7junipers.com | Asian Art and Culture

7 junipers home

Entries Comments



Category: mediums

Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew

20 November, 2008 (05:00) | architecture/public, contemporary, southeast asia | By: xensen

Trailer for Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul

27 October, 2008 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, literature/performance/film/music, west asia | By: xensen

Photo Wednesday: Bali cremation ceremony

20 August, 2008 (05:00) | literature/performance/film/music, southeast asia | By: xensen

Filipino costumes

4 August, 2008 (05:00) | decorative arts / textiles, southeast asia | By: xensen

filipina woman in native costume

The estimable Peacay of BibliOdyssey has posted a series of images of Filipino men and women in typical costumes. Most of the images, like this one, simply called “Old Woman,” are taken from a 1941 an 1841 book available online from the New York Public Library. While the images have a bit of the whiff of colonialism and the specimen book, they are still fascinating historical documents, not least as examples of the watercolor arts of the nineteenth-century.

Photo Wednesday: Kechak

30 July, 2008 (05:00) | literature/performance/film/music, southeast asia | By: xensen

kechak, a dance performance of bali

While we’re on the subject of Indonesian ritual, here is an image of a Kechak dance from www.viajar24h.com’ s photostream.

This dance tells stories from the Ramayana myth. One of its features is a large chorus of young men, said to represent a forest full of monkeys. The men provide the music for the performance by making percussive sounds.

.

Some posts related to Southeast Asia:
[catlist ID=9 numberposts=10]

.

The endangered Indonesian dagger (kris)

28 July, 2008 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, literature/performance/film/music, southeast asia | By: xensen

indonesian kris ritual

According to legend, Ken Arok, founder of the 13th-century Hindu-Buddhist Singosari kingdom, won his throne through a series of murders accomplished with a wavy dagger called a kris. Ken Arok’s dagger was powerful but it was also cursed, and ultimately it also killed its owner.

In Indonesian trance rituals, celebrants in trance states may stab themselves with krises. (Krises are also found in Malaysia, Brunei, Southern Thailand and the southern Philippines.) I think the stabbing is mostly symbolic, as several observers report they result in little or no blood.

Read more »

Photo Wednesday: Borobudur

23 July, 2008 (05:00) | medieval, sculpture, southeast asia | By: xensen

The jester Togog

21 July, 2008 (05:00) | literature/performance/film/music, modern, southeast asia | By: xensen

wayang golek clown puppet togog

A couple of people were asking for more images of Indonesian jester puppets. Here’s another one from the Asian Art Museum (where the puppets are difficult to photograph because they are displayed in very low light). His name is Togog.

Earlier I posted an image of the jester Semar. There is more information about Indonesian clown puppets at the Museum of Folly.

.

The jester Togog, ca. 1800-1900. Ondonesia; Bandung, West Java. Wood cloth, and mixed media. Asian Art Museum; From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.85.33.

.

Standing Bodhisattva

18 July, 2008 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, china, medieval | By: xensen

standing bodhisattva, walters art museum, baltimore

While we’re at the Walters Art Museum (see the previous couple of posts), let’s check out this interesting Boddhisattva. As you can see from this detail, the enigmatically smiling figure has an oddly square face and jaw, with very wide eyes. Features such as these, along with the drapery on the shoulders, lead the Walters curators to suppose that it may have been made in what is today Shaanxi province, in the sixth century.

Standing Bodhisattva, 6th century. China, Shaanxi province. Limestone. Acquired by Henry Walters, 1920, 25.5.

.

Ganesha

16 July, 2008 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, medieval, south asia | By: xensen

Dancing Ganesha

14 July, 2008 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, medieval, south asia | By: xensen

dancing ganesha from the collection of the walters art museum, baltimore

Here’s another great dancing Ganesha. This one is in the collection of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. From Uttar Pradesh, it dates from the ninth or tenth century. I took this photo of a detail of the sculpture when I was visiting Baltimore recently. The label includes this charming commentary:

Like his father [Shiva], Ganesha combines opposing traits: he is a leader of Shiva’s troops, but he is also lovable (there is a bowl of sweets beneath the tip of his trunk). He dances in imitation of his father’s cosmic dance. Ganesha became the lord of beginnings for Hindus and is prayed to at the start of an endeavor. [See early posts on this blog.] Images such as this one were placed in the southern exterior niche of a temple, to be encountered first in a ritual walk around the outside of a temple.

Dancing Ganesha, 9th-10th century, India: Uttar Pradesh, sandstone, gift of John and Bertha Fora, 2004, 25-253.

.

The jester Semar

7 July, 2008 (05:00) | literature/performance/film/music, modern, southeast asia | By: xensen

the clown semar, a rod puppet from java

Many people are familiar with the shadow puppets that are a popular court art of central Java. Rod puppets (wayang golek) are a puppet form that is popular among nonartistocratic audience in western Java and the northern coast of central Java. The puppets perform tales from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as other Hindu and Islamic texts.

This figure is Semar, a jester. Jesters are a popular element of rod puppet performances. This puppet is part of a large collection at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The is more information about Indonesian rod pupet jesters at the Museum of Folly (and some more images).

The jester Semar, ca. 1800-1900. Ondonesia; Bandung, West Java. Wood cloth, and mixed media. Asian Art Museum; From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.85.29.

.

Zhan Wang’s San Francisco

30 June, 2008 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, china, contemporary | By: xensen

Walter Spies

23 June, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, paintings, southeast asia | By: xensen

walter spies

The other day I commented on Deb Clearwaters’s new blog on Bali. Subsequently, I found this collection of paintings by the Russian-born German painter Walter Spies. Spies, who was born in 1895, moved to Bali in 1927. His painting swings between mannerist and expressionist tendencies, but often with overtones of the primitivism of someone like Dounier Rousseau. With decent connections to the international art community, Spies helped to popularize the notion of Bali as an idyllic and exotic Shangri-La. This painting dates from 1929.

.

Birth

16 June, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, paintings, south asia | By: xensen

birth by francis newton souza

Indian painting is hot these days. Francis Newton Souza’s Birth (oil on board, 48 x 96 in., 1955), shown above, recently sold for $2,487,931 at an auction at Christie‚Äôs London, a record price for modern Indian art.

Souza spent much of his life in London and is the only Indian artist to have a room dedicated to his works at Tate Britain. He was born on April 12, 1924, in Saligaon, Goa, India and died on March 28, 2002 , in Bombay, India. His website is maintained by his estate.

.

Photo Wednesday: the Taj Mahal

11 June, 2008 (05:00) | architecture/public, early modern, south asia | By: xensen

Eyes and dolls

5 June, 2008 (05:05) | 20th c, japan, paintings | By: xensen

Photo Wednesday: Indian bride

21 May, 2008 (05:00) | prints/photographs, south asia | By: xensen