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Category: sculpture

Nandi

12 March, 2013 (07:00) | medieval, sculpture, south asia | By: xensen

Nandi - Asian Art Museum - P3120420

 

Nandi the bull is the mount of the Hindu god Shiva. I took this photo at the Asian Art Museum, where, unfortunately, the bull is less prominently displayed than it was at the museum’s old location in Golden Gate Park.

A few garlands would help. The museum’s label informs us that

In southern India, a large sculpture of Nandi would usually be placed in front of the main sanctuary of a temple to Shiva. It would face toward the sanctuary, so that Nandi could gaze adoringly at the representation of his master enshrined there. Because of this orientation, worshippers entering the temple compound would approach the sculpture of Nandi from behind.

Here Shiva’s bull is decked with garlands, strings of bells, an elaborate blanket, and other decorations carved in the stone. In the temple, it would also have been wreathed in real flowers and fabrics.

Still, Nandi remains much beloved, and this massive statue 15th-century granite statue is readily accessible in the museum’s south court, where it is well worth a visit.

 

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China’s Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy

8 March, 2013 (10:03) | ancient, ceramics/metal/stone, china, sculpture | By: xensen

That’s the title of the exhibition showing at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco through May 27. I received my new camera — an Olympus E-PL2 — a couple of days ago and took of few pictures of the warriors yesterday. The E-PL2 is a micro four thirds mirrorless camera that has a near-DSL-size sensor but a small body. It should be perfect for the travel photography that I like to do.

The AAM display features dark-colored walls and dark rooms with moody lighting. The warriors are not, of course, light sensitive — originally they were brightly painted, but they are never shown that way today — but the exhibition design makes an effective display. Low light situations are not really this camera’s strength, but it performed pretty capably.

terracotta warriors and horse

terracotta warrior (kneeling archer)

terracotta warriors

terracotta warrior

terracotta horse and warrior

In the museum’s north court there is a replica chariot pulled by a team of four horses.

After viewing the warriors, you might want to go up the escalator to view the museum’s permanent collection. It’s best viewed, if you have the time, starting from ancient South Asia at the top of the escalator.

asian art museum escalator and skylights

The small figure at the top of the escalator in that photo is Ganesha.

seated ganesha, 1200-1300

ganesha as remover of obstacles

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Terracotta Warriors opening party at Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

18 February, 2013 (20:19) | ancient, ceramics/metal/stone, china, sculpture | By: xensen

Terraacotta Warriors opening party invite

The Asian Art Museum (200 Larkin Street in San Francisco’s Civic Center) is hosting a party to celebrate their opening of an exhibition featuring some of the First Emperor’s terra-cotta warriors. The party, beginning at 7:00 this Thursday, February 22, will feature  CHERYL, an artist collective that throws “the Big Apple’s most outrageous party” (Time Out London).

In other news, 7junipers has been inactive for some time dealing with nonvirtual projects. I hope to return to more active blogging. We shall see.

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Ai Weiwei, 1983

15 August, 2011 (05:00) | ancient, china, contemporary, prints/photographs, sculpture, south asia | By: xensen

This fellow in a New York mood is Ai Weiwei, self-photographed in 1983. His show at Asia Society just completed, but there is still what looks like an excellent exhibition of Buddhist sculptures from Pakistan at the Asia Society Museum, including this handsome Gandharan bloke, on loan from the Lahore Museum:

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Cut-paper lamps

24 November, 2008 (05:00) | china, contemporary, sculpture | By: xensen

memory cloud lamp by yu jordy fu

The Chinese invented paper, and paper cutting is an art form with a long history there. Yu Jordy Fu is a designer who was trained as an architect at the Royal College of Art in London. She has developed a 3D style of paper cutting that she turns into lamps with clever use of LED or other lighting. A selection of these, such as the Memory Cloud Lamp, above, are for sale on her website.

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Memory Cloud Lamp, 21st c., by Yu Jordy Fu (Chinese, b. 1982). Paper.

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Photo Wednesday: Borobudur

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

Zhan Wang reflections

20 February, 2008 (05:00) | china, contemporary, sculpture | By: xensen

Now that the Zhan Wang exhibit has opened at the Asian Art Museum, I amused myself by photographing reflected colors on the stainless steel surfaces of his massive artificial scholar’s rock. The stainless steel of the constructed rock itself has almost no color, but it reflects colors from its surroundings. Oddly, the metalic surface takes on some of the qualities of water. Here are small versions of several images.

zhan wang reflections

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Pots-and-pans-orama

11 February, 2008 (05:00) | china, contemporary, sculpture | By: xensen

zhan wang urban landscape, san francisco, in progress

At San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, Chinese artist Zhan Wang is constructing a replica of the city by the bay out of pots and pans. The shiny utensils, stacked by the artist on equally shiny platforms artfully constructed by the museum’s preparators to his specifications, are being arranged to represent the city down to a close level of detail. Here you can see the Transamerica pyramid constructed from cheese grates and salad tongs.

This photo shows the work in progress. It will be completed within the next day or so, and the exhibition, entitled On Gold Mountain: Sculptures from the Sierra by Zhan Wang, will open to the public on Friday, February 15. The title alludes to the Chinese immigrant experience of mining in the Sierra during the Frisco gold rush; the city, called Gold Mountain by the Chinese, was the staging area for the trek to the Sierra.

At this writing a detail of a stainless steel scholar’s rock by Zhan Wang can be seen in the right sidebar.

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Dancing Ganesha

11 December, 2007 (05:00) | medieval, sculpture, south asia | By: xensen

dancing ganesha from the State Archaeology Museum of IndiaHere’s an interesting dancing Ganesha for comparison with the one from the Asian Art Museum shown at right. Both works are from the tenth century. This one, now in the State Archaeology Museum of India, comes from Padhawal, Morena. The Ganeshas wear similar crowns, are surrounded by similar implements, and hold similar poses. The most obvious difference is in the positions of the legs. While the Asian Art Museum Ganesha leans at a jaunty sideways angle, this one is coiled in a complicated, dynamic pose, his weight more centered.

Ganesha is generally considered to be the son of Shiva and Parvati. There are several stories of how he got his elephant head. Most commonly, it is said that he was beheaded by Shiva, who then in remorse replaced his head with that of an elephant.

Despite his stocky form and big belly, Ganesha often dances. He is carefree and cheerful, yet he is also a patron of scholars and students. It is not difficult to image lively music inspiring this Ganesha to dance.

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Prajnaparamita

5 December, 2007 (05:00) | medieval, sculpture, southeast asia | By: xensen

prajnaparamita of java

Yestersay I attended a lecture by Natasha Reichle, the Asian Art Museum’s associate curator of southeast Asian art, on the subject of this beautiful 13th-century stone sculpture from Singhasari, East Java. Prajnaparamita is a term meaning wisdom or learning, one might almost say scholarship. The goddess is the embodiment of of transcendental wisdom.

The sculpture is nearly symmetrical, except for the lotus at the right in the image, which holds a book of sutras, and the hands in the center, which are in the form of the gesture of “wheel-turning,” that is, the turning of the wheel of the dharma, representing the Buddha’s teachings.

Most Javanese view the sculpture as a representation not of Prajnaparamita but of Ken Dedes, the beautiful woman who gave birth to the fateful Singhasari (1222–1292) and Majapahit (1293–1500) dynasties.

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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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Murakami

29 November, 2007 (05:00) | contemporary, japan, paintings, sculpture | By: xensen

takashi murakami, And Then, and Then and Then and Then and Then

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, (MOCA) is hosting a major exhibition of the work of Takashi Murakami through February 11 (the show opens October 29). Murakami is much influenced by anime and manga.

Murakami tends to work with flat planes of color. His often oversized work evokes otaku culture. He combines high and low art, slyly critiquing consumerist culture while being complicit in it. Like manga pioneer Tezuka Osamu, he has made his art a big business, mass producing items for sale in many types of venues. Sales of Louis Vuitton handbags are a prominent feature of the MOCA show.

The MOCA show website features 11 different videos, 8 of which make up an exhibition tour. Which is fine, but there is a dearth of text content to accompany the videos. This makes it difficult for the casual visitor to get a quick sense of the show. But maybe a video-only approach works in L.A.

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Image: And Then, and Then and Then and Then and Then, 1996-97. Acrylic on canvas mounted on board (2 sections), 110 1/4 x 118 1/8 inches (overall). Image from the Marianne Boesky Gallery.

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Seven Junipers plays the net

21 November, 2007 (21:44) | ceramics/metal/stone, china, contemporary, meta, sculpture | By: xensen

terra-cotta tennis players

The internet, that is.

What could be a more appropriate image for our inaugural post than these ironic echoes of the first emperor’s terra-cotta army. The tennis warriors are in the offices of el blogador, a digital media consultant who divides his time between London and Antigua, Guatemala. They were created for the ATP Masters Cup being held in Shanghai (in fact, just as each of the first emperor’s soldiers has an individual face, so Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are recognizable in these images). The artist is not identified.

For 7Junipers I intend to range freely over Asian art and culture, from ancient to contemporary times and across the entire continent. Art and literature will be my main subjects. Since I’m already stretched thin, I’ll probably move somewhat slowly on this, but as posts accumulate I will gather them into categories by culture, era, and medium. The globe on right can be clicked to visit particular regions (not much is up yet).

The title alludes to the seven junipers of Zhidao Guan, a Taoist temple in the city of Changshu in China’s Yangzi delta, as well as to a famous 16th-century painting of them by Wen Zhengming. The seven junipers also represent the seven large cultural regions that fall under the scope of this website. For more, see the “about” tab above.

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