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Category: classical

Korean national treasures at HMFA

13 December, 2007 (05:00) | classical, decorative arts / textiles, korea | By: xensen

korean crown with pendants The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has made a long-term agreement with the National Museum of Korea that includes the load of some Korean national treasures, such as the crown with pendants shown (5th century, National Museum of Korea, National Treasure No. 87). The HMFA has also established a larger, permanent gallery for Korean art, as part of its Korean Art and Culture Initiative; the gallery opened to the public this month.

According to the museum, “the opening of the Arts of Korea gallery marks the first step toward the goal of full representation of Asian art at the MFAH. By 2008, approximately triple the current exhibition space will be devoted to the display and interpretation of Asian art. Other Asian cultures represented in the MFAH collection are China, Japan, India, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia. Each will have new gallery space.”

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LINKS:
MFAH page
Korea Times article

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Ancient tomb discovered

12 December, 2007 (05:00) | china, classical | By: xensen

ancient chinese tombA remarkably well-preserved ancient tomb was discovered earlier this month in China’s Hubei Province. In addition to an intact female skeleton, the tomb contained 200 bamboo slips inscribed with ancient Chinese characters packed in a silk bag. According to the slips, the tomb is that of an aristocratic woman named “Hui” who lived during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220).

“Tombs from the Han Dynasty have been found in many places across the country, but it is rare to find such a well-preserved one. This will provide valuable historical data for studies in archaeology, history, zoology, botany and historical textile science,” said Wang Mingqin, head of Jingzhou Museum.

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LINK AND SOURCE OF IMAGE: Ancient bamboo slips reveal tomb owner’s identity

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The race to save the Mogao frescoes

4 December, 2007 (05:00) | china, classical, himalayas, medieval, paintings, sculpture | By: xensen

bodhisattva image from mogao grottoes at dunhuang, china

The Mogao grottoes at Dunhuang in China are one of the world’s richest art treasures. Dunhuang, though far from the center of Chinese civilization, was a key stop on the Silk Road. The Silk Road was not only a trade route for merchandise, it was also the route by which Buddhism was introduced to China, and Dunhuang is home to nearly 500 caves that served as Buddhist temples. The cave-temples are full of thousands of murals and sculptures, created between the fourth and fourteenth centuries.

For centuries the region’s remoteness and arid climate preserved that artworks is good condition. But today, according to this report, the murals are “fading away from age, tourist pressures and climate change.” The report goes on to describe efforts to photograph and preserve the art works.

restroing the mogao grotto frescos at dunhuang

A race is on to arrest the deterioration of the UN World Heritage site, which occupies 492 different cave temples along a 1.6-kilometre (one-mile) long cliff face near the ancient Silk Road oasis town of Dunhuang.

That decline has accelerated in recent years due in large part to desertification caused by climate change, said Wang Xudong, head of the Dunhuang Academy, the state-run institution that studies and maintains the grottoes.

More-frequent sandstorms from the nearby Kumtag desert are upsetting the fragile environmental balance inside the caves.

“Our biggest challenge is protecting the interior environment of the caves, especially from sandstorms, which are the biggest risk here,” he said.

But it’s a complex and painstaking task.

“Each cave has its own unique mineral, temperature, and moisture situation. We have to treat each one differently. We are learning every day,” Wang said.

The top image of a bodhisattva appears in a Tantric Buddhist painting in Cave 14. Dating from the Tang dynasty (618–906), it probably reflects a Tibetan influence; Dunhuang was under Tibetan rule during a some of the Tang. The second image accompanied the news article; I have done a little restoration work of my own on it.

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