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Archive for the ‘Sculpture’ Category

ANCIENT BUDDHIST CARVING EXCAVATED IN THE SWAT VALLEY IN PAKISTAN

I do not want to disclose the exact location  — we do not need any more obliterations of Buddhist sculptures — but carvings dating back some 1700 years have been found in the remains of an old shrine. The fragment shows  what is known as The Great Departure  — the historical Prince Siddhartha leaving his palace in Kapilavastu venturing outside the castle confines to experience suffering and eventually attain enlightenment  to become Gautama Buddha.

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Cheers,
Elisabeth and Natasha

LOST KINGDOMS

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(Buddha from Central Thailand, first half of the 7th century, Sandstone, National Museum, Bangkok)

LOST KINGDOMS
HINDU-BUDDHIST SCULPTURE OF EARLY SOUTHEAST ASIA, 5th to 8th CENTURY
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM

April 14-July 27, 2014

I will never forget the first time I saw a Dvaravati Buddha in the  museum in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, carved by highly skilled stone sculptors, related to Indian style, and with the Wheel of Law.

Now we have a chance to admire some 160 sculptures from museums in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar, as well as the Musée Guimet in Paris and some major museums in the United States, showing very early art from kingdoms mostly forgotten today  – Funan, Champa, Pyu, Zhenla, Kedah, Dvaravati and Srivijaya. With exception of Gandharan, Mathura, Gupta styles, these are the earliest Buddhist  sculptures  to encounter and they might help us understand  the cultural and political map of today’s Southeast Asia.

Cheers,

Elisabeth

10th CENTURY KHMER STONE STATUE TO BE RETURNED TO CAMBODIA

December 19, 2013 Leave a comment

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Said to have been looted from a temple in the Cambodian jungle during the Po Pot reign of terror, the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, Sotheby’s, and the owner of the figure agreed to return the 500 pound sandstone warrior to Cambodia. It is interesting that the US government has been so successful – while it is true that nobody should deal in stolen antiquities, it was also agreed that the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan agreed to withdraw its accusation that Sotheby’s and the owner/consignor knew about the statue’s disputed history. I also find it interesting that the laws some of the accusations were based upon dated from a time when Cambodia was a French colony, and pursuing this case would entail time consuming research into Cambodian, French Colonial, US and other laws governing antiquities. I think some of the parties were on thin ice and the US government was very helpful. Based on the information I could find, the owner/consignor did not receive any compensation, Sotheby’s will pay for shipping the statue to Cambodia – what a good deal for Cambodia.

I hope the warrior from Prasat Chen finds a safe place for the next thousand years!

I only wish the Cambodian government would pursue the welfare of its children as seriously as the welfare of its stone figures.

Cheers,

Elisabeth

The Art of Continuity: Revering our Elders

November 23, 2013 Leave a comment

The Art of Continuity: Revering our Elders

ANCESTOR WORSHIP EXHIBIT AT THE PACIFIC ASIA MUSEUM IN PASADENA, CA.

The Art of Continuity: Revering our Elders

December 14, 2013 – January 5, 2014.

http://www.pacificasiamuseum.org/_on_view/exhibitions/2012/continuity.aspx

So much Chinese art – painting, sculpture and other objects are connected with ancestor worship, reverence for elders, Confucian family values, rituals for guiding them through transition to afterlife. This exhibit features paintings and sculpture from East Asia and Papua New Guinea.

Check it out!

Cheers,

Elisabeth

PAPA’S PAGODA IN PARIS

PAPA’S PAGODA IN PARIS: THE GIFT OF THE C.T.LOO FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS TO THE FREER AND SACKLER GALLERIES.

44An article in the March 13, 2013 ORIENTATIONS MAGAZINE by Yiyou Wang.

On rare occasions I come across a piece to be appraised that still has the C. T. Loo label attached. And then I get both excited and a little nervous.

C.T. Loo was the first international Chinese art dealer, very successful, established his gallery known as “la Pagode” in Paris in 1928, later offices in New York, Beijing and Shanghai. He supplied major museums (Freer, Nelson-Atkins, Met) and collectors with sculptures, bronzes, murals, ceramics.

In 2010 his daughter bequeathed photographs to the Sackler and Freer. C. T. Loo had lavish gallery space in Paris and the donated photos show some of the objects in his galleries before being sold or donated.

Cheers,

Elisabeth and Natasha

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TWO CHINESE BRONZE ZODIAC ANIMAL HEADS HEAD BACK TO CHINA

BRONZE ZODIAC ANIMAL HEADS

Twelve bronze animal heads were taken from the Yuanmingyuan by the British and French troops storming the Summer Palace during the Second Opium War.  Five  (ox, tiger, pig, monkey and horse) have been returned to China; the dragon is said to be in Taiwan; the sheep, snake, rooster and dog are missing.

Francois-Henri Pinault acquired the rat and the rabbit heads from Christie’s in Paris in 2009 and returned them to China last Friday.  Francois-Henri Pinault and his family own a number of luxury good companies and  Christie’s auction house. His company is now called Kering. Christie’s  had announced in April that it had been granted a license that would enable it to operate as the first international auction house independently on the Chinese mainland.

Remember Ai Weiwei’s monumental sculpture installation of the Twelve Animals of the Zodiac now  displayed in Toronto’s City Hall reflection pool? Ai Wei Wei’s   Circle of Animals are reinterpreted, and  based on the design of the bronze heads from the fountain clock at the Yuanmingyuan (Palace of  Perfect Brightness), once an imperial retreat  located outside Beijing, and designed by Guiseppe Castiglione, aka Lang Shining, the Jesuit missionary in   the 18th century. The bronze heads by Ai Wei Wei, can be seen as a commentary on the Chinese quest to have  all twelve heads returned after the 19th century colonialist humiliation, focusing on questions of looting, repatriation, faking and copying.

Since we are talking about faking and copying,  I do want to mention the book I recently wrote about:  Original Intentions: Essays on Production, Reproduction, and Interpretation in the Arts of China – have just started to read it and will write more later.

Cheers,

Elisabeth and Natasha

SCULPTURE OF DEVOTION

THE RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART in New York,

always, always has the most interesting exhibits.

SCULPTURE OF DEVOTION FROM THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM OF ART

This time courtesy of  the Brooklyn Museum of Art – due to the temporary closing of its Asian galleries.

On view until July 7, 2014. 

http://www.rmanyc.org/nav/exhibitions/view/2120

The exhibit traces in chronological and geographical fashion the stylistic development of Hindu and Buddhist  sculptural art back to its origins in ancient Indian art.   Included are pieces from Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea and Japan.

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Cheers,

Elisabeth and Natasha