahan. He is credited with dramatically changing the style of Persian painting by incorporating European  linear perspective and  contrasting light and shadow.
The great sponsor of the arts Sultan Mahmud I (ruled 1730-1754), the ruler of the Ottoman Empire brought merchants, artisans and the forerunners of engineers to cosmopolitan Istanbul to become personally involved with artistic commissions in the field of architecture, art and engineered and jeweled objects.
Enjoy this journey through once cosmopolitan countries – no longer so accessible to us.
Cheers,
Elisabeth and Natasha