April 2008

Vol 7 - No. 10
 

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U.S.A. Event Calendar | April 2008

 


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Closing June 30
in Philadelphia, USA: 'Book of War'

Among the treasures of the John Frederick Lewis Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Rare Book Department are twenty-five elaborately illustrated folios from a centuries-old Mughal manuscript known as the Razmnama (literally, ‘Book of War’). The manuscript dates to around 1598-99, and was produced under the Muslim Mughal Dynasty, which founded a kingdom in India in or during the early 16th century. Written in Persian at the behest of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar, (reigned 1556 to 1605), the Razmnama is an abridged translation of the Mahabharata, one of the great epics of Hinduism. Although the pages from the1598-99 Razmnama have been dispersed to collections around the world, they were once bound as a single book whose folios numbered in the hundreds. For the first time since 1923, an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will bring together all 25 of the Free Library’s pages in a special installation in the William P. Wood Gallery (Gallery 227).

The Book of War: The Free Library of Philadelphia's Mughal Razmnama Folios is co-curated by Darielle Mason, the Museum's Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art, together with Yael Rice of the History of Art Department at the University of Pennsylvania. It affords a rare opportunity to explore an exciting moment of artistic experimentation and cultural exchange. The extensive conservation treatment necessary to exhibit these pages has been made possible through a generous gift from Dr. Dorothy del Bueno.

One of the foundational texts of Hinduism, the Mahabharata is told as a complex epic narrative whose main story is that of a huge intrafamilial war. In addition to the text, this Razmnama also includes many exquisite and elaborate illustrations. In Akbar's imperial atelier, artists recruited directly from the Persian court worked side by side with Persian, central Asian, and Indian artists, often collaborating on the same manuscripts. In addition, many imported European prints and paintings entered the Mughal collection during the late 16th century and artists adapted selected European characteristics, such as the illusion of depth through shading, into their own work. Thus in both text and illustrations the Razmnama speaks to the diverse cultural, religious, and linguistic character of the Mughal court. The text represents the effort of a Muslim ruler to understand the foundations of Hinduism, so deeply rooted in his kingdom; the images 
herald the creation of a new artistic language.

http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/267.html

Philadelphia Museum of Art   Benjamin Franklin Parkway  at 26th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/251.html

 

Exhibitions continuing.....

exhibition in Philadelphia, USA: 
Why the Wild Things Are: Personal Demons & Himalayan Protectors


Snakes, skulls, severed human heads, and the bloody skins of wild animals adorn the wrathful deities of the Himalayas. Often surprising to those unfamiliar with Himalayan art, depictions of this class of deities, called the krodha (the "Angry Ones"), are meant to shock because they represent different facets of one of the most basic human dilemmas: when each person possesses bad as well as good traits, how can the bad be conquered and the good be promoted?

In Himalayan religious thought, many of these fierce deities embody the deepest, most universal of human vices, including willful ignorance, pride, jealousy, greed, and lust. Devotees believe that envisioning particular krodha deities assists them in identifying their own weaknesses and harnessing enough force to overcome them. Other types of wrathful deities represent local protector spirits who are held responsible for both causing and curing calamities. Worshippers may bribe these spirits with offerings to avoid bad luck, accidents, or illness.

Why the Wild Things Are brings together seldom-exhibited paintings and sculptures from the Museum’s superb collection of Tibetan and Nepalese art. Gory, fearsome, and bursting with energy, images of the Angry Ones reveal a distinctive Himalayan vision of the awesome power hiding within each of us, our own "personal demons."

Curator: Katherine Anne Paul • Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art
Katherine Anne Paul is the Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  A Fulbright scholar, Paul specializes in Himalayan and Mongolian art and Asian textiles.  Paul lectures widely and has worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.

Location:
Himalayan Gallery 232, second floor
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 26th Street | Philadelphia, PA 19130
Main Museum Number: (215) 763-8100 | TTY: (215) 684-7600
http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/collection/116.html 

 

New exhibition announcements (USA):

Village of Painters: Narrative Scrolls from West Bengal

The patuas of West Bengal, India, have a long and contested social history in the region. Traditionally, they wandered from village to village singing their own compositions while unrolling painted scrolls on themes divided into two main genres: the sacred and the profane. The exhibit shows a wide range of scrolls and examines how the patuas are keeping their art alive in today's changing world of West Bengal.

Museum Hill,  Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail  Santa Fe  New Mexico, USA.
http://www.moifa.org/exhibitions/current.html

*new* exhibition openings December 22nd 2007
A Flute in the Forest: Tales of Young Krishna
and  Marvels of the Malla Period: A Nepalese Renaissance 1200-1603

December 22, 2007 – June 2, 2008

The Philadelphia Museum of Art in December will present two unusual exhibitions from its spectacular collections of Indian and Himalayan art that examine important themes and offer insights into South Asia’s rich cultures.

In Gallery 227, A Flute in the Forest: Tales of Young Krishna examines the life of Krishna, an incarnation of the god Vishnu and the supreme deity for many Hindus. The exhibition looks at his early life on earth through paintings, sculptures, ritual objects and embroidered textiles that depict a youthful, impish and often dashing deity.

More than half of the paintings on display are pages from various 18th-century manuscripts of the Bhagavata Purana, a primary Hindu text that recounts Krishna’s life in great detail. Such illustrated manuscripts or series functioned rather like graphic novels, blending image and text but emphasizing the former. These paintings detail Krishna’s development in the North Indian village of Vrindavan, where he grew to adolescence as a normal village boy, yet repeatedly revealed himself as a superhuman village protector and as the ultimate cosmic power. In the courts of western India, these images were used for devotion and learning, but were also a major source of royal entertainment. In addition to the Bhagavata Purana images, the exhibition includes four paintings from the city of Kota, Rajasthan that illustrate that city’s special devotion to Krishna.

Curator Darielle Mason, is The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A specialist on North Indian temple architecture and sculpture, she was also curator of the 2001 exhibition "Intimate Worlds: Indian Paintings from the Alvin O. Bellak Collection".  She is Adjunct Associate Professor of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also received her Ph.D.  Before coming to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, she was Assistant Curator for Indian, Southeast Asian and Islamic Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/290.html <http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/290.html>

In Gallery 232, Marvels of the Malla Period: A Nepalese Renaissance, 1200-1603 is the first exhibition to be devoted to the Golden Age of Nepal and features 25 works of art, including paintings and sculptures explores a time of remarkable creativity, when the fame of Nepal’s artists spread to Tibet, Bhutan, India, and even the Chinese court of Kublai Khan. The exhibition features 25 rarely seen masterpieces from the Museum’s collection and offers a stunning overview of a Nepalese artistic and cultural renaissance.

Beginning in the 13th century, rulers of various city-states in Kathmandu Valley added the name “malla” (meaning “victor” or “hero”) to their kingly titles and — fueled by newfound wealth from trade taxes and monopolies — competed to commission extraordinary public and private works of art. This competition resulted in sumptuous and eye-catching works, such as the bejeweled sculpture of Vishnu (late 15th – 16th century) on display. Nepalese kings practiced forms of Hinduism and Buddhism, and both religions are represented in works throughout exhibition.

Curator, Katherine Anne Paul, is the Associate Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  A Fulbright scholar, Paul specializes in Himalayan and Mongolian art and Asian textiles.  Paul lectures widely and has worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.  She has curated a number of small exhibitions including most recently, Conserving a Tibetan Altar which opened in December of 2006 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/289.html <http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/289.html>

Philadelphia Museum of Art  Benjamin Franklin Parkway  at 26th Street   Philadelphia, PA 19130

Los Angeles, California, USA
New permanent collection installations at the LACMA

A Connoisseur’s Delights: Indian Paintings from the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection
On view through September 1, 2008

Ranging in date from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, these paintings reflect several of the distinctive styles that flourished in the largely Hindu kingdoms of northern India and the Himalayan foothills. They also indicate the variety of subjects explored by India’s courtly painters which included idealized depictions of gods and kings, romanticized images of women, visualizations of musical melodies, and illustrations inspired by South Asia’s vast literary traditions. The paintings on view—several of them masterpieces which have not been shown in over a decade—highlight the richness of India’s courtly artistic traditions. A Connoisseur’s Delights, which refers to the title of a well-known sixteenth-century Hindi poem, also testifies to the extraordinary aesthetic discernment of the collectors Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck.

Curator for A Connoisseur’s Delights: Indian Paintings from the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection
Tushara Bindu Gude, Associate Curator of South Asian Art, joined LACMA in September 2006. Since September 2000, she served as Assistant Curator of South Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum (AAM) in San Francisco. Gude has curated ten exhibitions at the AAM, including The Poetic Vision of Abdur Rahman Chughtai (1894-1975) (2005-06) and From Monastery to Marketplace: Books and Manuscripts of Asia (2003). Gude has published articles on traditional and modern Indian paintings, her areas of specialization. She received her M.A. in Indian and Southeast Asian art history from the University of California, Los Angeles where she is currently completing her dissertation.
http://collectionsonline.lacma.org/mwebcgi/mweb.exe?request=exhibit;id=8834

A Masterpiece Restored: LACMA’s Tibetan Painting of Yama and Yami
On view through September 1, 2008
The South and Southeast Asian Art Department presents the first-ever public display of Yama and Yami, one of the largest and most significant Tibetan ceremonial thangka paintings from LACMA’s renowned collection. At nearly eight feet in height, Yama and Yami is one of the largest Tibetan paintings outside Tibet. The painting dates from the late seventeenth century to early eighteenth century, and depicts the Buddhist protective deities Yama and his sister Yami—it is a rare example of Yama and Yami as the primary subjects of a large painting from this time period. Yama and Yami was acquired by LACMA in 1971, but despite its art historical importance and strong visual presence, it was never able to be displayed because of its fragile condition and flaking paint. After an extensive, eighteen-month conservation process, which was funded in part by a generous grant from the Margot and Thomas Pritzker Family Foundation, Yama and Yami has been restored to its full artistic glory.

Curator for A Masterpiece Restored: LACMA’s Tibetan Painting of Yama and Yami
Dr. Stephen Markel, The Harry and Yvonne Lenart Curator and Department Head of South and Southeast Asian Art, holds a Ph.D. in Indian art history and museum practice from the University of Michigan. He has organized and curated or co-curated eighteen exhibitions at LACMA, including The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art (2003-04); Images from a Changing World: Kalighat Paintings of Calcutta (1999); and Romance of the Taj Mahal (1989-1990).  Markel has published extensively, particularly in the area of South Asian decorative art of the 16th-19th centuries. He is currently working on an exhibition showcasing the art and culture of Lucknow.  
http://collectionsonline.lacma.org/mweb/ssea/yama/yama_home.asp

Los Angeles County Museum of Art  5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036  Tel. 323-857-6000
http://collectionsonline.lacma.org/MWEB/about/ssea_about.asp

[Disclaimer:  information is not verified but is included in good faith.]

 

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