Saturday, February 6, 2010

Asia's Art in Ancient Vietnam (video)

Asia’s Aesthetic Crossroads
Julie Bloom (New York Times)
A pedestal from Van Trach Hoa village, Phong Dien District, Thua Thein Hue province, in the 8th-9th century (Librado Romero/The New York Times).

The exhibition "Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea," now on view at the Asia Society Museum, took over 20 years to produce. According to Holland Cotter, "From the moment you enter the galleries you're seeing things you won't find anywhere else and certainly not in this combination -- a bronze drum as hefty as a hot tub; a wooden Buddha, tall, dark, and Giacometti-thin.

Avid-eyed Hindu deities keep company with contortionist dancers. A tiny serpent of beaten gold basks in a spotlight. Ceramic plates and bowls crowd a room just as they had once filled the hold of a ship that went down in the South China Sea." As a trade hub, Vietnam absorbed cultural influences from China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and more, and these disparate influences are reflected in the show.

"Once you've made your way through the society's suave installation, you've seen treasures from 10 Vietnamese museums. You've time-traveled from the first millennium B.C. to the 17th century A.D. And you've style-traveled through dozens of cultures both inside and outside Vietnam itself." Source

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