Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mark and Lynn visit the divine "The Buddhist Art of Myanmar" exhibit at The Asia Society...

Plaque with image of seated Buddha
Pagan period, 11th–13th century
Gilded metal with polychrome
H. 7 x W. 6 1/4 x D. 1/4 in. (17.8 x 15.9 x 0.6 cm)
Bagan Archaeological Museum
Photo: Sean Dungan

It is hard to imagine a more elegant exhibit in Manhattan at present than the Asia Society's Buddhist art of Myyanmar (known as "Burma" in the English language).  The exhibit features approximately 70 works most of which relate to the evolution of the Buddha and Buddha tradition in art in Myanmar as well as the US.

Despite a very focused curatorial subject the show has enough variety to maintain interest in the pieces.  The legnth of time the exhibit covers (from the 5th century to the early 20th).  The breadth and textures of the works (stone, bronze, laquared wood, textiles and so on) help differentiate the various representations of the works in this exhibit.

Kubyauknge Temple, Myinkaba village
Pagan period, ca. 1198
Sandstone with pigment
H. 351/2 x W. 51 x D. 13 in. (90.2 x 129.5 x 33 cm)
Bagan Archaeological Museum
Photo: Sean Dungan

For us, the highlights included a Pagan period (11th-13th century) gilded metal plaque with an image of the seated Buddha which has been the signature image of the exhibit.  Also of particular interest was the striking Parinibbana (which refers to a passage from death into Nirvana by the Buddha) the mass of which contrasts memorably with the solemnity and spiritual nature of the narrative of this piece.

The exhibit is dramatically and handsomely mounted and the curatorial information on the exhibit labels is extremely detailed without being ponderous or overwhelming.  The exhibit runs until May 15 so be sure to make a point to visit this gem of an exhibit if you are in or around Manhattan.

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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