Video: Serene Yet Formidable, a Kneeling Earth Goddess Wrings Out Her Hair

Nearly 70 artworks from Myanmar and private and public collections around the United States make up Asia Society Museum's new exhibition Buddhist Art of Myanmar. Featuring textiles, paintings, ritual objects, and sculptures made of sandstone, bronze, and lacquered wood, dating from the fifth to the early twentieth century, the exhibition gives viewers an opportunity to encounter many pieces that have never been seen outside Myanmar before.

One of many striking works featured in the exhibition is a nineteenth-century sculpture called Earth Goddess (Vasudhara) made of wood, lacquer, and gold leaf, and on loan from the Bagan Archeological Museum. In the video above, Sylvia Fraser-Lu, one of the guest curators for the exhibition, tells viewers about the significance of the Earth Goddess in Myanmar's Buddhist tradition and explains how the stylistic elements of the piece both reflect a mix of regional and local influences, and also distinguish this particular representation of the deity.

Fraser-Lu concludes by expressing her personal appreciation of the piece. "She has a wonderful, solid, dignified, firmly rooted quality about her — rather like the tree from which she was made."

Buddhist Art of Myanmar is on view through May 10, 2015, at Asia Society Museum in New York City.

About the Author

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Tahiat Mahboob is Asia Society's Senior Multimedia Producer. She grew up in Bangladesh, worked at New York Fashion Week and taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.