Site Lines: Artists Working in Texas

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Texas13 Apr 201918 Aug 201911:00am6:00pmSaturday 13 Apr 2019Sunday 18 Aug 2019

In Asia Society Texas Center's first-ever exhibition to focus on locally-based artists, Site Lines: Artists Working in Texas draws connections between Asia and Texas via works by Asian American artists living in Austin, Dallas, Tyler, and Houston. Through video, drawings, paintings, installations, and collage, Ambreen ButtAbhidnya GhugeBeili LiuJun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, and Prince Varughese Thomas address themes such as the value of work, cultural memory, and the importance of place.

Admission Information

Regular admission to this exhibition is free for Asia Society Members and children ages 12 and under, $5 for Students and Seniors with ID, and $8 for Nonmembers.


Hours

Tuesday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closed Mondays.


Photography

Photography of the exhibition without flash is permitted.

About the Artists

Ambreen Butt was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and received her BFA in traditional Indian and Persian miniature painting from the National College of Arts in Lahore. She moved to Boston in 1993 and attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design earning her MFA in painting in 1997. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally. Institutions that have exhibited her work include the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Brooklyn Museum; USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California; Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany; and the National Art Gallery in Islamabad, Pakistan.   

She has been the recipient of awards including a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario, Canada. In 1999, she was the first recipient of the James and Audrey Foster Prize from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, in addition to being an artist-in-residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that same year. Her work is included in public and private collections including the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, among others.  

Ambreen Butt lives and works in Southlake, Texas.

http://www.ambreenbutt.com/


Abhidnya Ghuge is a multidisciplinary installation artist who hand carves large-scale woodblocks to print on thousands of paper plates to create site-responsive installations. Matters such as the value of life and relationships, the disposability of life, the dignity of labor, and the power of human gatherings to create change are the focus of these installations. In addition, Ghuge’s drawings are visual representations of relational portraits created using archival ink, watercolors, and gouache. These drawings celebrate patterns and organic forms, allowing for rich sensory and spatial experiences.

Born in Mumbai, India, a dermatologist by previous profession, Ghuge draws inspiration from Indian henna designs, both the microscopic and macroscopic worlds, and the current cultural landscape of America. Ghuge is an Adjunct Instructor at the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Tyler. Ghuge has shown her work in solo shows including the Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas; Crow Museum of Asian Art, Dallas; Maryland Art Place, Baltimore; Women and Their Work Gallery, Austin; and others. Her work is included in public and private collections in the U.K., U.S.A., and India.

https://abhidnyaghuge.com/home.html


Beili Liu is a visual artist who has exhibited at venues such as the Hå Gamle Prestegard, Norway; Hua Gallery, London; Galerie an der Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Elisabeth de Brabant Art Center, Shanghai; and the Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco. Liu’s work has been showcased in exhibitions and performances at the Detroit Institute of Arts; Hangzhou Fiber Art Triennial; National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Southeast Texas; Kaunas Biennale, Lithuania; and others.

Beili Liu is a 2016 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant recipient. She was designated the 2018 Texas State Artist in 3D medium by the Texas State Legislature and the Texas Commission on The Arts. Liu has been awarded artist residency fellowships from the Joan Mitchell Center, MASS MoCA, Facebook AIR, Fiskars AIR, Djerassi Foundation, and Fundación Valparaíso, Spain, among others. 

Born in Jilin, China, Beili Liu now lives and works in Austin, Texas. Liu received her MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is a Professor of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. 

http://www.beililiu.com/


Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba was born in Tokyo to a Vietnamese father and a Japanese mother. Growing up and being educated in Japan and the U.S., he earned his BFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 1992 and then his MFA in the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1994. Nguyen-Hatsushiba, after 18 years of working in Vietnam, is now residing and creating artworks in Houston.

In 2001, his first underwater film project, Memorial Project Nha Trang, Vietnam: Towards the Complex – For the Courageous, the Curious and the Cowards was shown at the 1st Yokohama Triennial. He was then commissioned to create a series of underwater films, including a memorial for Minamata disease patients and a multinational history based in 1972 Okinawa (Japan, Vietnam, and USA).

His works are often generated from multiple landscapes of thoughts combining unlikely, sometimes surprising mixtures into existing contexts of local history and issues. In his most recent film, The Master and the Slave: Inujima Monogatari filmed at Inujima island in Setouchi, Japan, he attempts to revive Inujima’s history through Japan’s national sport of baseball, played inside the last stone quarry of the island. A batter and a pitcher confront each other, but with a romantic endeavor of hitting the stones out from the smaller island to the mainland of Japan.

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba has exhibited in numerous international triennials and biennales including Venice, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Shanghai, Yokohama, and Guangzhou. One can also find his works in the public collections of institutions such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.

http://www.nguyen-hatsushiba.net/


Prince Varughese Thomas is an Indian immigrant, born in Kuwait, partly raised in India, and naturalized in the United States. His studio practice is informed by his ethnicity and facing racial prejudice throughout his life. From the Iran Hostage crisis in the 70s, to aggressions in Libya in the 80s, to the first Gulf War in the 90s, and then 9/11, each decade of his life has been marked with prejudice that has been projected on to him by the dominant culture. This experience through his formative years to adulthood has directly affected how he looks at society with open eyes and as he attempts to investigate places that he finds worthy of critique, exploration, and making art. With an educational background and degrees in both Psychology and Art, Thomas investigates and deconstructs complex issues from the interstices in personally expressive ways that humanize his subjects while incorporating a variety of photographic, video, drawing, and installation techniques into his artwork.

A winner of the Time-Based Media in Art Prize 7 and a Texas Biennial Artist, Thomas has been invited to exhibit his work and be a visiting artist, lecturer, panelist, and workshop instructor at numerous institutions including Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon; the Station Museum of Contemporary Art; the Atlanta Contemporary; the Light Factory, Charlotte; and the Queens Museum. Thomas’ work has been exhibited in over 200 solo and group exhibitions at numerous museums and galleries.  His work is represented in various public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Thomas received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington, and M.F.A. from the University of Houston. He is currently a Professor of Art at Lamar University.

http://princevthomas.com/

Press Release

HOUSTON, April 12, 2019 — Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC) shines a light on Texas talent with its new exhibition, Site Lines: Artists Working in Texas, opening on April 13. All five artists call the Lone Star State their home, and all five are also making their ASTC debuts. Ambreen Butt, Abhidnya Ghuge, Beili Liu, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, and Prince Varughese Thomas represent a panoply of Asian backgrounds, including China, India, Japan, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

The media involved in the exhibition span a wide range, including drawings, paintings, video, collage, and installations of materials as varied as resin-castings, U.S. pennies, chicken wire, and paper plates. The artists’ work, on view in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery, covers an extensive array of themes, such as the creative value of labor, cultural memory, and the fragility of life.

“There is an incredibly rich diversity of artists working in Texas, and it is a particular honor for Asia Society Texas Center to create a platform for Texas-based Asian artists,” says Bridget Bray, ASTC’s Nancy C. Allen Curator and Director of Exhibitions. “These five artists’ work is informed by their connectivity between Asia and their chosen home state. This exhibition evokes meaningful questions about the value of work and the power of place.”

As with the Ayomi Yoshida installation last summer, local volunteers were a pivotal part of the installation process, creating an even deeper connection to Texas. With this exhibition, 12 local volunteers (including several art students) participated in the installation, helping to place 195,000 U.S. pennies and 8,000 paper plates, among other components.

In their works on view, Ambreen Butt and Abhidnya Ghuge engage with the ephemeral limits of life and the fragile nature of physical existence, while celebrating the tenacity of the human spirit. Beili Liu views her artistic process as a method of recording time and its inexorable passage, while Houston residents Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba and Prince Varughese Thomas investigate the various impacts that time and events have on specific communities.

Fast Facts

  • Exhibition dates: Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, August 18, 2019
  • Admission: Free for members and children ages 12 and under; $5 for Students and Seniors with ID $8 for Nonmembers
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Related Program

  • Artist Talk featuring Abhidnya Ghuge: Saturday, June 15, 2 ­­p.m. | Free for Members; $5 for Students and Seniors with ID; $8 for Nonmembers
  • (Coming soon: dates for additional artist talks with the other artists.)

This exhibition is organized by Asia Society Texas Center. Exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Wells Fargo. Major support comes from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy C. Allen, and Leslie and Brad Bucher, as well as The Brown Foundation, Inc., and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Generous funding also provided by The Clayton Fund, Texas Commission on the Arts, Wortham Foundation, Inc., The Franci Neely Foundation, Olive Jenney, Nanako and Dale Tingleaf, and Ann Wales. Funding is also provided through contributions from the Exhibitions Patron Circle.

Related Programs and Tours

Reception for Site Lines: Artists Working in Texas
Thursday, April 11, 2019 | 6–8 p.m.
Visit with the artists over drinks and light bites and receive a FREE preview of the exhibition.

Artist Talk: Abhidnya Ghuge
Saturday, June 15, 2019 | 2–3:30 p.m.

Artists' Talk: Ambreen Butt and Beili Liu
Saturday, July 20, 2019 | 2–3:30 p.m.


Monthly Tours

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saturday, August 10, 2019

To schedule a group tour outside of these designated days, please fill out the form below or contact Jennifer Kapral, Director of Education & Outreach, at JKapral@AsiaSociety.org.

Schedule a group tour »


School Tours

School tours, facilitated by the education department staff and volunteers, provide educationally rich interactive opportunities for students to learn about Asian art, culture, and traditions. These free tours are open to all public, private, charter, alternative, and home schools. Visits take place on weekdays, Tuesday through Friday, for one to two hours.

All school tours and subsequent interactive projects are tethered to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and district curriculum standards. They may include:

  • Docent-led tour of exhibitions in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery

  • "Introduction to Asia” PowerPoint Presentation highlighting essential information about Asian art, culture, geography, and politics

  • Guided tour of the Texas Center and discussion of its unique architecture

  • Interactive projects based on the current exhibition (unavailable during summer months, June through August)

At least two weeks’ notice is required for school tours. Additional advance notice is required for groups larger than 25.

Schedule a school tour »

For more information, please contact Jennifer Kapral, Director of Education & Outreach, at JKapral@AsiaSociety.org.

Credits

This exhibition is organized by Asia Society Texas Center. Exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Wells Fargo. Major support comes from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy C. Allen, and Leslie and Brad Bucher, as well as The Brown Foundation, Inc., and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Generous funding also provided by The Clayton Fund, Texas Commission on the Arts, Wortham Foundation, Inc., The Franci Neely Foundation, Olive Jenney, Nanako and Dale Tingleaf, and Ann Wales. Funding is also provided through contributions from the Exhibitions Patron Circle.

Presenting Sponsor

Wells Fargo

 

Program Sponsors

HAA NEA TCA


Additional Support

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In Focus: A Complete Map of the World—The Eighteenth-century Convergence of China and Europe

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New York05 Feb 201905 May 20199:00am6:00pmTuesday 5 Feb 2019Sunday 5 May 2019

This small, focused exhibition uses one of the rare prints of Ma Junliang's map of the world Jingban tianwen quantu as a starting point to consider the interaction between China and Europe during the eighteenth century. The map offers viewers a Chinese perspective about power and the nature of the world with China at the center. The exhibition also includes Chinese eighteenth-century artworks that appropriate and reinterpret European images and techniques. 


This exhibition is part of Asia Society Museum’s ongoing In Focus series, which invites viewers to take an in-depth look at a single, significant work of art.

Overview

The eighteenth century in Europe was a period of continued exploration and discovery. While European leaders including Louis XIV (personally reigned 1661–1715), Peter the Great (reigned 1682–1725), Catherine the Great (reigned 1762–96), and Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) expanded their empires, in China the Kangxi emperor (reigned 1662–1722), the Yongzhen emperor (reigned 1723–35), and the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1736–95) brought the Qing dynasty to the pinnacle of its geographical expansion. In the eighteenth century, Qing domination included large portions of Central Asia and parts of the south, including Burma (Myanmar) and Annam (Vietnam).

European and Chinese engagement continued to increase after having already reached historic levels by the close of the sixteenth century thanks to exchanges between European Jesuits and China’s ruling elites. Geographic information gathered in the course of expansion and exploration, as well as mathematical, scientific, and medical research, was exchanged between east and west.

This interchange, combined with cross-cultural admiration, had considerable impact on the arts and crafts across the globe. For example, European craftsmen at Dresden working under enthusiastic support from Augustus the Strong (1670–1733) strove to discover China’s secret to producing true porcelain, finally succeeding by the first decade of the eighteenth century. Meanwhile, artisans working with Jesuits at the newly established Qing imperial glass workshops in Beijing strove to create the finest glass ever produced in China.

This exhibition is part of Asia Society Museum’s ongoing In Focus series, which invites viewers to take an in-depth look at a single, significant work of art.

The Complete Map of the World
Capital Edition of a Complete Map
Ma Junliang (active late 18th century). Capital Edition of a Complete Map (of the World Based on) Astronomy (Jingban tianwen quantu). China. Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period, ca. 1780–90. Colored woodblock print on paper. H. 26 1/5 x W. 47 1/4 in. (66.5 x 120 cm). Private Collection. Photograph courtesy of Sotheby's

The rare woodblock print map datable from the 1780s or early 1790s titled the Capital Edition of the Complete Map (of the World Based on) Astronomy (Jingban tianwen quantu) is a testimony to the sharing of Chinese and European geographic knowledge. It is the work of the scholar Ma Junliang, a Qing dynasty civil servant, author, and, most famously, mapmaker. Ma came from Zhejiang province on the southeast coast of China and published the Jingban tianwen quantu when serving under the Qianlong emperor.

Map detail 2
Detail of Map.

Ma’s map belongs to a Chinese genre called complete maps of all under heaven (tianxia quantu) that were the most commonly produced maps of the world between the late seventeenth and mid-nineteenth centuries in China. However, unlike previous maps in this genre, Ma’s map includes three very different maps on one sheet and represents a combination of contemporary eastern and western global geographic understanding. The large map of the Qing empire that fills the lower half of the composition is an updated version of one created by Huang Zongxi in 1673, which had been modeled after Ming dynasty mapmaker Liang Zhou’s Universal Map of the Myriad Countries of the World, with Traces of Human Events, Past and Present (Qiankun wanguo quantu gujin renwu shiji) from circa 1600. Ma’s map of the Qing dynasty empire details mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, and deserts. Large bodies of water are marked by repeating ripple patterns, mountains are indicated by chevron-shaped peaks, and deserts are represented by multiple small dots. China’s provinces are separated with bold outlines and the levels of smaller administrative establishments are designated by rectangles, ovals, and diamonds. The Great Wall is rendered using a battlement (square wave) pattern. Above this large map, Ma provided the name of each province along with the number of administrative divisions within each. The map includes areas subjugated during Qing rule including Mongolia’s forty- nine banners, Hami (Xinjiang), and others.

Map detail 1
Detail of Map.

Above the large map are maps of the eastern hemisphere and western hemisphere. The map at the top left and the explanatory text to its left come from General Map of the Four Seas (Sihai zong tu), a circa 1730 map by Chen Lunjiong. Chen likely derived his map, which outlines the Eurasian continent and Africa, from both a European source given to him by the Yongzhen emperor and his own maritime experience and research. The upper right is Ma’s appropriation of the 1602 World Map (mappamundi), the first map of the world known in China and the product of a collaboration between Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552–1610) and Chinese scholars. Though largely based upon European models, like Chinese maps it is densely annotated and has China and the Pacific Ocean at the center. Ma’s version shows the world as spherical with more water than land, but it compresses and simplifies Ricci’s map. Unlike the original, which shows five continents, Ma’s only depicts Asia to the left, South America to the right, and Antarctica below.

Scientists and Artists at the Qing Court in the Eighteenth Century

The Kangxi Emperor began the Qing dynasty’s imperial engagement with western learning. He accepted scientific implements, ingenious gadgets, and works of decorative art offered as presents by European rulers like Louis XIV. He also engaged learned European Jesuits at court to advise him as well as to collaborate with Chinese officials and others serving him. European envoys hoped to entice the Chinese into trade relations, while the primary goal of Jesuit priests was the conversion of the Chinese to Catholicism following the principles of “assimilation and acculturation,” postulated by Italian Jesuit Alessandro Valignano (1539–1606). The Qing emperors remained wary of trade relations that would benefit rulers they believed should be subservient to China and also were not convinced that they should dispose of China’s other religions in favor of Christianity. Still, they were more than pleased to learn from and exploit foreign scientific knowledge, and the Jesuits, for their part, were able to learn from their Chinese counterparts at court.

Kangxi, having learned of the French Royal Academy of Science, established fourteen imperial workshops including a glass works, an armory, a clock manufacturer, precious metal and stone works, a lacquer and wood works, an enamel workshop, and a map workshop. He placed several Jesuits in supervisory roles in the workshops. Although the exact extent of the Jesuit influence on the Qing Emperors and their circles is difficult to determine, it is clear that they played a role in a range of areas, from the production of weapons and numerous mechanical devices; explorations in astronomy, mapmaking, and medicine; diplomatic efforts; and providing input into the artistic life of the court. The missionaries were careful to adapt their expertise to Chinese practices and values and to not contradict or impose their own cultural preferences. All the Jesuits residing at the Qing courts were highly skilled individuals and many of them excelled in several domains. For example, Joachim Bouvet (1636–1730) was a historian, mathematician, and geometrician and Jean-François Gerbillon (1645–1707) was a geographer and chronicler. Both were appointed at the Kangxi court and maintained strong contact with the Emperor.

Vase
Vase. China. Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period and mark, ca. 1755. Overlaid cameo glass. H. 12 1/4 x W. 5 1/2 in. (31.1 x 14 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Henry W. Breyer, Sr., 1962, 1962-84-9. Photograph courtesy of the lender

Yet, the standing of the Jesuits at the Qing court shifted during the second half of the eighteenth century when they were relegated to a position of mere foreign advisors and experts, which in the court hierarchy put them below the Emperor’s minions. Still, the Jesuit mission in China remained strong since the Qianlong emperor continued to value their expertise in arts and architecture. Many works created in the Imperial workshops during Qianlong’s reign exhibit characteristics that reveal a delight in shared eastern and western skills and knowledge. Glass objects are among the exceptional works made by skilled Chinese craftsmen during this time using both eastern and western artistry. Though glass has been in China since at least the fifth century BCE and the earliest Chinese-made vessels date to the Western Han period (206 BCE–25 CE), glass never developed there to the same extent as jade, bronze, and porcelain. However, interest in imported glass, which was considered exotic and valuable, had ebbed and owed for many centuries. Western glass received renewed interest around 1595 when Matteo Ricci presented two glass prisms to the Emperor Wanli’s (1563–1620) officials. Later, the Kangxi emperor decided to satisfy the demands of his court for higher quality glass objects by seeking out missionaries to teach Chinese artisans how to make European-style glass. The Jesuits, needing optical glass for their scientific instruments, enthusiastically responded to this initiative, and an imperial glass workshop was inaugurated in 1696. German Jesuit Kilian Stumpf (1655–1720), a highly skilled glassmaker, was assigned to head the workshop. Stumpf’s successors, French Jesuits Gabriel-Léonard de Brossard (1703–58) and possibly Pierre d’Incarville (1706–57) taught Chinese craftsmen how to make two highly coveted kinds of glass: overlay glass, which was used to create the engraved glass vase pictured here, and Venetian aventurine or golden star (jinxing) glass. Another European technology, diamond-point engraving, was introduced about the same time in order to engrave ornamentation and to properly mark workshop production.

Snuff Bottle
Snuff Bottle. China. Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period, 1736–95. Painted enamel on copper. H. 2 7/8 xW. 1 1/2 x D. 1in. (7.3 x 3.8 x 2.5 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art: Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913, 14.40.557a,b. Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY

Glass was just one of the mediums used to produce the large quantity of exquisite and enormously popular snuff bottles created in the imperial workshops. Both snuff and snuff boxes became popular gifts from Vatican and European countries to the Qing court through the eighteenth century. To maintain its aroma and proper consistency, snuff has to be kept contained and dry. European-style snuff boxes, which were often gifted with snuff, were ill-suited to the humid Chinese climate. Initially, the Chinese used cylindrical medicine bottles to hold snuff, but soon the Kangxi Emperor’s workshops were producing cunning, multi-shaped bottles with pretty stoppers and attached ivory spoons for dispensing snuff.

Snuff Bottle
Snuff Bottle. China. Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period, 1736–95. Painted enamel on copper. H. 2 1/8 x W. 1 1/2 x D. 3/4 in. (5.4 x 3.8 x 1.9 cm); Base: H. 5/8 x Diam. 1 1/4 x 3/4 in. (1.6 x 3.2 x 1.9 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art: Bequest of Edmund C. Converse, 1921, 21.175.314a,b. Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY

The Qianlong Emperor particularly appreciated the artfulness of the miniature containers and, like his father and grandfather, he presented the tiny bottles as gifts to honored officials and foreign dignitaries. Court officials and others exchanged lovely snuff bottles as gifts, as did members of the Chinese elite beyond the palace walls. Some Qianlong-era snuff containers are embellished with exotic images of Europeans they may have thought seemed especially well-suited for this imported substance. The works included in this exhibition are copper-bodied painted enamelware with the enamel design painted directly onto the metal surface. The technique, which originated in fifteenth-century Flanders, was incorporated into palace workshops under Kangxi. Two craftsmen from Canton, Pan Qun and Yang Shizhang, were enlisted by the workshop in the 1710s and were joined in 1719 by a French Jesuit supervisor, Jean-Baptiste Gravereau (born 1690).

Snuff Box
Snuff Box. China. Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period, 1736–95. Painted enamel on copper. H. 1 1/2 x W. 2 3/16 x D. 2 9/16 in.(3.8 x 5.5 x 6.5 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Constance A. Jones, 1988, 1988-27-93. Photograph courtesy of the lender

Today, through maps like The Capital Edition of the Complete Map (of the World based on) Astronomy and decorative objects like snuff bottles and glass vessels, we are able to catch a glimpse into Europe and European learning as seen through eighteenth-century Chinese eyes. Much of what they saw was cunning and delightfully exotic. Far from the Central Kingdom (Zhongguo, the Chinese name for China) there were strange lands as represented in the example in this exhibition and captured in the caricature of oddly dressed aristocrats accompanied by child-servant boys barely clad to conceal their nudity. This Chinese view provides an engaging counterpoint to that frequently provided on Europe’s chinoiserie, which is often filled with mandarins and ladies in exotic robes and headdresses strolling through fanciful landscapes with pavilions.

Saucer
Saucer. China. Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), 18th century. Porcelain with overglaze enamels. H. 3/4 x W. 4 3/4 in. (1.9 x 12.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Samuel E. Haslett, 29.1460.2. Photograph courtesy of Brooklyn Museum.
Selected Bibliography

Curtis, Emily Byrne . Glass Exchange Between Europe and China, 1550-1800: Diplomatic, Mercantile, and Technological Interactions. Farnham, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009.

Elman, Benjamin A. On Their Own Terms: Science in China, 1550-1900. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005.

Emerson, Julie, Jennifer Chen, Mimi Gardner Gates, Porcelain Stories: From China to Europe. Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum in association with University of Washington Press, 2000.

Pegg, Richard A. Cartographic Traditions in East Asian Maps. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014.

Snuff Bottles in the Collection of the National Palace Museum. Taipei: Guoli gugong bowu yuan, 1992.

Website References:

"Complete Map of Astronomy and the Qing Empire." Reading Digital Atlas. Accessed January 31, 2019. http://digitalatlas.asdc.sinica.edu.tw/digitalatlasen/map_detail.jsp?id….

"Jingban tianwen quantu ," Rice Scholarship Home, accessed January 31, 2019, https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/81426.

Smith, Richard J., "History of the Jingban tianwen quantu." Woodson Research Center - Fondren Library - Rice University, accessed January 31, 2019, https://exhibits.library.rice.edu/exhibits/show/jingban-tianwen-quantu/….

 

 

Audio Guide

To enjoy Asia Society's free audio guide for A Complete Map of the World: The Eighteenth-century Convergence of China and Europe, just look for the audio icon next to select artworks in the exhibition.

For easier mobile access, listen at Soundcloud.

Credits

Support for Asia Society Museum is provided by Asia Society Global Council on Asian Arts and Culture, Asia Society Friends of Asian Arts, Arthur Ross Foundation, Sheryl and Charles R. Kaye Endowment for Contemporary Art Exhibitions, Hazen Polsky Foundation, Mary Griggs Burke Fund, Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

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New Cartographies

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Texas15 Sep 201817 Mar 201911:00am6:00pmSaturday 15 Sep 2018Sunday 17 Mar 2019

Maps have been at the center of cultural and political exchange between Asia and the West for centuries, supplying an orientation to unfamiliar environments, an ability to communicate about foreign lands to a domestic audience, and in some instances a taxonomy that gave mapmakers a sense of control and order. Maps continue to define and help navigate diverse geographies, both in analog and digital modes.

New Cartographies delves into the unique ways that contemporary artists such as Tiffany Chung, Allan deSouza, Li Songsong, and Sohei Nishino are incorporating cartography into their practices as they look at globally relevant topics such as urbanization, economic migration, environmental change, refugee movements, and the repercussions of colonial legacies.

Admission Information

Regular admission to this exhibition is free for Asia Society Members and children ages 12 and under, $8 for Nonmembers.


Hours

Tuesday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday  – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closed Mondays.

Asia Society Texas Center will be closed Thursday, November 22, 2018. We will resume our regular hours Friday, November 23.


Photography

Photography of the exhibition without flash is permitted.

About the Artists

Tiffany Chung

Tiffany Chung (b. 1969, Da Nang, Vietnam; lives and works in Houston) is noted for her cartographic drawings, sculptures, videos, photographs, and theater performances that examine conflict, migration, displacement, urban progress, and transformation in relation to history and cultural memory. Chung’s work studies the geographical shifts in countries that were traumatized by war, human destruction, or natural disaster. Based on meticulous ethnographic research and archival documents, her work excavates layers of history, re-writes chronicles of places, and creates interventions into the spatial narratives produced through statecraft.

Chung’s works have been featured in exhibitions at the Mori Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and in the 2015 Venice Biennale, in the exhibition All the World’s Futures in the Arsenale, with an installation of 40 map-based drawings relating to the ongoing crisis in Syria.


Allan deSouza

Allan deSouza (b. 1958, Nairobi, Kenya; lives and works in the Bay Area) is a multi-media artist. His photography, installation, text, and performance works restage historical evidence through counter-strategies of fiction, erasure, and (mis)translation. deSouza’s recent works engage with the history of the later 19th century and connections between South Asia, East Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

His work has been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally, including at the Walther Collection, Germany; Pompidou Centre, Paris; 2008 Gwangju Biennale, Korea; 3rd Guangzhou Triennale, China; and in recent solo exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; the Phillips Collection; the Fowler Museum; Krannert Art Museum; Talwar Gallery, NY; and Talwar Gallery, Delhi. His writings have been published in various journals, anthologies, and catalogues, including Third Text, London; Wolgan Art Monthly, South Korea; and X-TRA, Los Angeles. He is the Chair and an Associate Professor in the Department of Art Practice, UC Berkeley.


Li Songsong

Li Songsong (b. 1973, Beijing; lives and works in Beijing) primarily employs painting in his practice, incorporating historical and political content informed by photographic research. He directs attention to the way in which societies understand their own histories, and its impact on their collective behavior. His paintings emphasize the materiality of the medium and manipulate scale, surface, and color to emphasize his themes.

He graduated from the Subsidiary School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing in 1992 before going on to receive his BFA in oil painting from CAFA in 1996. Li has since been the focus of many publications and international exhibitions, including at Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, Germany; MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy; Pace Gallery, Beijing, London, and New York; and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing and Lucerne.


Sohei Nishino

Sohei Nishino (b. 1982, Hyogo, Japan; lives and works in Kanagawa and Shizuoka) is a photographer whose work focuses on the relationship between the physical body, memory, and diverse geographies. After graduating from Osaka University of the Arts in 2004, he began his Diorama Map series. The series features a “diorama” of each selected city, composed of thousands of collaged photographs which are records of his movements through its streets and architecture. The countless first-person views are printed on contact sheets and subsequently reconfigured as “maps” in his studio. The works are imbued with his experiences walking the selected cities, and capture the dynamism and subjectivity of cityscapes as we experience them.

He has exhibited his work internationally at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Daegu Photo Biennale, Korea; Saatchi Gallery, London; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; and the ICP Triennial, New York.

Related Programs and Tours

Reception for New Cartographies & Artists' Conversation
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 | 6-8 p.m.
Visit with the artists over drinks and light bites and receive a FREE preview of the exhibition.

RSVP Now

Artist Talk: Allan deSouza
Saturday, December 8, 2018 | 2-3:30 p.m.
Artist Allan deSouza will discuss his works in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery, as well as his newest book, How Art Can Be Thought: A Handbook for Change (Duke University Press, October 2018). Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Purchase Tickets

Artist Talk: Tiffany Chung
Saturday, January 12, 2019 | 2-3:30 p.m.
Artist Tiffany Chung will discuss her work as it relates to the current exhibition New Cartographies.

Purchase Tickets


Monthly Tours

Saturday, October 13, 3 p.m.

Saturday, November 10, 3 p.m.

Saturday, December 8, 3 p.m.

To schedule a group tour outside of these designated days, please fill out the form below or contact Jennifer Kapral, Director of Education & Outreach, at JKapral@AsiaSociety.org.

Schedule a group tour »


School Tours

School tours, facilitated by the education department staff and volunteers, provide educationally rich interactive opportunities for students to learn about Asian art, culture, and traditions. These free tours are open to all public, private, charter, alternative, and home schools. Visits take place on weekdays, Tuesday through Friday, for one to two hours.

All school tours and subsequent interactive projects are tethered to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and district curriculum standards. They may include:

  • Docent-led tour of exhibitions in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery

  • "Introduction to Asia” PowerPoint Presentation highlighting essential information about Asian art, culture, geography, and politics

  • Guided tour of the Texas Center and discussion of its unique architecture

  • Interactive projects based on the current exhibition (unavailable during summer months, June through August)

At least two weeks’ notice is required for school tours. Additional advance notice is required for groups larger than 25.

Schedule a school tour »

For more information, please contact Jennifer Kapral, Director of Education & Outreach, at JKapral@AsiaSociety.org.

Press Release

HOUSTON, September 11, 2018 — Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC) opens a new mixed-media exhibition entitled New Cartographies on September 15, featuring four artists from across the U.S. and Asia making their ASTC debuts. Their work examines how maps inform, and even shape, our view of the world in sometimes inaccurate ways. The exhibition, ranging from photography to installation, runs through March 17, 2019, in the Center’s upstairs Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery.

New Cartographies delves into the unique ways that contemporary artists such as Tiffany ChungAllan deSouzaLi Songsong, and Sohei Nishino are incorporating cartography into their practices as they examine globally relevant topics such as urbanization, economic migration, environmental change, refugee movements, and the repercussions of colonial legacies.

Maps have been at the center of cultural and political exchange between Asia and the West for centuries, supplying an orientation to unfamiliar environments, an ability to communicate about foreign lands to a domestic audience, and in some instances a taxonomy that gave mapmakers a sense of control and order. Maps continue to define and help navigate diverse geographies, both in analog and digital modes. These artists take cartography in utterly new directions while challenging past norms.

“In 2018, the majority of us encounter and use maps digitally. The artists featured in New Cartographies reconnect us to the physicality of maps, and their importance in shaping histories and narratives,” says Bridget Bray, ASTC’s Nancy C. Allen Curator and Director of Exhibitions. “This exhibition assembles a group of four artists from across Asia and the United States who raise interesting questions about something many of us rely on everyday as a factual, objective resource: the map. They re-frame maps as created documents that can share information but also can convey a certain perspective, depending on the map’s creator and their intentions.”

Individually, the artists’ works have been seen across the world and represent a diverse range of perspectives, as the artists hail from Vietnam, Kenya, Japan, and China, respectively. However, all four artists’ work sheds light on how mapmakers’ choices can alter societal impressions and therefore have long-term impact.


About Asia Society Texas Center

With 13 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the rest of the world. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.

Press

Review: New Cartographies at Asia Society Texas CenterArts and Culture Texas, October 31, 2018.

Credits

This exhibition is organized by Asia Society Texas Center

Exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Wells Fargo; the China Series is presented by East West Bank; the Japan Series is presented by Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas). Major support comes from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy C. Allen, Leslie and Brad Bucher, and Mary Lawrence Porter, as well as The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston Endowment, and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Generous funding also provided by The Clayton Fund, Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Wortham Foundation, Inc., The Franci Neely Foundation, Olive Jenney, Nanako and Dale Tingleaf, and Ann Wales. Funding is also provided through contributions from the Friends of Asia Society, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional visual art to Asia Society Texas Center.

Special exhibition support provided by Leslie and Brad Bucher.

Presenting Sponsor

Wells Fargo


China Series Presenting Sponsor

East West Bank


Japan Series Presenting Sponsor

Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)


Program Sponsors

HAA NEA TCA


Additional Support

The Southmore Logo
Primary Topic

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents— Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris | 香港賽馬會呈獻—春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎

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Hong Kong12 Sep 201806 Jan 201911:00am6:00amWednesday 12 Sep 2018Sunday 6 Jan 2019
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents - Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris is the first major presentation of Pan Yu-Lin (1895-1977) in Hong Kong and the second instalment in the 20th Century Chinese Female Artist Series. Born of humble origins, Pan came of age during the revolutionary May Fourth era and seized the chance to be one of the first Chinese students to study fine arts in France. Unlike most of her compatriots who built their artistic careers at home, Pan developed her unique style in the competitive Parisian art world from the 1930s until her death. With over sixty works of portraiture, nude, landscape, dance figure painting, and sculpture, this exhibition explores Pan’s second period in Paris, highlighting her artistic range and distinguished style that combines eastern and western sensibilities. This exhibition is guest curated by Eric Lefebvre, with Joyce Hei-ting Wong as assistant curator.

Visitors are welcome to share their experience on social media by tagging us #ASHKPanyulin, #ASHKPanyuliang, #SongofSpring, #PanyulininParis, or #20CenturyChineseFemaleArtists

Important note:  Nudity is depicted in this exhibition and parental guidance is recommended for younger viewers.

Visit the Exhibition's Minisite

《香港賽馬會呈獻 -春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎》為「二十世紀中國女藝術家系列」第二個展覽,亦是香港首個大型潘玉良(1895-1977)的個人展覽。潘氏出身貧苦,成長於五四運動變革時期,是首批前往法國學習藝術的中國學生之一。有別於同期留學西方後,返國開展藝術生涯的中國藝術家,她從1930年代直至逝世前都選擇馳騁於競爭激烈的巴黎藝術界。是次展覽將呈獻逾六十件肖像、裸體、風景、舞蹈人物繪畫及雕塑,展覽將探索潘氏第二度赴法時期的創作及融會中西情感的獨特風格。展覽由客席策展人易凱策展,並由黃熙婷助理策展。

歡迎大家在社交平台上分享展覽的體驗,記得加上 #ASHKPanyulin, #ASHKPanyuliang, #SongofSpring, #PanyulininParis, or #20CenturyChineseFemaleArtists的標記。

重要提示:是次展覽將展出一些裸體的畫作,建議未成年的觀眾在家長的指引下欣賞。

進入展覽專網

ASHK logos set
About the Series 關於系列

20th Century Chinese Female Artist Series 二十世紀中國女藝術家系列

Female empowerment and equality in modern societies have been much debated topics dating back over a century. While the diverse achievements of female talents across different fields have gained better light in recent years, female artists remain an under-represented and under-appreciated segment in Western societies and even more so across Chinese communities. 

Yet the emergence of female artists in 20th century China was a testament to both the country’s social progress and the various redefinitions of modernity that were adopted in a historical context complicated by wars and disasters.  Female agency in society was among the issues argued and promoted in the mass media of the time and retains lasting ideological power today.  Moreover, the social value of art and aesthetic education, institutionalized as part of a modern education program, along with co-education, placed high expectations on female artists as symbols of China’s modernity.  However, in scholastic studies and exhibitions, attention has been focused on modern Chinese male artists. Exhibitions featuring the creative attainments and influences of their female counterparts from the period are few and far between, and rarely in monographic presentations.

Asia Society Hong Kong Center launched its 20th Century Chinese Female Artist Exhibition Series (“the Series”) in 2017 to reclaim the story of female artists.  The first of its kind in Hong Kong, the Series provides local Hong Kong audiences with important examples of their artistic accomplishments, and hopes to honor the female artists with the public recognition they deserve for their contribution to the making of modern China. More information on the first exhibition in the Series, Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling, and the related education programs are available here.

The current exhibition, Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris, is the second in the Series. Exclusively sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, it is the first solo presentation in Hong Kong of the treasured works by the exemplary Chinese painter Pan Yu-Lin (aka Pan Yuliang, 1895-1977).

From a wider community context, the Series fits into the discourse on female empowerment and equality in Hong Kong today, where research indicates that women continue to face challenges in male-dominated industries as well as gender stereotypes in the media and the workplace.  A series of education programs entitled Jockey Club Art Education and Female Empowerment Series will be offered to children, students, families, and the general public, through which we will highlight achievements of women in various industries while connecting to the lives and careers of the unique female artists presented in the Series.

現代社會的女權和平等,從上一世紀以來一直是極具爭議的話題。近年來,儘管有才華的女性在不同領域上的成就較以往多了注目, 但眾多社會上的女藝術家代表性仍然不足,她們仍然未能得到充分讚譽,這情況在各個中國社區更為明顯。

然而,二十世紀中國女性藝術家的出現卻印證了中國社會的進步,同時也為經歷戰爭和災難這複雜歷史背景下的現代添上了新的定義。社會上的女性代表一方面備受爭議,另一方面則為當時大眾傳媒所追捧,這意識形態的力量在今天仍然存在。學術研究和展覽界別的注意力往往集中在現代中國男性藝術家身上, 以一個時代的女藝術家創意成就和影響力為題的展覽極為罕有,更鮮有以女藝術家個人為專題的展覽 。

亞洲協會香港中心於2017年推出二十世紀中國女藝術家系列 (「系列」),以爭取將女藝術家的故事發揚光大。 希望透過向香港觀眾展示她們重要的藝術成就,以提升公眾對她們的認知,令她們對中國現代作出的貢獻得以表揚。

現正展出的《春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎》為系列的第二個展覽。展覽承蒙香港賽馬會慈善信託基金的獨家贊助及支持,這亦是中國女藝術家潘玉良(1895-1977)在香港首個大型的個人展覽。

About the Exhibition 關於展覽
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris.
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris.

Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris is presented exclusively by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, and represents the second installment in Asia Society Hong Kong Center’s 20th Century Chinese Female Artist Series. Belonging to the first generation of Chinese students to study fine arts in France, Pan Yu-Lin (aka Pan Yuliang, 1895-1977) was a pioneer in modernizing Chinese art with western painting at a time when it was rare for women to achieve independent careers as professional artists.  Pan was distinguished for her individual style that synthesized eastern and western sensibilities as well as her academic contributions as one of the first female art professors in modern China.  Unlike most of her compatriots who built their careers back home after overseas education, Pan came to live and develop her individual style in the competitive Parisian art world until her death. 

This exhibition explores Pan’s unique trajectory and significance to modern Chinese art history by focusing on her second period in France, with over sixty works across four chambers dedicated to the themes of portraiture, nudes, cityscape and landscape, and dance figure painting, alongside archival materials and videos that delve into a comprehensive look at the art world of Pan Yu-Lin.

《春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎》二十世紀中國女藝術家系列的第二個展覽。展覽承蒙香港賽馬會慈善信託基金的獨家贊助及支持,這亦是中國女畫家潘玉良(1895-1977)首個在香港舉行的個人作品展。

潘玉良(1895-1977)是第一代於法國留學的藝術系學生。雖然生於女性難以獨立成專業藝術家的年代,但潘氏仍然以其別樹一幟的中西合璧的風格,成為用西方技巧現代化中國傳統藝術的先鋒。與此同時,作為現代中國其中一位最早的女性藝術系教授,她對學術的貢獻亦是不可多得。潘玉良的藝術之路與大部份留學生不同,潘玉良選擇了終生留在競爭激烈的巴黎,發展其藝術事業,不同於當時留學華人普遍選擇回國。

是次展覽主要集中以潘玉良在法國的第二個階段,探索她對中國藝術史的重要影響,四個展區將展出超過六十件作品,主題包括了肖像、 裸體、 城市與自然風光及舞蹈人像。展覽同時展出潘玉良珍貴的資料、影像,藉以深入探索她的藝術世界。


Exhibition Period
September 12, 2018 – January 6, 2019

Free Admission

Location
Chantal Miller Gallery
Asia Society Hong Kong Center
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Former Explosives Magazine
9 Justice Drive Admiralty, Hong Kong

Opening Hours
Tuesday - Sunday: 11am - 6pm
Last Thursday of every month: 11am - 8pm
Last admission:  30 minutes before closing
Closed on Mondays, Christmas Days and New Years Day

展覽日期
2018年9月12日 – 2019年1月6日

開放時間
星期二至星期日: 上午11時至下午6時
每月最後一個星期四:上午11時至晚上8時
逢星期一,聖誕節正日及元旦休館

免費入場

地址
金鐘正義道9號
香港賽馬會復修軍火庫
亞洲協會香港中心麥禮賢夫人藝術館

About the Artist 關於藝術家
Self-portrait in Red, c.1940, Oil on canvas. Anhui Provincial Museum.
Self-portrait in Red, c.1940, Oil on canvas. Anhui Provincial Museum.

Pan Yu-Lin (aka Pan Yuliang, 1895-1977) belonged to the first generation of Chinese students to study fine arts in France. She was a pioneer in modernizing Chinese art with western painting at a time when it was rare for women to achieve independent careers as professional artists.

She studied in Europe for nearly eight years between Lyon, Paris, and Rome. At the National School of Fine Arts in Paris, Pan was the first Asian student to win a scholarship to study at Accademia del Belle Arti di Roma, where she studied sculpture and painting. She returned to China in 1928 and was immediately hired by the Shanghai Art Academy, her alma mater, as the head of western painting — the first woman to assume such a high academic position. She also taught at the Nanjing Central University Fine Art Department from 1931 onwards, and remained as a researcher and tutor at the Shanghai Art Academy’s painting research institute Yiyuan. Throughout her decade in China, she held four solo exhibitions and established various art societies. In 1937, she traveled to Paris again in search for her independent visual language.

Pan Yu-Lin remained in Paris until her death. Throughout her relocation to France, her works were widely exhibited in the salon circuit. Pan was the first Chinese artist to be collected by the City of Paris and followed by the National Museum of Modern Art in 1955. She won numerous awards overseas throughout her career, with her proudest achievement being the 1959 Thorlet award from the University of Paris granted by the municipal government.

潘玉良(1895–1977),屬於首批赴法修讀藝術的中國留學生,在鮮有女性自力更生的年代成為融會中西畫風、革新中國藝術的先驅。

潘氏在里昂、巴黎和羅馬等地學習近八年。入讀巴黎國立高等美術學院,潘氏成為首位亞洲藝術家贏得獎學金入讀羅馬美術學院深造畫功及雕塑技巧。她於1928年回中國,隨即被母校上海美術專科學校聘請為西洋畫主任,為首位國内擔任藝術學術高職的女性。由1931年起,她亦曾任教於南京國立中央大學藝術系,兼任上海美專繪畫研究所藝苑的研究員和導師。留國期間,她曾經舉辦四次個展及設立不同的藝術社。在1937年她二度赴法進修,尋找自己的視覺語言。

潘玉良在世期間一直留居巴黎。再赴法國後,潘氏的畫作在沙龍圈頻繁展出。於1955年,她成為首位分別被巴黎市以及巴黎國立現代藝術博物館納入收藏的中國畫家。她在藝術生涯中獲獎無數,於1959年的巴黎大學「THORLET」獎為她最感自豪的殊榮。

Gallery Guided Tours 展覽導賞團
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris.
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris.

Open to public free of charge.  No registration required.

Saturdays | 2:30pm (In English) | 3:30pm (In Cantonese)
Sundays | 2:30pm (In English) | 3:30pm (In Cantonese)

Gallery Tour for Schools
The Center provides free docent-led tours of the exhibition to schools. Requests for school visits will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis. To apply the tour, please download the form HERE, and please contact our Outreach Team.

免費向公眾開放,無需申請。

星期六 | 下午2:30 (英文) | 下午3:30 (廣東話)
星期日 | 下午2:30 (英文) | 下午3:30 (廣東話)

學校參觀
本中心為學校免費提供專為兩個年齡組別而設的導賞團

小學參觀 :針對6至12歲的學生。採用故事敘述和互動問題的形式,以吸引年輕學生。重點將放在潘玉良的個人故事和藝術的成就, 並鼓勵學生利用我們的工作紙來理解基本的藝術元素,如色彩、線條、圖案和構圖等,以表達情感。

中學參觀: 針對13至18歲的學生。重點在藝術概念和藝術史,讓學生了解西方基礎藝術培訓的要求、生活畫及寫生的重要技巧,以及西方藝術史上人體和女性裸體畫的意義。

學校參觀的申請為以先到先得。若要申請參觀,請在此處下載表格,並發送電子郵件至outreachhk@asiasociety.org

Art Competition 繪畫比賽
art competition

Click here for competition exhibition details.

To encourage participation in art creation and promote the appreciation of art, Asia Society Hong Kong Center invites all visitors to give in to their imaginations and engage in a dialogue with Pan Yu-Lin’s work and her world through this open art competition and exhibition.  Winning and selected works will be exhibited in the Chantal Miller Gallery.

Entry Guidelines
Entry theme:  Expressing Self – Inspired by Pan Yu-Lin

Pan Yu-Lin’s work is an artistic expression of her feelings and a visual representation of her true self.  She persists in “fusing East and West to become one” in her artistic pursuits. Throughout her long lifetime, Pan produces over five thousands of artworks, comprising but not limited to oil paintings, ink wash paintings, and drawings. She mainly projects herself and her feelings into her plenty of portraits and self-portraits. Through her audacious style and exquisite artworks, Pan also makes us think about the questions of expressing self by art.

Do you think art is conducive to knowing and depicting self?  Does Pan’s work inspire you and give you courage?  Create a drawing or a painting to express your true self, as inspired by Pan.  The art work can be of any themes or styles inspired by Pan Yu-Lin’s art.

Entry categories

A) Children division: Aged 10 or under

B) Youth division: Aged 11 - 17

C) Open division: Aged 18 or above

Format of the entry

•     The art work should be two-dimensional (2D) only.  The non-painted or non-drawn parts should not exceed 20% of the whole work.

•     Framed art work size must be within 100cm x 100 cm.

•     An artist statement (not more than 30 words in either Chinese or English) is required to be submitted with the art work.  The title and materials should be stated in the application form.

Submission Period

September 12, 2018 to 12:00pm (HKT) January 6, 2019

Submission Method

Please go to (google form link) for entry form, artwork digital image(s) and artist statement submission.  Applicants are required to keep the original works for further exhibition.  Finalists will be contacted individually via email by January 11, 2019.

Judging Criteria

All submissions will be judged based on three criteria:

•     Relevance and interpretation of the theme

•     Creativity

•     Technical Merit of the art work

Prizes

10 finalists will be selected from each division to be exhibited at Asia Society Hong Kong Center’s Chantal Miller Gallery, and receive a Certificate of Excellence. Each division will have First, Second, and Third Prized, and seven Excellence Award winners. 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners will receive a copy of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris catalogue, and a book voucher. Excellent Award winners will receive a book voucher.

Award Ceremony and Exhibition Opening: January 26, 2019
Exhibition Period:  January 26 - February 10, 2019


按此瀏覽比賽展出詳情

為鼓勵公眾參與藝術創作及推廣藝術欣賞,亞洲協會香港中心誠邀所有展覽的到訪者,藉參與是次比賽和展覽,分享他們從潘玉良的展覽中所獲得的啟發與想像,並與潘的藝術世界作交流。得獎及入圍作品將於麥禮賢夫人藝術館展出

比賽詳情
作品主題:《繪現真我——由潘玉良作品出發》

潘玉良的作品是情感的藝術表達和真我的視覺表現。她堅持「合中西於一冶」的藝術追求、一生共創作五千多幅油畫、水墨畫、素描等,並主要以眾多的人像和自畫像表達自我和情感。透過大膽的作風和細膩的畫像,潘玉良讓我們思考藉著藝術展現真我的課題。

你認為藝術有助於表達和認識自我嗎?

你從潘玉良的作品裡獲得了啟發和勇氣嗎?

誠邀你創作繪畫作品,從展覽中得到啟發繪出真我。參賽作品可取材自潘玉良任何的作品主題或藝術風格為創作的靈感。

參賽組別

A)兒童組:10歲或以下

B) 青年組:11-17歳

C) 公開組:18歲或以上

作品格式

•  參賽作品只限於平面創作;非繪畫部份不得超過整體作品的20%。

•  作品(連同畫框)不可大於100cm x 100cm。

•  參賽者須遞交不多於30字﹙中文或英文﹚的作品簡介。作品主題及物料須於申請表格中註明。

參賽者須於(google form link)提交參賽表格、作品相片﹙電子檔﹚及作品簡介。參賽者須保留原作,以便之後於展覽中展出。入圍作品將於2019年1 月11日以電郵方式通知。

評審準則

評審團將以下準則評審所有參賽作品:

 (1) 與主題的關連與闡釋;

(2)創意;

(3)創作技巧

獎項

將從組別將選出10幅入圍作品,於亞洲協會香港中心麥禮賢夫人藝術館中展出畫廊,並獲得優秀證書。每個組別將選出冠軍、亞軍、季軍,及7名優異奬。冠、亞、季軍獲獎者將獲得《春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎》畫冊和書券。優秀獎獲獎者亦將獲得書券。

展覽開幕及頒奬禮:2019年1月26日
展覽日期:2019年1月26日至2月10日

Programs 活動
A Taste of Art Workshop: Still Life
A Taste of Art Workshop: Still Life

In conjunction with the exhibition Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris, Asia Society Hong Kong Center hosted a variety of related programming, including discussions, lectures and themed workshops. 

Discussions and Lectures 座談會及講座 

September 12, 2018: Curator's Conversation with Dr. Eric Lefebvre and Dong Song 策展人對話
September 26, 2018: S.H.E Dialogue Series: 'Parenting Three Stanford Kids' with Agnes Chen 陳美齡
October 31, 2018: China’s Millennial Women Artists: A New Generation 中國千禧世代女性藝術家
November 12, 2018: S.H.E Dialogue Series: Conducting Your Own Life — In Conversation with Conductor Yip Wing-sie 葉詠詩
December 14, 2018: S.H.E Dialogue Series: Deborah Mannas and Her Inspirations

Film Screenings 電影放映

September 28, 2018: The Apology 《等不到的道歉》 
October 16, 2018: Almost Haven 《幾近天堂》
November 2, 2018: Little Stone
November 30, 2018: Kusama: Infinity 《點止草間彌生》
December 1, 2018: La Peintre, Yu-Lin 《畫魂》歌劇

Workshops 工作坊

September 30, 2018: Self-Portrait 自畫像
October 28, 2018: Still Life 靜物
November 25, 2018: Figure Drawing 人物寫生
December 16, 2018: Landscape 陸上風景

Performances 表演

November 3, 2018: Expressive Art 藝術良藥
December 1, 2018: Dance Theatre with Mui Cheuk Yin 舞·劇場

 

In the News 媒體

 

Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris.
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris.

文化速遞:潘玉良香港首次個展 , 《明報》, September 7, 2018.

Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris, International Institute of Asian Studies, Autumn 2018.

Pan Yu-Lin paintings show opens in Hong Kong, ECNS, September 12, 2018.

潘玉良香港首展“春之歌” , 《大公报》, September 12, 2018.

Nudes, women and self-portraits: Pan Yulin exhibition shows works from artist’s last 40 years, South China Morning Post, September 15, 2018.

中國女梵高潘玉良 巴黎畫魂 , 《蘋果日報》, September 19, 2018.

世紀.畫魂:畫中旗袍說玉良, 《明報》, September 22, 2018.

初秋看畫 @豐子愷、竹久夢二、潘玉良, 《立場新聞》, October 2, 2018.

10 Hong Kong Art Exhibitions To See In October, Hong Kong Tatler, October 2, 2018.

周末好去處--藝行者, 《蘋果日報》, October 5, 2018.

藝坊星期天, 《RTHK》, October 7, 2018.

Chinese female artists Pan Yuliang & Cao Fei, in our studio: tenor Jasper Sung, 《Cultural Express 文化快訊 RTHK》, October 10, 2018. 

潘玉良展覽去看了沒?, 《亞洲藝術新聞》, October 23, 2018.

任意行——潘玉良在巴黎,《頭條日報》, December 12, 2018.

“Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris” at the Asia Society, Hong Kong, Asian Review of Books, December 21, 2018.


Press Release 新聞稿

English
中文

Installation views 展覽照片
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris
Installation view of Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris

 

 

Catalogue 展覽圖錄
Song of Spring Catalogue Cover

This catalogue is published on the occasion of Asia Society Hong Kong Center’s eponymous exhibition, Song of Spring: Pan Yu-Lin in Paris, from September 12, 2018 to January 6, 2019. Pan Yu-Lin was a pioneer in modernizing Chinese art with western painting at a time when it was rare for women to achieve independent careers as professional artists. This exhibition explores Pan’s unique trajectory and significance to modern Chinese art history by focusing on her second period in France, with over sixty works exhibited.The book includes fully illustrated color plates of all exhibited artworks, as well as four new essays by Eric Lefebvre, Dong Song, Francesca Dal Lago and Joyce Hei-ting Wong. 

為配合於2018年9月12日至2019年1月6日舉辦的展覽“春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎”,亞洲協會香港中心將出版“春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎”同名展覽圖錄。潘玉良(1895 -1977)是第一代於法國留學的藝術系學生。雖然生於女性難以獨立成專業藝術家的年代,但潘氏仍然以其別樹一幟的中西合璧的風格,成為用西方繪畫技巧推動中國傳統藝術現代化的先鋒。本次展覽展出超過六十件作品,展覽主要集中以潘玉良在法國的第二個階段,探索她對中國藝術史的重要影響。本書收集是次展覽中的所有展出作品的彩色圖片,並輔以易凱,董松,弗蘭和黃熙婷寫成的四篇專題文章。

Title: Song of Spring: Pan Yu-lin in Paris 春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎
ISBN: 978-988-78732-0-4
Number of pages: 195
Publisher: Asia Society Hong Kong Center
Design: Universal Brothers Communications

 

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Clouds Stretching for a Thousand Miles: Ink in Asian Art

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New York22 Jun 201812 Aug 201810:00am6:00pmFriday 22 Jun 2018Sunday 12 Aug 2018

Clouds Stretching For A Thousand Miles: Ink in Asian Art features selected recent acquisitions from the Asia Society Museum Collection and celebrates the versatility and enduring influence of the calligraphic ink tradition across Asia. Exemplary works by Gu Wenda, Huang Yan, Minjung Kim, Qiu Zhijie, and Sun Xun, displayed alongside two illuminated Qur'ans from China and Central Asia, reveal the innovative use of ink and calligraphy in visual expression, from the fourteenth century to the present, across Asia and the diaspora.

 

The title of the exhibition comes from the celebrated Tang Dynasty calligrapher and scholar Chang Yen-Yuan (c. 815–c. 875 CE), who likened the primary stroke of traditional calligraphic practice — the horizontal line — to "clouds stretching a thousand miles." This metaphor aptly describes the way contemporary Asian artists have embraced traditional calligraphic painting traditions and underscores the enduring importance of text and language across East Asian, West Asian, and Islamic art canons.

 

This presentation introduces ink works that are part of Asia Society's new collecting focus and continues the Museum's initiative to connect objects from the Traditional Collection to works from the Contemporary Collection through medium, techniques, and ideas that artists actively draw upon in the twenty-first century. Clouds Stretching for a Thousand Miles highlights the distinct art developments from the region and the creative, and sometimes subversive, methods that contemporary Asian artists have adopted to mine their respective cultures for inspiration.

Selected Works
Huang Yan - Chinese Landscape—Tattoo

Huang Yan (born 1966 in Jilin, China; lives and works in Changchun). Chinese Landscape—Tattoo, 1999. Chromogenic print. Asia Society, New York: Gift of Ethan Cohen in honor of Professor Jerome A. Cohen and Joan Lebold Cohen, 2016.1.1-13

Huang Yan's reinterpretation of traditional Chinese landscape painting challenges conventional artistic practices and creates a unique dialogue between the body and nature, and the past and present. In 1999 he began creating photographs that documented traditional landscape compositions, in the Song-dynasty style, painted onto the human body. Chinese Shan-Shui (Landscape) – Tattoo, 1999, is an early series of thirteen photographs that depicts a mountain landscape painted on a nude male torso in various poses. The title variously pays homage to the tradition of Chinese landscape painting while also alluding to society's increasing fixation with body art. By using the body as his canvas the artist attempts to reunite man and nature, which he believes have become estranged from one another in contemporary society.

 

Gu Wenda - Forest of Stone Steles #13

Gu Wenda (born 1955 in Shanghai, China; lives and works in New York). Forest of Stone Steles #13, 1998. Ink rubbing on rice paper. Asia Society, New York: Asia Society Museum Collection, 1998.2

Gu Wenda uses language as a medium to deconstruct meaning, challenge traditions, and examine the outcomes of cross-cultural exchanges. Forest of Stone Steles #13, and Forest of Stone Steles #33, both from 1998, exemplify Gu's play on the traditional art practice of creating ink rubbings. This series references the Stele Forest, a museum in the city of Xi'an that includes more than one thousand stone stele records of important political and cultural moments in Chinese history. These rubbings are from a series of steles created by the artist between 1993 and 2005 that record the translation of Tang dynasty poems into English by the American poet Witter Byner and published in his 1929 anthology "The Jade Mountain." Gu proceeds to phonetically translate the poem back into Chinese and re-interpret his translation back into English including the misinterpretations that naturally occur between these versions. His use of translation in this context highlights the fluidity of meaning and the subjectivity of interpretation over time and between cultures.

 

Image of an open 14th century Qu'ran from Central Asia

Qur'an. Ca. 1300. Central Asia. Ink, color, and gold on paper; Morocco leather binding. Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Acquisitions Fund, 2018.7

This rare Qur'an, the sacred scripture of Islam, survives from Central Asia, most likely the area of current day Uzbekistan. Writing transmits the word of God and therefore the art of writing is the most highly regarded of all the arts in the Islamic world. The sacred classical Arabic text was transmitted from the Iranian world across Central Asia to China. This Qur'an consists of fifteen lines of black muhaqqaqq calligraphy per page. The elaborate decoration includes gold and polychrome rosettes, illuminated roundels with blue ornamental outline in gold kufic calligraphy, and illuminated roundels with radiating finials, as well as illuminated panels.

 

Image of an open Qu'ran dating from the late 17th century

Qur'an. Ca. late 17th century. Western China. Ink, color, and gold on paper. Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Acquisitions Fund, 2018.8

The transmission of Islam to China was already underway in the eighth century; the impact that Chinese culture had on the production of the Islamic sacred text is clear in this illuminated Qur'an from around nine centuries later. Decorative motifs common to China, like the peony and geometric patterns, have been incorporated into the illumination. The calligraphy itself is in the style of script known as sini that developed in China. This style derived out of the form of calligraphy transmitted across Central Asia to China.

Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting

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New York27 Feb 201820 May 201812:00am11:59pmTuesday 27 Feb 2018Sunday 20 May 2018

'Gorgeous'

The New York Times

'Beautiful ... Riveting'

Tricycle

Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting features stunning paintings collected by Italian scholar Giuseppe Tucci during his 1926-1948 expeditions to Tibet, and striking photography of his travels. The paintings — on loan from the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome — are on view for the first time in the United States.

Guest curator Deborah Klimburg-Salter, University Professor Emeritus, CIRDIS, Institute for Art History, University of Vienna; and Associate, Department of South Asian Studies, Harvard University; with Adriana Proser, John H. Foster Senior Curator for Traditional Asian Art, Asia Society.

Purchase the richly illustrated book featuring works from this exhibition and more at AsiaStore.

Overview
The Namchung Mountain seen from the Kaliganga River between Kalapani and Lipulekh Pass, Kumaon, Uttarakhand, India. Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; Neg. dep. 6571/20. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.
The Namchung Mountain seen from the Kaliganga River between Kalapani and Lipulekh Pass, Kumaon, Uttarakhand, India. Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; Neg. dep. 6571/20. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.

The world knew very little about the Himalayan region when Italian scholar and explorer Giuseppe Tucci (1894–1984) began his work around one hundred years ago. His contributions to the understanding of Tibet, including Tibetan Buddhism, in the West have been enormous and the materials he was able to gather for future study impressive. Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting presents a selection of the paintings he acquired during his travels. Tucci obtained expedition permits that included permission to acquire and export original source materials for scientific study. The paintings he acquired were purchased, gifted, or found and deemed too badly damaged or incomplete for cult use by the Tibetan communities. Those in this exhibition, all recently conserved, are now in the collection and care of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art “Giuseppe Tucci” in Rome, to which Tucci and his wife Francesca Bonardi Tucci bequeathed all of their possessions.

Tucci’s life was framed by two World Wars, a worldwide economic depression, and—shortly after his last journey to Tibet—the destruction of Tibetan monastic culture. The turbulent times and the four years Tucci spent in the military during World War I—two of which were at the front line—had a profound effect on him. He was a highly intellectual, multi-lingual scholar with an antipathy to military solutions and a dedication to the pursuit of intercultural dialogue. During his lifetime, he received many high honors from many countries in Europe and Asia, and his scientific legacy is still fundamental to the research of Tibetan culture today. Tucci’s bibliography of more than four hundred entries attests to the expansiveness of his interests and talents. 

Tucci was also one of the most important explorers of the century. Among his scientific travels were eight major expeditions to Tibet, from 1928 to 1948, which are the focus of this exhibition. The selection of paintings and reproductions of photographs from three Italian photographers represent the roughly five thousand miles Tucci trekked across the Tibetan cultural zone, which extends far beyond the present borders of the Tibetan Autonomous Region in China. They also challenge us to envision very distant points in time and place: Italy at the beginning of the twentieth century, pre-modern Tibet, and the culture of ancient Tibet that expanded and blossomed from the twelfth century. 

Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting was organized by the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art “Giuseppe Tucci,” Rome. Unless otherwise noted, all objects in the exhibition are on loan from MU-CIV/MAO “Giuseppe Tucci,” Rome.

Guest curator Deborah Klimburg-Salter with Adriana Proser, John H. Foster Senior Curator for Traditional Asian Art, Asia Society.

The Journey

A Selection of Photography From Tucci's Expeditions to Tibet

Monastic dance at Kyi, Spiti, India. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1933; Neg. dep. 6079/6. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale)
Monastic dance at Kyi, Spiti, India. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1933; Neg. dep. 6079/6. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale)

The photographs included in the exhibition resulted from Giuseppe Tucci's eight Tibetan expeditions (1928-1948), which each averaged six months and not only were complicated to organize and provision, but also expensive. Tucci traveled under the Italian flag to facilitate negotiation for permits with other governments, and he struggled to secure public and private contributions. His failed attempts at documenting his earliest journeys with photography convinced him that each expedition needed a dedicated photographer with the skills to photograph in challenging environments-even inside dark monuments-and to develop the film along the way.

Concerned with the desperate condition of much of Tibet's cultural heritage, and receiving no response to his requests to the British government in India for preservation measures, he championed the most extensive, systematic photo-documentation effort ever made across the entire Tibetan cultural sphere. His expedition photographers were instructed to record monuments, cultural artifacts, and people and their occupations. The goal, Tucci wrote, was "the revealing and preserving, in so far as the record of photography may preserve, the remains" of this ancient civilization. The selection of photographs includes representative images of landscapes and towns, as well as monasteries where the paintings in this exhibition were created, displayed, or acquired by Tucci. 

Covering nearly five thousand miles on foot and horseback across the most difficult terrain and the highest plateau on earth was no easy task, and required that the photographers also needed to be adept mountaineers. Eugenio Ghersi, who accompanied two expeditions-1933 and 1935-was not only a photographer and mountaineer, but also a surgeon, hobby cartographer, and beer brewer. A uniquely talented and loyal travel companion to Tucci, Ghersi was the only photographer to keep a detailed diary of their journeys. The 1937 expedition photographer was the twenty-five-year-old Fosco Maraini, while Felice Boffo Bellaran was the photographer for the 1939 expedition. The long 1948 expedition to Lhasa and Central Tibet included the physician and photographer Regolo Moise, in addition to the photographers Pietro Francesco Mele and Prodhan, a Sikemese.

Today the majority of 14,000 prints, negatives, and fragments of film from the expeditions have been cataloged by The Tucci Photographic Archive project sponsored by IsMEO and now housed in the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci."

Giuseppe Tucci reorganizing the scattered pages of several manuscripts at his camp, Miang, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1933; Neg. dep. 6037/28. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Giuseppe Tucci reorganizing the scattered pages of several manuscripts at his camp, Miang, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1933; Neg. dep. 6037/28. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Mural paintings of the Buddha's life in Khardzong, Usukhar, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; Neg. dep. P-3420. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.)
Mural paintings of the Buddha's life in Khardzong, Usukhar, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; Neg. dep. P-3420. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.)
Buddha in the ruins with murals, Khardzong, Usukhar, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; P-3227. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.)
Buddha in the ruins with murals, Khardzong, Usukhar, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; P-3227. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.)
Crossing the Nyangchu River at Nesar, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6126/35. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Crossing the Nyangchu River at Nesar, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6126/35. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Ngor Monastery, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6105/08. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.)
Ngor Monastery, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6105/08. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.)
Tucci copying inscriptions from a stone pillar (rdo ring) at an unidentified location, possibly in U, Tibet. (Anonymous, 1948; Neg. dep. 8047/15. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Tucci copying inscriptions from a stone pillar (rdo ring) at an unidentified location, possibly in U, Tibet. (Anonymous, 1948; Neg. dep. 8047/15. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
The Spiritual Journey

The Path of the Sutra and the Path of the Tantra

The majority of paintings in this exhibition are religious paintings that are meant to serve as supports for meditation and ritual. They are intended to assist the practitioner on the path to awakening, or the attainment of bodhi, often called enlightenment. Tibetans recognize two paths of the Mahayana, which provide the primary structure for this exhibition. The goal of Mahayana is the attainment of Buddhahood for oneself and all sentient beings. The Path of the Sutra, path (yana) Sutrayana, or Paramitayana. The second path is Tantrayana, the esoteric path, or Path of the Tantra, also called Vajrayana or Mantrayana. Each path is based on different sacred texts. A sutra is a discourse attributed to a Buddha (often the historical Shakyamuni Buddha); a tantra is a discourse attributed to a tantric transformation of the Buddha that contains philosophical principals as well as instructions for ritual and meditation. Tibetans believe that the development of compassion combined with the distinctive meditational practices of the Path of the Tantras offers a quicker path to enlightenment.

The paintings in the exhibition are presented in six groups according to the invocation recited at the beginning of the Buddhist daily prayer in Tibet. All Buddhists begin their daily practice by taking refuge in the Three Jewels, which are fundamental to the Sutrayana in all Buddhist traditions: the Buddha (Shakyamuni Buddha); the Dharma (the Buddhist teachings); and the Sangha (the Buddhist community). In Tibet this invocation is often expanded to include the Three Roots of Tantrayana, so that the practitioner additionally vows to take refuge in the Lama (Guru); the Yidam (a personal meditational deity); and the Protectors (of the Dharma and the practitioner). 

Thangkas are devotional paintings dedicated to the figure placed at the center of the composition who is always larger than all other figures in the image. Within the categories of the Three Roots, this figure can be a Lama, a Yidam, or occasionally a Protector. Highly esteemed lamas appear at the top of many thangkas, representing the transmission of the teaching manifested in the painting. The Protectors of the Dharma are placed at the bottom of the thangka. An image of the practitioners and donor of the painting is sometimes found at the bottom of the painting as well, together with the lamas who perform the rituals associated with the painting.

Tea Leaf Jar. Edo period (1615–1868), 1670s. Japan, Kyoto Prefecture.
Amitayus. Ca. 16th century. Tsaparang or Tholing, Ngari (West Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 1011/837. Gift of Oliviero and Marzia Corcos. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

The subject of this painting is Amitayus, one of the three Long Life deities in Tibetan Buddhism. Amitayus is the emanation of Amitabha, the Jina Buddha of the West. Amitayus floats here in the middle of a cosmos inhabited by hundreds of tiny repetitions of himself. The composition is dominated by red, the color of the family of Amitabha Buddha. Amitayus holds the bowl of Amrita, or elixir of immortality, which flows down over the lotus throne and onto King Jigten Wangchug (d. 1540) and his eldest son Naggi Wangchug. The king patronized temples filled with monumental sculptures and mural paintings in Tsaparang, the capital of the Kingdom of Gu ge.

Giuseppe Tucci and Tsarong, Tibetan Minister of Finance for Chushul, August 1948. Tucci was consulting Tsarong's personal library. Lhasa, U, Tibet. (Prodhan, 1948; Neg. dep. 7014/07. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Giuseppe Tucci and Tsarong, Tibetan Minister of Finance for Chushul, August 1948. Tucci was consulting Tsarong's personal library. Lhasa, U, Tibet. (Prodhan, 1948; Neg. dep. 7014/07. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
The Red Temple in Tsaparang Monastery, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; Neg. dep. 8044/28. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
The Red Temple in Tsaparang Monastery, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; Neg. dep. 8044/28. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Eugenio Ghersi, Giuseppe Tucci, and members of the expedition in an unidentified location, Western Tibet. (Anonymous, 1933; Neg. dep. 6089/05. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Eugenio Ghersi, Giuseppe Tucci, and members of the expedition in an unidentified location, Western Tibet. (Anonymous, 1933; Neg. dep. 6089/05. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Path of the Sutra: Buddha

A sutra is a discourse attributed to a Buddha, usually Shakyamuni Buddha. The most frequently encountered image in all Buddhist art is the iconic image of Buddha seated in meditation and dressed in monastic robes. This image was first developed in India where the teachings of the Buddha originated. 

In Tibetan painting the iconography of the Buddha remains true to its Indian origins. The Buddha is often depicted with two attendants, usually his two principal students, one to each side, as in the fifteenth-century painting in this section. Buddhists study the spiritual biography of the Buddha as a paradigm for the progress to enlightenment. 

Shakyamuni in the Bhadrakalpa. 15th century. Tholing, Ngari (West Tibet). Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 992/825. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Shakyamuni in the Bhadrakalpa. 15th century. Tholing, Ngari (West Tibet). Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 992/825. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

This important thangka has an inscription in gold along the bottom margin that includes a rare mention of an artistic school-the Kashmiri tradition-in addition to a quote from the Bhadrakalpikasutra. Originally hidden under the silk frame, the inscription would never have been seen by anyone. The subject of this painting is the bhadrakalpa, an "auspicious age" in which there are one thousand buddhas. The style of the painting is closely related to that found in wall paintings in the temples in Tholing and Tsaparang, the religious center and the capital, respectively, of the Kingdom of Gu ge, West Tibet, which Tucci visited, documented, and photographed during his 1933 and 1935 expeditions.  

Shakyamuni Buddha. 15th century. Ngari (West Tibet). Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 963/796. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Shakyamuni Buddha. 15th century. Ngari (West Tibet). Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 963/796. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Tucci acquired this thangka during his 1933 visit to Luk Monastery in Ngari, West Tibet. His accounts praise the high quality of artworks in Luk Monastery. There are two lineages represented in this painting-that of the Gelug tradition and of the Kagyu tradition. Each lineage begins with the primordial buddha, Vajradhara, who is positioned at the center of the top row. Five Gelug tradition lineage holders are depicted to the right and ten Kagyu tradition lineage holders to the left. The small number of lamas shown in the Gelug tradition lineage indicates that the thangka must be from a relatively early date.

Shakyamuni Buddha. 18th century. Tibet. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 970/803. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Shakyamuni Buddha. 18th century. Tibet. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 970/803. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

In this image Shakyamuni is dressed in the patchwork robe of a monk and is seated in meditation posture on a lotus. Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition, is depicted directly above Shakyamuni. They are each flanked by their principal disciples. The names of Shakyamuni's disciples appear below each in gold. They are Sha ri bu (Sariputra) and Mon gal bu (Maudgalyayana). Another inscription on the right, below Shakyamuni's lotus throne, may be translated "I prostrate myself to Shakyamuni."

Path of the Sutra: Dharma

The Buddha's teachings (dharma) are known as the Buddhadharma. In this gallery the teachings of the Buddha are presented in manuscript form. The Perfection of Wisdom, or the Prajnaparamita, is a Mahayana sutra first written in Sanskrit. It was translated for the first time into Tibetan during the Period of the First Dissemination of Buddhism in Tibet (7th-9th centuries) and became extremely important in Tibet. As is seen in the two examples on this panel, the text has different forms distinguished by the length of the text. 

In 1933, when Tucci's expedition photographer Eugenio Ghersi climbed up the mountain next to Tholing Monastery in order to take a photograph, he found a cave where folios from incomplete religious manuscripts had been buried. According to tradition, when sacred texts or images can no longer be used for cult purposes because they are defective they must be properly disposed of, such as by burial. 

The female Bodhisattva Prajnaparamita, the personification of the text, is frequently painted as in the thirteenth- to fourteenth-century folio from a manuscript that was no longer complete and thus could not be used for religious purposes and was retrieved from caves high up above Tholing Monastery in West Tibet.

Pancavimshatisahsrika Prajnaparamita. 13th-14th century. Tholing Monastery, Ngari (West Tibet). Pigments on paper. IsIAO, inv. 1330 A
Pancavimshatisahsrika Prajnaparamita. 13th-14th century. Tholing Monastery, Ngari (West Tibet). Pigments on paper. IsIAO, inv. 1

Sacred works of art are intended to support the efficacy of the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha. Sacred manuscripts such as these support the speech of the Buddha (gsung rten) as a means to transmit the Buddhist doctrine (Buddhadharma). This page is the first folio from a handwritten Tibetan manuscript of the Pancavimshatisahsrika Prajnaparamita, or The Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom in 25,000 Lines. On one side of the page is the four-armed goddess who is the personification of the Prajnaparamita text. She holds the book in her upper left hand and her upper right hand holds prayer beads. On the opposite side of the page is an image of Shakyamuni Buddha. His golden skin is one of the eighty-four auspicious signs of a so-called "great being."

Shatasahasrika Prajnaparamita. 11th-12th century. Tholing Monastery, Ngari (West Tibet). Pigments on paper. IsIAO, inv. 1329 F
Shatasahasrika Prajnaparamita. 11th-12th century. Tholing Monastery, Ngari (West Tibet). Pigments on paper. IsIAO, inv. 1329 F

Tucci found this folio with other fragments of a Shatasahasrika Prajnaparamita, the Tibetan translation of the original Sanskrit Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom in 100,000 Lines, in a cave located high above Tholing Monastery in West Tibet. The Prajnaparamita Sutra has several different versions that are identified according to their length; the longest is the Shatasahasrika. The archaic forms of Tibetan orthography suggest the relatively early date of this folio and that it was copied from a Tibetan translation prepared during the Imperial Period from the seventh to the ninth century. All the formal features of this manuscript page are characteristic of early canonical manuscripts from West Tibet, for example the style of the gold-skinned Buddha and his five colored mandorla. The two circles are reminders of the string holes used in the earliest canonical palm-leaf manuscripts, and the red and blue letters in the upper left hand corner identify the number of the volume.

Caravan approaching Lake Manasarovar, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; Neg. dep. 6041/08. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Caravan approaching Lake Manasarovar, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1935; Neg. dep. 6041/08. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Scribe writing in Gyantse, Tsang, Tibet. (F. Maraini, 1937; 37/2434. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.)
Scribe writing in Gyantse, Tsang, Tibet. (F. Maraini, 1937; 37/2434. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.)
Library in the main monastery of Gyantse Monastery, Tsang, Tibet. (F. Maraini, 1937; 37/1046. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.)
Library in the main monastery of Gyantse Monastery, Tsang, Tibet. (F. Maraini, 1937; 37/1046. Courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.)
Path of the Sutra: Sangha

The Sangha refers to the Buddhist community, including religious leaders, monks, and nuns, whose role is to preserve the Buddhadharma. In this gallery the Buddhist Sangha is represented by an incomplete but spectacular set of Arhat paintings from the seventeenth century. Arhats are believed to be monks who were among the earliest disciples of the Shakyamuni Buddha. They are considered to be perfected beings. And although spiritually realized, they remain on earth in order to protect the Buddhadharma.  

Thirteen of the sixteen Arhats are believed to have belonged to the original Buddhist Sangha and were entrusted by the Shakyamuni Buddha to protect and propagate his teachings. According to the Buddhist tradition, each Arhat occupies a particular position in the cosmos and together the Arhats protect the universe. In addition each Arhat has a specific place in the spiritual biography of the Buddha, as can be seen from their life stories. 

Traditionally a series of painted Arhats like the one this section would be placed inside the temple at the top of the wall around the altar. This set is unique because the original golden veils and blue silk frames have been preserved. They still bear notations in ink on the back that indicate where each painting is meant to be hung relative to a central image of the Shakyamuni Buddha. In this installation an Indian sculpture of the Buddha takes the place of the missing central painting. The Arhats are arranged according to the numbering system written in Tibetan on the back of each painting. There were originally eight Arhat paintings on each side of the central image, but two Arhats are also now missing from the right side. The first painting is placed to the Buddha's right. The first Arhat is followed by the paintings in the second through eighth position. The next painting is placed to the Buddha's left and the remaining seven paintings in the set follow.

Ajita Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 923/756. Placement as indicated on verso: 2nd from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Ajita Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 923/756. Placement as indicated on verso: 2nd from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Ajita Arhat, one of the thirteen original disciples of the Buddha, is shown here in his meditation cave on Mount Trangsrong. He is said to have been able to inspire discipline and deep meditation in everyone who saw him. The outer shawl of his monastic robes is pulled over his head, indicating that he is meditating. He is one of four Arhats responsible for protecting the Buddhadharma and practitioners who inhabit the western part of the Buddhist cosmos.

Vanavasin Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 924/757. Placement as indicated on verso: 5th from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Vanavasin Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 924/757. Placement as indicated on verso: 5th from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Vanavasin was one of the original followers of Shakyamuni Buddha and was personally initiated by him. He is said to inhabit a retreat on Saptaparni Mountain in India with his retinue of 1,400 Arhats. The tiger at his feet represents his isolated wooded retreat, where he meditates in solitude. He is one of four Arhats responsible for protecting the Buddhadharma and practitioners in the western part of the Buddhist cosmos.   

Kalika Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 925/758. Placement as indicated on verso: 4th from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Kalika Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 925/758. Placement as indicated on verso: 4th from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Kalika Arhat holds two large earrings which, according to legend, the gods of the Kamadhatu gave to him when he ascended to teach the Buddhadharma. The earrings appear again in the hands of one of the two gods depicted making offerings at the bottom right of the painting. Kalika is said to live in Tamradvipa, a mythological land, with a retinue of 1,100 Arhats.

Vajriputra Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 926/759. Placement as indicated on verso: 3rd from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Vajriputra Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 926/759. Placement as indicated on verso: 3rd from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Vajriputra Arhat is said to reside with 1,000 Arhats on the island of Sri Lanka, perhaps suggested by the magnificent peacocks at the bottom of the painting. One of the original followers of the Buddha, he is one of the four Arhats responsible for protecting the western part of the Buddhist cosmos. 

Cullapanthanka (or Cudapanthaka) Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 930/763. Placement as indicated on verso: 8th from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Cullapanthanka (or Cudapanthaka) Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 930/763. Placement as indicated on verso: 8th from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Cullapanthanka is the last, or eighth painting, on the Buddha's right-hand side. The two Arhats who occupied positions six and seven on this side are missing from the set. Cullapanthanka is said to have lived on Vulture's Peak, one of the Buddha's favorite spots for meditation, with a retinue of 16,000 Arhats. There, even wild animals were fond of listening to his discourses, as can be seen from the pair of birds to the Arhat's right and the dragon below them in the bottom corner. In this painting, a royal couple faces the Arhat and offers him a blue jewel. 

Angaja Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 998/830. Placement as indicated on verso: 1st from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Angaja Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 998/830. Placement as indicated on verso: 1st from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Angaja is the first among the Arhats and therefore his painting occupies the first spot to the Buddha's right in this series. The Buddha is said to have miraculously delivered Angaja at birth, though his mother had died and was being cremated when he entered the world. At the age of twenty-eight Angaja was initiated into the Sangha by Shakyamuni Buddha. Here the snow-capped mountains and the sleeping snow lion indicate the Arhat's abode on Mount Kailasha with an entourage of 1,300 Arhats. The stream flowing down on the right reminds the viewer that Mount Kailasha is the source of many important rivers in the subcontinent. 

Nagasena Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 933/766. Placement as indicated on verso: 6th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Nagasena Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 933/766. Placement as indicated on verso: 6th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Nagasena Arhat was born a prince in Northern India and belonged to the Kshatriya caste of warriors. One of the original followers of the Buddha, Nagasena is shown here holding his standard attributes: a beggar's staff and a treasure vase. He uses the staff to heal sickness and cleanses sentient beings of their sins with the vase, presented to him by the four kings of the four points of the compass. He is said to occupy Ngoyang, a sacred mountain, along with 1,200 followers. 

Panthaka Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 932/765. Placement as indicated on verso: 7th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Panthaka Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 932/765. Placement as indicated on verso: 7th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

One of the original followers of the Buddha, Panthaka Arhat was born in the holy city of Sravasti to a Brahmin family. According to tradition Panthaka lives in the Devaloka, a plane of existence inhabited by gods and celestial beings (devas), attended by 700 Arhats. He is one of the Arhats responsible for protecting the eastern part of the Buddhist cosmos. Here he holds a book as his attribute. The artists of these series often painted very imaginative interpretations of animals and heavenly beings. Here the marvelous miniature elephant to the Arhat's right has the paws of a lion and strangely formed ears, while in the opposite lower corner a heavenly being (Ghandarva) is dressed in leaves.

Kanakabharadvaja Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 927/760. Placement as indicated on verso: 3rd from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Kanakabharadvaja Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 927/760. Placement as indicated on verso: 3rd from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Kanakabharadvaja carries no attributes because he sits in meditation. He was born in the holy city of Sravasti and is one of the original disciples of the Buddha. He was known for his generosity and one source identifies the name of the place he dwells as Godhanya, where he is attended by 700 monks. He is also said to have an affinity for sweet music and fragrant smells. The symmetrical composition and lack of activity in this painting reflect the meditative atmosphere projected by the meditating Arhat. The pair of beautifully drawn cranes at the bottom of the painting demonstrate the reverence afforded him by birds and animals. 

Bakula Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 928/761. Placement as indicated on verso: 2nd from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Bakula Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 928/761. Placement as indicated on verso: 2nd from right. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Bakula was born into a Brahmin family in Sravasti, one of the eight Buddhist pilgrimage places because it is the scene of miracles performed by the Shakyamuni Buddha. Bakula lives in the legendary land of Uttarakuru. In this image his attribute, a mongoose (nakula) sits on his left leg and expels gems from its mouth into the offering platter placed in front of the footstool. 

Rahula Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 929/762. Placement as indicated on verso: 1st from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Rahula Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 929/762. Placement as indicated on verso: 1st from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Rahula is the natural son of Yashodhara and Prince Siddhartha, who became the Shakyamuni Buddha, and is one of the original followers of the Buddha. Rahula was initiated by Sariputra, one of the two closest disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha. The crown Rahula holds was a gift from the gods when he entered into the Trayastrimsa heaven to preach the Buddhadarma. Adherents of Buddhism believe he dwells on the mystical island of Priyanku accompanied by 1,100 Arhats. He is one of four Arhats responsible for protecting the eastern part of the Buddhist cosmos. 

Pindola Bharadvaja Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 931/764. Placement as indicated on verso: 4th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Pindola Bharadvaja Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 931/764. Placement as indicated on verso: 4th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Pindola was born to a Brahmin family in Rajagriha, one of the eight holy cities and Buddhist pilgrimage places. He is said to be one of the original disciples of the Buddha and resides on the island of Sharluipapho in the eastern world attended by 1,000 Arhats. He holds an Indian-style book and a filled begging bowl. Pindola's miraculous powers enable him to grant special wishes to those who invoke him, such as the two supplicants by his right arm. The mythical animal dancing below his throne and the man holding a staff, perhaps from Central Asia, in the lower left corner enhance the atmosphere of the exotic and mystical. He is one of the four Arhats responsible for protecting the eastern part of the Buddhist cosmos.

Gopaka Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 934/767. Placement as indicated on verso: 5th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Gopaka Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 934/767. Placement as indicated on verso: 5th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Gopaka, born in Northern India into a merchant's family, is the younger brother of Panthaka Arhat. Gopaka Arhat lives on Vulture's Peak with 16,000 attendants. His attribute is an Indian-style book. At the bottom of the painting two expressive snow lions depicted in contrasting colors represent his mountainous abode. 

Abheda Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 935/798. Placement as indicated on verso: 8th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Abheda Arhat. 17th century. Possibly Kham (East Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 935/798. Placement as indicated on verso: 8th from left. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Abheda was born in the holy city of Rajagriha into a Brahmin family. His attribute is the stupa which he holds in his hands. He is said to live with his 1,000 Arhat followers on the sacred mountain of Himavat (the Sanskrit word for the Himalayas), near the legendary land Shambhala. He does not sit on a throne but on a rocky outcropping, his Chinese-style boots resting on a stone. The setting symbolizes his distant secluded mountain abode. He was one of the original disciples of the Shakyamuni Buddha, who gave him the stupa in order to tame the dangers awaiting for him when he went to the northern countries to convert the nature spirits called Yakshas. A converted Yaksha with an exquisitely expressive face stands to the Arhat's right. Abheda is one of four Arhats responsible for the southern part of the Buddhist cosmos.

Interior of the main temple at Tashilunpo Monastery, Shigatse, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6133/19. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Interior of the main temple at Tashilunpo Monastery, Shigatse, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6133/19. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Path of the Tantra: Lama

The Lama, the Tibetan designation for a spiritual master, holds a central position in preaching and explaining the Buddhist liturgy and meditation practices. In Tibet a large number of paintings represent the principal Lamas of the various Tibetan Buddhist monastic traditions. The thangkas in this exhibition include those of the Gelug, Sakya, Drikung, Nyingma, and Kagyu traditions. The lamas from the different traditions can often be distinguished by the specific hats they wear. For example the Gelug tradition, to which the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas belong, wear yellow hats. The other three major traditions-Nyingma, Sakya, and Kagyu-wear red hats.

For each of these traditions, every ritual text begins with an invocation that lists the entire lineage of transmission of the text. It is this lineage of lamas that establishes the authenticity of the teaching. The rows of persons, usually exclusively male, represented at the top and along the sides of the paintings in this gallery are the visual depiction of this invocation.

The transmission lineage begins at the top of each painting usually at the center, above the head of the central figure, but occasionally at the upper left, and continues down on each side. The line of transmission may begin with a deity, such as the primordial Buddha, Vajradhara, followed by one or more Indian Siddha, a perfected spiritual master who has attained psychic abilities, usually identified by his darker skin. The line may include a layperson, but usually the teachers are monks who wear the prescribed monastic robes.

Padmasambhava and the Teaching Activities of Guru Rinpoche. 18th century. U (Central Tibet). Tradition: Nyingma. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 917/750. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Padmasambhava and the Teaching Activities of Guru Rinpoche. 18th century. U (Central Tibet). Tradition: Nyingma. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 917/750. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Seated at the center of this painting is the eighth-century Indian Buddhist master Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava, the "lotus-born" teacher and scholar. Below this image is the Lotus King, Padma rgyal po, another form of Guru Rinpoche. Surrounding the central figure are twelve scenes representing Guru Rinpoche's teaching activities and the narrative of his invitation to Tibet. 

Buton Rinchendrub. 16th century. Shalu Monastery, Shigatse, Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 994/827. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Buton Rinchendrub. 16th century. Shalu Monastery, Shigatse, Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 994/827. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Tucci recorded that he received this painting in Shalu Monastery, where the lamas assured him that the painting depicted the great fourteenth-century scholar-lama Buton Rinchendrub (1290-1364). His right hand is in a form of the vitarka mudra, indicating that he is teaching. At the bottom left of the painting, two standing lamas offer a mandala plate and a vase (bumpa) to the seated lama, who is conducting a tantric ceremony. The officiating lama is framed by a Chinese-style palace or temple which may refer to Shalu Monastery (founded in 1040), which was rebuilt by Buton Rinchendrub after being destroyed by fire.

Tsongkhapa and Scenes from His Life. 18th century. India. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 890/723. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Tsongkhapa and Scenes from His Life. 18th century. India. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 890/723. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

In this painting the central image of Tsongkhapa is surrounded by scenes from his life beginning at the bottom center and proceeding clockwise. The painting is noteworthy for the remarkably fine and detailed renderings of people, architecture, and nature, and is unusual in that it is based on a wood-block series from U in Central Tibet. When the brocade borders were removed from this thangka during restoration, an inscription was revealed that identifies it as the third on the left of a series of paintings. Tucci purchased this painting at Kyi Monastery in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

The Sakya Lamdre Lineage. 16th-17th century. Shalu, Shigatse, Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 881/714. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
The Sakya Lamdre Lineage. 16th-17th century. Shalu, Shigatse, Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 881/714. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

This painting belonged to an important set of eight paintings representing the Sakya tradition teachers of the Lamdre rgyud lineage. This painting is the fourth in the set. Because this is the esoteric or tantric path of the Sakya tradition, not only were the teachers, or lamas, important but also the Mahasiddhas, or Great Adepts. Gold inscriptions on the red border of the painting identify all the figures. The four lamas, organized in pairs, are seated in meditation posture. Their dignified presence contrasts with the playful representations of the Mahasiddhas, often with their consorts, performing miraculous feats throughout the surrounding landscape. This contrast is a skillful visual, symbolic synopsis of the two aspects of the Sakya tradition's esoteric lineage: the esoteric teaching of the path and its realization.

Lha'i rgyal po. 16th century. U (Central Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 969/802. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Lha'i rgyal po. 16th century. U (Central Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 969/802. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

The central figure in this painting, Lha'i rgyal po, the King of the Gods, is one of the previous mytho-historical persons in the incarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas. The Avalokiteshvara Incarnation Lineage of the Dalai Lamas is a chain of rebirths beginning with Avalokiteshvara and progressing through several mytho-historical figures. The naming of the past lives of eminent lamas may be dated to the early twelfth century, but the elaborate Avalokiteshvara Dalai Lama Lineage dates to the lifetime of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Gold inscriptions assist us in identifying the secondary figures. This painting would have been part of a large series of thangkas, each representing one of the incarnations of the Dalai Lama Incarnation Lineage, typical of the school of the Gelug tradition. 

A statue of Tsongkhapa in the White Temple at Tsaparang Monastery, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1933; Neg. dep. 6099/34. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
A statue of Tsongkhapa in the White Temple at Tsaparang Monastery, Ngari, Tibet. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1933; Neg. dep. 6099/34. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Shalu Monastery, Shigatse, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6129/03. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Shalu Monastery, Shigatse, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6129/03. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
The monastery of Kyi, Spiti, India. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1933; Neg. dep. 6077/28. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
The monastery of Kyi, Spiti, India. (Eugenio Ghersi, 1933; Neg. dep. 6077/28. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
The Potala Palace, Lhasa: The Seat of the Dalai Lamas. (Prodhan, 1948; Neg. dep. 7710/02 + 8037/05. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
The Potala Palace, Lhasa: The Seat of the Dalai Lamas. (Prodhan, 1948; Neg. dep. 7710/02 + 8037/05. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)

The most powerful political symbol of the Dalai Lama as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara was the Potala Palace, named after the mythical residence of Avalokiteshvara, Mt. Potalaka, which is traditionally considered to have been located in southern India. In 1645 the Fifth Dalai Lama began construction of the palace on the site of the Emperor Songsten Gampo's seventh-century palace. The enormous complex was completed at the end of the seventeenth century by the Desi Senggye Gyatso, the Fifth Dalai Lama's last regent. 

Path of the Tantra: Yidam

The yidam, or personal meditation deity, is understood to be a manifestation of Buddha-mind or an enlightened mind. Therefore the yidam is considered to be the Root of spiritual accomplishment. There are three forms of yidam-peaceful, semi-wrathful, and wrathful-and each has different characteristics. The most common type of peaceful yidam is one of the five Jina Buddhas. The Jina Buddha sits in meditation and is sometimes dressed in royal finery, but above all can be identified by his hand gesture and the color of his skin (white, yellow, green, blue, or red). Each of the Jina Buddhas is associated with a family of deities who are depicted in the same color. Another peaceful yidam featured in two paintings in this gallery is Tara, who has always been a very popular cult figure in Tibet.

Only a yidam can occupy the center of a mandala. The yidam assumes a wrathful appearance when extraordinary powers are needed. These paintings serve to support the visualizations that are part of the meditational and ritual practice of the Path of the Tantra.

Green Tara. 16th century. Tsang (South-Central Tibet) or U (Central Tibet). Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 886/719. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Green Tara. 16th century. Tsang (South-Central Tibet) or U (Central Tibet). Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 886/719. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

This painting combines two forms of Tara as Savior as well as twenty-one Taras into one image. The large Tara at the center is flanked by her companions Marici on her right and Ekajata on her left. Her role as protector of eight perils is included at the edges and bottom of this work. Tara is considered both a bodhisattva and a buddha, and in her various forms she helps practitioners overcome difficulties on their path to enlightenment. The dense composition and vibrant coloration indicate that this magnificent painting was created either in Central or South-Central Tibet. The costumes of the donor figures at the center of the bottom row, and the architectural frame above Tara, which may refer to Shalu Monastery, both suggest a South-Central Tibetan origin.

Chakrasamvara Mandala Assembly. 15th century. Possibly Sakya Monastery. Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 960/793. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Chakrasamvara Mandala Assembly. 15th century. Possibly Sakya Monastery. Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 960/793. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Chakrasamvara is the main deity of the so-called Mother Tantras, a class of esoteric sacred texts within the category of the Highest Yoga Tantras (the Anutaratantra). Chakrasamvara is shown here in union pose with Vajravarahi, known in Tibetan art as yab yum, father-mother pose, and is a symbol for mystical union that developed out of Indian and Tibetan esoteric thought. It is not present in the Buddhist art of other cultures. Located at the bottom of the thangka, slightly left of center, a practitioner is depicted performing his daily ritual practice. He is most likely the man who commissioned this and the other paintings in the original series. Chakrasamvara was likely the donor's personal meditation deity, or yidam, as the entire series is dedicated to Chakrasamvara. This painting purportedly came from Sakya Monastery in South-Central Tibet.

Dorje Jigje. 15th century. Narthang, Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 941/774. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Dorje Jigje. 15th century. Narthang, Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 941/774. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Tucci acquired this painting in Narthang in South-Central Tibet. The distinctive stylistic features, such as the lotus base with fringed petals, suggest that the painting was also created in this region. The painting is dedicated to the yidam, or personal meditation deity, Dorje Jigje (Vajrabhairava in Sanskrit). He is represented here as the "lonely hero," that is without a consort. In this image Dorje Jigje is surrounded by a representation of the eight charnel grounds that, as Tucci explained in Tibetan Painted Scrolls (1949), symbolize "the eightfold conscious activity which keeps us bound to life and hence to death." Sakya lineage figures and deities frame the image. At the bottom left of the painting the donor of the painting is depicted in a scene that probably represents the ritual consecration of the painting. The donor, his family members, and the officiating lama are seated under a blue and red canopy. The donor and a woman that is probably his wife wear the elaborate dress and headgear associated with the nobility of Tsang during that period.

Eighteen-Deity Mandala of Chagna Dorje. 16th-18th century. Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Pigments on cloth. Tradition: Sakya. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 950/783. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Eighteen-Deity Mandala of Chagna Dorje. 16th-18th century. Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Pigments on cloth. Tradition: Sakya. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 950/783. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

This extremely fine and well preserved painting appears to have been inspired by a fifteenth-century painting from Ngor Monastery of the Sakya tradition. The schematic presentation of the lamas and other figures surrounding the central mandala, however, suggests a later date of the sixteenth to eighteenth century. This mandala features the wrathful Chagna Dorje embracing his partner Dorje Dzedenma. His feet trample on Brahma and Chandra, who symbolize non-Buddhist beliefs that need to be overcome. Eight charnel grounds that symbolize the eight kinds of sensual or mental activities, along with a fire circle, surround the lotus of the mandala. The row of figures at the top of this painting represent the Sakya lineage that handed down the teaching of this mandala. The row at the bottom of the painting includes an offering scene between the protector deities.

Interior of the main assembly hall ('du khang) at Sakya Monastery, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6125/11. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Interior of the main assembly hall ('du khang) at Sakya Monastery, Tsang, Tibet. (Felice Boffa Ballaran, 1939; Neg. dep. 6125/11. Courtesy of Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Is.I.A.O.) in l.c.a. and Ministero Degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale.)
Path of the Tantra: Protectors of the Dharma

Those who follow the Path of the Tantra also rely on Protectors of the Dharma and Practitioners, who are the Root of enlightened Activity. In the daily invocation the Protectors are asked to protect the mandala that is the sacred space in which the ritual takes place. In the graphic mandala that is often represented as a Palace Mandala, the Protectors guard the four gates to the center of the mandala. This symbolism derives from built architecture where sculptures of Protectors flank the entrances to sacred spaces, such as temples.

The Protectors of the Dharma is a large category and the only one presented in the exhibition that is defined slightly differently by each Tibetan tradition. Each school has preferences for specific Protectors, for example Palden Lhamo is the preferred Protector of the Gelug tradition. 

Vaishravana. 14th century. Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 965/798. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Vaishravana. 14th century. Tsang (South-Central Tibet). Tradition: Sakya. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 965/798. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

This compelling painting with its strong and simple composition and subtle color palette is the earliest in the Tucci collection from the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci" in Rome. The figure at the center of this painting is Vaishravana, the king of the north, represented in his form as a wealth-bestowing deity. He holds a club crowned with a wish-granting jewel and a bag in the form of a mongoose spitting out pearls. The small nagini to his left is his consort, Pema Tsukpuma. This painting was originally part of a larger group of paintings dedicated to the gods of wealth. Tucci appears to have acquired this painting at Ngor Monastery in South-Central Tibet. The archaic figure style, the simple geometric composition with minutely depicted secondary figures isolated in square fields, and the small number of lamas in the top row of the painting all suggest an early date around the fourteenth century.

Palden Lhamo. 18th century. Tibet. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 944/777. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Palden Lhamo. 18th century. Tibet. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 944/777. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

This dramatic "Black Thangka" shows the wrathful deity Palden Lhamo surrounded by whorls of smoke and fire painted in gold and red. Palden Lhamo, the most important protectress of Tibet, is also the protectress of the Gelug tradition, and the principal guardian goddess of the city of Lhasa. Here, she appears as the Army-repulsing Queen. She is mounted on a mule saddled with a human skin and who has an eye at the base of its tail. At the upper right of the painting is a practitioner of the Gelug tradition performing the ritual associated with Palden Lhamo. The aesthetic impact of this thangka is reinforced by the original silk and brocade frame.

Garuda. 16th century. Nako, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 964/797. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Garuda. 16th century. Nako, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 964/797. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Tucci obtained this painting in Nako Village in 1933 in Kinnaur, India, an area that from the tenth century was the western most district of the powerful Kingdom of West Tibet. While the wall paintings from the five surviving temples of Nako from the early twelfth to eighteenth century testify to a vibrant and distinctive painting tradition, this is the only early portable painting that can be definitely attributed to Kinnaur. The subject of this painting is a mythical bird known as a Garuda. A Garuda protects against negative influences, especially poisons. In Buddhist philosophy the three poisons are defined as attachment (craving), hatred, and delusion (ignorance). The primary colors and archaic composition and figure style seem to reflect earlier Tibetan ritual paintings. At the bottom left of the painting are depictions of the donor and his family. Their elaborate dress is typical of West Tibet as known from surviving examples from Tabo Monastery in neighboring Spiti district, also in India. 

Black Garuda. 18th century. U (Central Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 981/814. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Black Garuda. 18th century. U (Central Tibet). Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 981/814. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Black Garuda is a wrathful protector, whom Buddhist practitioners would ask to transmute sickness, harmful spirits, and negative karma by reciting the protective formula written on the back of this thangka. This four-line verse is surrounded by the pacifying mantra, om a hum, repeated seven times. The Black Garuda is depicted here transmuting all negative influences to protect the practitioner or the person for whom the ritual associated with the Garuda is being performed. This painting is an example of a "Black Thangka," which features gold on black paint. Above the Garuda's head is a lama of the Gelug tradition. He is flanked by the Maitreya Buddha and the wrathful protector Vajrapani. The silk frame was already a valuable offering when it was added to the painting at the time it was created. The brocaded silk satin is Chinese and can be attributed to the fifteenth to sixteenth century. 
 

The Tibetan Cosmos


The vast Tibetan plateau, the highest region on Earth, contains two of the world's tallest mountains and is the source of many of the region's major waterways. The vast horizon, the seemingly limitless sky, and the bouts of extreme weather experienced on the plateau have shaped the human and historical geography of the Tibetan cultural zone.

The original religions of this region had complex systems of ritual and prayer dedicated to many spirits and natural phenomena. The Bon religion, one of the oldest indigenous religions in Tibet, is the modern expression of one of these ancient religions. Followers call their religion Eternal Bon (yung drung Bon). According to legend, the religion can be traced to the teacher Tonpa Shenrab, who was thought to have lived in a mythical land to the west of Tibet. The earliest role of the Bon priest was to assure that the spirit of the departed passed safely into the next world.

From the time Buddhism was introduced to Tibet in the seventh century CE, Bon and Buddhism began to influence each other. By the eleventh to twelfth century Bon institutions resembled Buddhist institutions. Bon art is mostly known from recent centuries and has different regional styles, as well as a superficial resemblance to Buddhist art. Bon iconography, never the less, is unique and follows its own canonical sources and ritual practices. 

Tibetans also sought to understand their world through scientific inquiry. Their system is adapted from the Indian five categories of knowledge. An important subdivision of this inquiry is divination and astral sciences, which are related to other fields of knowledge in Tibet such as medicine and mathematics. The astrological chart in this section was used for divination. Such inquiries are of great importance in Tibet, with calculations sought at both the highest institutional levels as well as in daily life.

Bon Deity Tsewang Rigzin. 19th century. Possibly Amdo (East Tibet). Tradition: Bon. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 922/755. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Bon Deity Tsewang Rigzin. 19th century. Possibly Amdo (East Tibet). Tradition: Bon. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 922/755. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Tucci received this thangka from Namkha Jigme Dorje in Himachal Pradesh, India, during his 1931 expedition. A master of the Dzogchen tradition, Namkha Jigme Dorje had first been educated in the Bon tradition and acquired the painting in West Tibet. Tucci called him "one of the most cultivated men I met in Tibet." The subject of the painting is the Bon Long Life deity Tsewang Rigzin. The image is meant both as a support for meditation and as a votive offering to secure the efficacy of the long-life ritual for the person for whom the ritual is performed.

Eight-Buddha Mandala and the Life of Tonpa Shenrab. 18th century. Tibet. Tradition: Bon. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 974/807. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Eight-Buddha Mandala and the Life of Tonpa Shenrab. 18th century. Tibet. Tradition: Bon. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 974/807. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

This work is a representation of an eight-Buddha mandala surrounded by scenes of what appear to be the life of Tonpa Shenrab, the real Buddha of our cosmic age and the founder of Bon. As is evident in this painting, Bon, the indigenous religion of Tibet, adopted and adapted elements associated with Buddhism as this foreign religion spread throughout Tibet. 

Astrological/Divination Chart. 19th century. Tibet. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 982/815. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Astrological/Divination Chart. 19th century. Tibet. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 982/815. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

The diagram shown here is called a sipaho, which generally is used as a charm to protect the worshipper from all negative influences from planets, stars, elements, semi-gods, and demons. The central figure is the cosmic tortoise surrounded by flames. A divination chart of Chinese origin-consisting of the nine numerical squares, the eight trigrams, and the animals of the cycle of twelve years-is painted in the middle of its belly.

Rahu. 19th century. Tibet. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO "Giuseppe Tucci," inv. 946/779. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome.
Rahu. 19th century. Tibet. Tradition: Gelug. Pigments on cloth. MU-CIV/MAO 'Giuseppe Tucci,' inv. 946/779. Image courtesy of the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci,' Rome.

Rahu, the subject of this painting, is depicted in his wrathful form as Sachog Gyalpo, the king of the planets whose body is covered with one thousand eyes. The lower part of his body is that of a snake and he stands in a sea of blood. His right hand holds a Makara-banner and his left hand holds a bow made of animal horn and an arrow. His nine heads are crowned by a raven's head.

Credits

Major support for this exhibition is provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, John and Fausta Eskenazi, Lisina M. Hoch, and an anonymous donor.

Generous support is provided by Misook Doolittle in honor of Chae Ok Rollison, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky, and Carlton Rochell Asian Art.

Additional support is provided by the Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, the Blakemore Foundation, and Trace Foundation.

Asia Society appreciates the support of Susan L. Beningson and Steve Arons, John and Berthe Ford, and James J. Lally.

Support for Asia Society Museum is provided by Asia Society Global Council on Asian Arts and Culture, Asia Society Friends of Asian Arts, Arthur Ross Foundation, Sheryl and Charles R. Kaye Endowment for Contemporary Art Exhibitions, Hazen Polsky Foundation, Mary Griggs Burke Fund, Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and New York State Council on the Arts.

Related Programs


Buddhism & Beyond is a series of programs exploring Buddhism, its practice, and its popularity in contemporary culture, organized in conjunction with Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting.


KEYNOTE ADDRESS
Keynote Address: Moving Borders: Tibet in Interaction with its Neighbors
Friday, May 4, 2018 • 6:30-8:00 pm

Andrew Quintman, Yale University, gives the Keynote Address to introduce a day-long symposium which will take place at Asia Society on Saturday, May 5. As part of Free Admission Fridays the museum is open from 6:00 to 9:00pm.


SYMPOSIUM
Moving Borders: Tibet in Interaction with its Neighbors
Saturday, May 5, 2018 • 9:30 am-6:00 pm

International scholars, art historians, and curators focus on the moving borders of the Tibetan cultural zone across the centuries, from the Imperial period to the present, including the Western exploration of Tibet.

 


PAST PROGRAMS


RETROSPECTIVE FILM SERIES
Pema Tseden: Celebrating a Tibetan Voice
January 27-28, 2018

Pema Tseden was born in 1969 in Amdo, in the Tibetan region of Qinghai Province. He is widely recognized as the leading filmmaker of a newly emerging Tibetan cinema and the first director in China to film his movies entirely in the Tibetan language.


DISCUSSION
The Miracle of Mindful Meditation
Thursday, February 15 • 6:30-8:00 pm

ABC news anchor and author of 10% Happier, Dan Harris and leading Buddhist scholar Dr. Thupten Jinpa.


MEMBERS-ONLY OPENING TEA RECEPTION & LECTURE
Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting
Tuesday, February 27 • 4:00-8:00 pm

4:00 pm Tea reception

5:30 pm Docent–led tour

Galleries open until 6:30 pm

6:30 pm Lecture: Walking With Tucci: A Visual History of Tibet

Join art historian and exhibition guest curator Deborah Klimburg–Salter as she introduces the extraordinary group of works from the Museum of Civilisation/Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci," Rome, featured in Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting. Klimburg–Salter was research director for the Guiseppe Tucci Photographic Archive and guest curator for the Tucci collection (MU-CIV / MAO '"Giuseppe Tucci").


All programs are subject to change. For tickets and the most up-to-date schedule information, visit AsiaSociety.org/NYC or call the box office at 212-517-ASIA (2742) Monday through Friday, 1:00-5:00 pm.

Related Content


VIDEOS


NEW YORK, February 20, 2017 — 'Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting' is the first-ever U.S. showing of the paintings collected by Italian scholar Giuseppe Tucci during his 1926-1948 expeditions to Tibet. The recently restored paintings are on loan from the collection of the National Museum of the Oriental Art (MNAO), Rome, and span the 13th through 19th centuries. They are presented together with photography taken during Tucci's eight major expeditions. (34 sec.)


NEW YORK, April 17, 2017 — Adriana Proser, John H. Foster Senior Curator for Traditional Asian Art at Asia Society Museum in New York, provides an inside look at the Tibetan thangka paintings on display in the exhibition she co-curated, Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Panting. (4 min., 57 sec.)

 

ARTICLES

'Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting' Opens to American Audiences for First Time
Asia Society Museum's highly anticipated exhibition explores Tibet through the eyes of Italian explorer Giuseppe Tucci.

A Guide to Decoding Buddhist Symbolism in Tibetan Art
Understand the significance of specific Buddhist symbols frequently found in Tibetan art.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents — Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling | 香港賽馬會呈獻—道無盡:方召麐水墨藝術展

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Hong Kong27 Sep 201731 Dec 201712:00am12:00amWednesday 27 Sep 2017Sunday 31 Dec 2017
Installation view of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents — Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling. Photo: Scott Brooks.
Installation view of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents — Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling. Photo: Scott Brooks.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club presents Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling with a selection of paintings and calligraphy by the distinguished female artist Fang Zhaoling (1914-2006). After having received both the Western-style education newly available to a modern woman and the master-disciple training of a traditional Chinese painter, Fang developed a personal style of remarkable originality. Her sustained artistic achievements and contributions to modern Chinese culture also shed light on women’s changing roles in the twentieth century. The exhibition, part of Asia Society Hong Kong Center’s 20th Century Chinese Female Artist Series, is guest curated by Kuiyi Shen and Julia F. Andrews, with Joyce Hei-ting Wong as assistant curator. 

Visitors are welcome to share their experience on social media by tagging us #ASHKFangZhaoling #PaintingHerWay

Visit the exhibition's website for more information.

香港賽馬會呈獻《道無盡:方召麐水墨藝術展》敍述二十世紀中國女藝術家方召麐(1914-2006)的傑出藝術生涯 。展覽包括水墨畫和書法作品,展示方氏如何結合中西藝術教育和實踐,發展出獨創風格。方氏的藝術成就揭示了現代女性對於現代中國社會文化的貢獻。展覽由客席策展人沈揆一安雅蘭,以及助理策展人黃熙婷合作策劃,並為亞洲協會香港中心二十世紀中國女藝術家系列之一。

歡迎大家在社交平台上分享展覽的體驗,記得加上#ASHKFangZhaoling #PaintingHerWay的標記。

如欲了解更多,請瀏覽這裡

About the Series 關於系列

20th Century Chinese Female Artists 二十世紀中國女藝術家系列

Female empowerment and equality in modern societies have been a much debated topic dating back over a century. While the diverse achievements of female talents across different fields have gained better light in recent years, female artists remain an under-represented and under-appreciated segment in Western societies and even more so across Chinese communities.

Yet the emergence of female artists in 20th century China was a testament to both the country’s social progress and the various redefinitions of modernity that were adopted in a historical context complicated by wars and disasters. Female agency in society was among the issues argued and promoted in the mass media of the time and retains lasting ideological power today. In scholastic studies and exhibitions, however, attention has been focused on modern Chinese male artists. Exhibitions featuring the creative attainments and influences of their female counterparts from the period are few and far between, and rarely in monographic presentations.

Asia Society Hong Kong Center’s 20th Century Chinese Female Artists Exhibition Series (“the Series”), the first of its kind in Hong Kong, aims to reclaim the story of female artists. By providing local Hong Kong audiences with important examples of their artistic accomplishments, we hope to honor them with the public recognition they deserve for their contribution to the making of modern China.

From a wider community context, the Series fits into the discourse on female empowerment and equality in today’s Hong Kong, where research indicates that women continue to face challenges in male-dominated industries as well as gender stereotypes in the media and the workplace. Through education programs for children, students, families, and the general public, we will highlight achievements of women in various industries while connecting to the lives and careers of the unique female artists presented in the Series. The first exhibition in the Series focuses on the life and works of Fang Zhaoling, and is made possible by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

現代社會的女權和平等,從上一世紀以來一直是極具爭議的話題。近年來,儘管有才華的女性在不同領域上的成就較以往多了注目, 但眾多社會上的女藝術家代表性仍然不足,她們仍然未能得到充分讚譽,這情況在各個中國社區更為明顯。

然而,二十世紀中國女性藝術家的出現卻印證了中國社會的進步,同時也為經歷戰爭和災難這複雜歷史背景下的現代添上了新的定義。社會上的女性代表一方面備受爭議,另一方面則為當時大眾傳媒所追捧,這意識形態的力量在今天仍然存在。學術研究和展覽界別的注意力往往集中在現代中國男性藝術家身上, 以一個時代的女藝術家創意成就和影響力為題的展覽極為罕有,更鮮有以女藝術家個人為專題的展覽 。

亞洲協會香港中心二十世紀中國女藝術家系列 (「系列」) 開創先河,為女藝術家故事爭取發光發亮。 透過向香港觀眾展示她們重要的藝術成就,以提升公眾對她們的認知,令她們對中國現代作出的貢獻得以表揚。

若然以較廣泛社區為宏觀背景,研究指出香港今天的女性在各行各業內仍然面對著由男性主導的挑戰,在媒體和職場上就繼續受到性別定型的規限,可見系列的主題理念,正好配合香港現時女權和平等的議題。我們將透過為小朋友、學生、家庭及公眾設計提供的各項教育活動, 特顯女性在不同行業上的成就,並同時將之連繫到系列中各獨特女藝術家的生活和事業生涯。

系列的首個展覽以方召麐生平及作品為題,承蒙香港賽馬會慈善信託基金的支持,展覽得以舉行。為配合展覽,特意創立賽馬會藝術教育及「妍亮人生」計劃,為本地不同社區的社群提供教育講座和活動。

About the Exhibition 關於展覽
Installation view of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents — Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling. Photo: Scott Brooks.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents — Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling

Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling is presented exclusively by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The exhibition features a selection of paintings and calligraphy by the distinguished female artist Fang Zhaoling (1914-2006).

Fang was one of the most innovative Chinese painters to emerge in the last decades of the 20th century. Her work is original, distinctive and powerful. She was among the first female generation in China to benefit from Greater educational opportunities and female artists like her who fully realized their careers were relatively few.

Beyond biography and artistic development, the exhibition also considers ink painting and how Fang, as a diasporic artist, played a particularly significant role in its revival after chaotic reforms in the mid-century. It addresses the period of development between traditional ink art of the past and its new direction, showcasing Fang as a bridge between two generations.

Exhibition Period:
September 27 – December 31, 2017

Exhibition Venue: 
Chantal Miller Gallery
Asia Society Hong Kong Center
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Former Explosives Magazine
9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Opening Hours:
Tuesday - Sunday: 11 am — 6 pm
Last Thursday of Every Month: 11 am — 8 pm
Closed on Mondays 

Free Admission

展覽日期:
2017年9月27日 – 12月31日

展覽場地:
麥禮賢夫人藝術館
亞洲協會香港中心
香港金鐘正義道9號香港賽馬會復修軍火庫

開放時間:
星期二至星期日:上午11時至下午6時
每月最後一個星期四:上午11時至晚上8時
逢星期一休館

免費入場
 

About the Artist 關於藝術家

Fang Zhaoling (1914-2006) was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu, China. She was one of the most innovative Chinese painters to emerge in the last decades of the twentieth century. In her artistic passage from childhood to adult, she studied with three of China’s leading painters, Qian Songyan, Zhao Shaoang, and Zhang Daqian, achieving technical mastery of the medium as practiced in three very different ways. Her master-disciple patterns of training in Chinese painting intersected with the modern Western style education she received at The University of Manchester, The University of Hong Kong, and Oxford University. During her lifetime she exhibited widely in Japan, Europe, and the United States as well as elsewhere in Asia, but it is only with the distance of time that the path-breaking nature of her art and career have become most evident.

In 1951 Fang Zhaoling exhibited with her tutor, Zhao Shaoang at the first Chinese art show in Japan since the war. She then exhibited in various group and solo exhibitions including the Musee d’Orsay in 1953, Oxford University in 1957, the Royal Academy Summer Show in 1967, Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1978, Shanghai Art Museum in 1983. She was at the same time remarkable in her perseverance, her unwavering lifelong pursuit of her art, and her ultimate artistic success. In this, she was a model example of the “new woman” so much debated by theorists of the early twentieth century, a woman who through education and travel achieved self-realization that enabled her to contribute to world culture at the highest level.  

方召麐(1914-2006) 生於中國江蘇無錫,為二十世紀末最前衛的中國畫家之一。她師從國畫大師錢松岩趙少昂張大千,技巧集各家大成。藝術家的傳統藝術訓練融合在曼徹斯特大學、香港大學及牛津大學所受現代西方教育,畫技別樹一幟。

她曾在日本、歐洲、美國和亞洲多地展出,更於1951年與老師趙少昂在東京舉行戰後首個中國藝術展覽。方召麐其後在巴黎奧賽博物館(1953年) 、英國牛津大學(1957年) 、英國皇家藝術研究院(1967年) 、香港藝術館(1978年)和上海美術館(1983年)等博物館展出。

她憑藉堅毅精神,對藝術的熱忱和成就,成爲「新女性」的代表。「新女性」一詞源自二十世紀早期,形容以教育及遊歷實踐自我的女性,概念當時備受爭議。

Gallery Guided Tours 展覽導賞團
Installation view of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents — Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling. Photo: Scott Brooks.
Installation view of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents — Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling. Photo: Scott Brooks.

Open to public (free of charge). No registration required.

Saturdays | 2:30pm (English) | 3:30pm (Cantonese)
Sundays | 2:30pm (English) | 3:30pm (Cantonese)
Last Thursday of Every Month | 7:00pm (English) 

開放予公眾參與 (費用全免)。毋需另作登記。

逢星期六 | 下午二時三十分(英語)| 下午三時三十分(粵語)
逢星期日 | 下午二時三十分(英語) | 下午三時三十分 (粵語)
每月最後一個星期四 | 下午七時正(英語)

 

Programs 活動
S.H.E Dialogues: Spotlight Fashion — Women in Business
S.H.E Dialogues: Spotlight Fashion — Women in Business

Discussions and Lectures 座談會及講座

September 27, 2017: Fang Zhaoling in Context 策展人對話
October 23, 2017: The Dying Throes of the Last Matriarchal Tribe in China 中國最後的母系部落
October 31, 2017: Women in Architecture 建築業女性
November 21, 2017: S.H.E. Dialogues: A Girl with Big Dreams
November 27, 2017: S.H.E Dialogues: Spotlight Fashion — Women in Business
November 28, 2017: Women Explorers of National Geographic 國家地理的女性探索家
December 1, 2017: S.H.E. Dialogues: Female Equestrian Scarlette Cheng 香港女騎師‧蔣嘉琦
December 15, 2017: From Athlete to Educator: Cham Lim Chee 運動員到校長﹕陳念慈

Film Screenings 電影放映

October 9, 2017: Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present 《凝視瑪莉娜》
October 27, 2017: English Vinglish 《印式英語》
November 15. 2017: Eva Hesse 《伊娃·海瑟》
December 11, 2017: Hidden Figures 《NASA無名英雌》

Workshops and Performances 工作坊及表演

October 22, 2017: Big Sister Day: Board Game design 桌上遊戲設計
October 29, 2017: Seal Carving, by Miss Elephant 印章雕刻
November 5, 2017: Big Sister Day: Theater and Performance 戲劇與表演
November 6, 2017: Qipao Making with Janko Lam 林春菊旗袍製作坊
November 19, 2017: Qipao Ornaments 旗袍裝飾
December 3, 2017: Create your Spacecraft 自創太空船
December 3, 2017: Theater Art, by Shiona Carson Shiona Carson 戲劇藝術
December 17, 2017: Create your Stamp 自創印章

In the News 媒體
https://app.box.com/folder/39006225398
Installation view of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents — Painting Her Way: The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling. Photo: Scott Brooks.


道無盡:方召麐水墨書畫展, 《Cultural Express 文化快訊 RTHK》, September 24, 2017. 

方召麐水墨藝術今起展出, 《大公報》, September 27, 2017. 

Fang Zhaoling: A Legend of Ink Art, Asia Week, September 28, 2017. 

傳奇女畫師——《道無盡:方召麐水墨藝術展》, 《藝頻 》, September 28, 2017.

Ink Art of Fang ZhaolingPrestige, October 4, 2017.

陳方安生母親方召麐畫作展 48幅「道無盡」作品反映人生態度, 《香港01》, October 10, 2017.

巾幗不讓鬚眉 細看現代女藝術家的貢獻, 《東周網 》, October 25, 2017. 

【家長八達通】方召水墨藝術展 「道無盡」新女性典範, 《星島日報》, November 7, 2017. 

Thought Leaders: 'Art is a Visual Language'Discovery, December 18, 2017. 

《香港賽馬會呈獻—道無盡 方召麐水墨藝術展》, Syreeta Sik, December 29, 2017. 

亞洲協會香港中心《香港賽馬會呈獻—道無盡:方召麐水墨藝術展》, 【呀劍萬帥】, January 10, 2018.

【親子好去處】亞洲協會香港中心《香港賽馬會呈獻—道無盡:方召麐水墨藝術展》, 《ULifestyle》, January 22, 2018.

Press Release 新聞稿

English
中文

Installation views 展覽照片
Installation view of Painting Her Way.
Installation view of Painting Her Way.
Installation view of Painting Her Way.
Installation view of Painting Her Way.
Installation view of Painting Her Way.
Installation view of Painting Her Way.
Installation view of Painting Her Way.

 

Catalogue 展覽圖錄
Fang Zhao Ling Catalogue Cover

This catalogue is published on the occasion of Asia Hong Kong Center’s exhibition, Painting Her Way:  The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling, from September 27, 2017 to December 31, 2017. Fang Zhaoling is one of the most innovative Chinese painters to emerge in the last decades of the twentieth century, and the exhibition addresses the period of development between traditional ink art of the past and its new direction, showcasing Fang as a bridge between two generations. This catalogue includes illustrated color plates of all exhibited artworks, as well as essays from Julia F. Andrews, Kuiyi Shen, Joan Judge and Joyce Hei-ting Wong. 

為配合於2017年9月27日至2017年12月31日舉辦的展覽“道無盡:方召麐水墨藝術展”,亞洲協會香港中心將出版“道無盡:方召麐水墨藝術展”同名展覽圖錄。方召麐(1914至2006年)為二十世紀末最前衛的中國畫家之一。本次展覽關注傳統中國水墨藝術尋找新方向的發展時期,並分析方召麐作為兩代人之間的橋樑,於當代中國水墨藝術發展中扮演的角色。本書收集是次展覽中的所有展出作品的彩色圖片,並輔以沈揆一、安雅蘭、Joan Judge和黃熙婷寫成的四篇專題文章。

Title: Painting Her Way:  The Ink Art of Fang Zhaoling 道無盡:方召麐水墨藝術展
ISBN: 978-988-1272-9-4
Number of pages: 203
Price: HK$252 (Non-Member), HK$224 (Member)
Publisher: Asia Society Hong Kong Center
Design: Universal Brother Communications

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In Focus: An Assembly of Gods

-
New York26 Sep 201725 Mar 201812:00am12:00amTuesday 26 Sep 2017Sunday 25 Mar 2018

This exhibition features a large and marvelously detailed Chinese pantheon painting featuring a range of Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian, and popular Chinese deities. The religious traditions to which these gods belong have coexisted in China for well over one-thousand years. While the discrete religious and philosophical traditions maintained their integrity, over time deities, and sometimes even historical figures, were co-opted by popular religions, from which syncretic imagery of pantheon paintings and prints emerged.

Depictions of pantheons are traditionally displayed in Chinese homes on New Year’s Day when, popular belief holds, chief gods visit earth for an annual inspection at the close of the lunar year. Images of the deities were displayed in the courtyards of family homes together with offerings on altars in anticipation of the superhuman arrival. The gods included in these images have varied over the course of time, and even from town to town and family to family. This work dates to the latter part of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century, when pantheon images flourished in mainland China.

The importance of the time that has passed over the course of the year and the divine reckoning that follows is emphasized in this painting. Three of the Four Daoist Meritorious Officers who guard time by day, month, year, and season (sizhi gongcao) hold their reports in respectful offering to major deities. The Meritorious Officer who guards the seasons, for example, kneels before the Daoist Jade Emperor at the center of the heavens and offers his report, followed by his colleague, the Officer who guards the days, on horseback. At the bottom of the painting, the one who guards the months, on horseback, offers his report to the God who Rids Dwellers of Evil Spirits as he begins his rounds, and the fourth, the one who guards the year, gallops toward the City God with his account.

Heaven, Earth, and Water—the three realms (sanjie) that are overseen by the Three Great Emperor-officials of Daoism who appear at the center right of the painting—provide the settings for the assembly of gods. The deities appear in a complex, hierarchical bureaucracy consistent with a traditional Chinese world view. Major celestial deities appear at the top and center, and gods dealing with more earthly matters at the lower part of the composition. The artist rendered the landscape, figures, and architecture in the fine line or ink outline (baimiao) technique. He carefully defined the architecture with ruled lines (jiehua). Finally the artist, or the artist and his assistants, began to apply color, although it appears this process was never completed. Why a painting of this quality might have been left incomplete remains open to speculation.

This painting includes eighty-two labels identifying more than half the figures depicted. Through this display and ongoing research into China’s rich and complex religious traditions, we are able to learn more about the relationship between art and belief, and how traditions are adapted and change within China’s diverse population.

This exhibition is part of Asia Society Museum’s ongoing In Focus series, which invites viewers to take an in-depth look at a single, significant work of art.
 

Identification of the Deities

This assembly of gods underscores the complexity of Chinese religion, which as it shows can be much more nuanced than the categories Daoist, Buddhist, and Confucian might suggest. Popular belief changed and adapted across time and space. The painting is remarkable for the skill with which the artist has captured the images of gods, for the written identification of the deities, and for the great number of deities illustrated. The painting includes eighty-two labels identifying nearly half the deities depicted. Numbers have been superimposed on the reproduction of the painting inside this brochure to aid in identifying the labeled deities as follows.

The uppermost part of the heavenly realm in the pantheon painting features Buddhist deities. Guardians and merciful protectors of people, appear in the upper left corner and the upper right corner of the painting:

1. Shakyamuni Buddha (Sajiamouni fo, 釋迦牟尼佛) is the historical Buddha, an Indian prince who at the age of twenty-nine renounced his family and kingdom to seek enlightenment, which he is said to have attained late in the fifth century BCE. He is located at the top center with an elaborate umbrella suspended over him.
2. Bodhisattva Guanyin (Guanyin pusa, 觀世音菩薩) is the bodhisattva of mercy. As with all bodhisattvas, Guanyin postponed reaching nirvana, or enlightenment, for the sake of saving others. The crown and jewels identify this deity as a bodhisattva rather than a buddha.
3. The Four Vajras (Sida jingang, 四大金剛) represent the tantric Buddhist concepts of body, speech, mind, and wisdom. Here each wields a sword and three are depicted as fierce deities with bulging eyes and grotesque bodies.
4. Peacock King (Kongquemingwang fo, 孔雀明王佛), one of the so-called maharaja bodhisattvas who rides on a peacock, is the golden figure next to Manjushri Bodhisattva.
5. Manjushri Bodhisattva (Wenshu pusa, 文殊菩薩), the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, holds a sword to cut away delusion and is depicted as a small golden figure to Shakyamuni’s left.
6. Welcoming Buddha (Jieyin fo, 接引佛) is the small golden figure to Shakyamuni’s right.
7. Lord Lao (Lao Jun, 老君) is the golden figure to the left of Welcoming Buddha. Lord Lao is another name for Laozi, who originated as the fifth-century BCE historical figure popularly credited with founding the Daoist philosophy. Here he appears in what believers say is his original form, the supreme celestial being of Daoist worship.
8. Each of the Four Great Heavenly Kings (Sida tianwang, 四大天王) holds his symbolic item—from left to right—a sword, the musical stringed instrument known as a pipa, an umbrella, and a serpent. Together, these four deva kings of the four quarters are often found guarding the sacred space of Buddhist temples.
9. Bodhisattva of Great Compassion (Dabei pusa, 大悲菩薩) is often regarded as the same deity as Guanyin. Dabei Pusa’s numerous arms represent almighty power and the ability to know everything and reach everyone.
10. Skanda (Weitou pusa, 韋陀菩薩) is a guardian bodhisattva also known as Weitou (韋馱). He is seen here in one of his iconic positions, resting his weapon horizontally across his arms with his palms together in front of him.
11. Buddha of Exalted Virtue (Chongde fo, 崇德佛) is seated below Shakyamuni Buddha to his left.
12. Tathagata (Rulai fo, 如来佛) is seated below Shakyamuni Buddha to his right. This is the form of the historical Buddha when he was on earth and in the midst of his transformation into the Buddha.
13. Maitreya the Buddha of the Future (Miqin fo, 彌勤佛) the Buddha of the Future, is seated below the Buddha of Exalted Virtue.
14. Zhangjia Buddha (Zhangjia fo, 章迦佛), seated next to the Tathagata and flanked by monks wearing the hats of the Tibetan Buddhist Gelug School, is most likely a Rinpoche, or Spiritual Leader, of the Gelug School.
15. Maitreya Buddha (Mile fo, 彌勒佛), also called the Laughing Buddha (Xiao fo, 笑佛) or Fat Buddha (Pang fo, 胖佛), is a localized folkloric Maitreya known for his optimism and contentment. He is also a bringer of good fortune and luck.
16. Ksitigarbha (Dizang pusa, 地藏菩薩) is the bodhisattva who vowed to see all hells emptied before he entered the state of nirvana, or enlightenment. Like Guanyin and Dabei Bodhisattva, his eyes are cast downward to represent his compassionate nature. 

The deities labeled in this detail of the upper central part of the painting include the highest deities in both Confucian and Daoist traditions.

17. The Jade Emperor (Yuhuang dadi, 玉皇大帝), the highest ruler in the Daoist belief system who governs all deities, is seated at the center. He is often depicted as an emperor seated on a throne, wearing robes and a crown from the Han tradition. Here, a luminous halo shines behind him and he is flanked by two young attendants.

To the right and left of the Jade Emperor are four Daoist mythological creatures who guard the earth.

18. The Vermilion Bird (Zhu que, 朱 雀), who guards the southern corner of earth and represents the summer season. Here, the bird is depicted in human form, but the third eye on his forehead indicates a sense of otherworldliness.
19. The Black Tortoise (Xuan wu, 玄 武), who guards the northern corner of earth and represents the winter season. Here, he is in human form, but the third eye on his forehead indicates otherworldliness.
20. The Blue/Green Dragon (Qing long, 青 龍), who guards the eastern corner of earth and represents the spring season. Here, the dragon is represented as a human with extraordinary red hair.
21. The White Tiger (Bai hu, 白 虎), who guards the western corner of earth and represents the autumn season. He is depicted in human form, but has a feline nose.

Seated below this group are three important Confucian figures.

22. Confucius (Kongzi, 孔子), the major Chinese philosopher who contributed to the formation of Confucianism. His ideas on the matters of social ethics, family relationships, and governmental responsibilities became major foundations of Chinese culture. Here, he wears an honorable mortar-board-shaped headdress and layers of robes, giving him a sense of volume and importance.
23. Yan Hui (顏回), one of Confucius’s most respected disciples and often worshiped in Confucian temples along with Confucius. Here, he is depicted with a beard and an honorable mortar-board-shaped headdress, looking composed and wise.
24. Zilu (子路), one of Confucius’s eldest disciples and known for his frank and straightforward personality, as well as his faithfulness to his teacher. His clean-shaven face makes him look like a young disciple.
25. The Divine Official (Ling guan, 靈官) a Daoist guardian deity. He appears in this painting to specifically represent the Fire Divine Daoist Official (Wang Linguan, 王靈官), who is associated with fire and often depicted with red hair and a weapon in hand.
26. Great Emperor Perfected Martial (Zhenwu dadi, 真武大帝) is a Daoist deity with a national cult and stands close to the Jade Emperor in this painting. The Jade Emperor sent him down to earth to subdue an army of demon-kings ravaging the universe.
27. The Goddess of Mount Tai (Taishan shengmu, 泰山聖母), also known as Bixia yuanjun (碧霞元君), is a protector of women and children. Riding a colorful phoenix, she is depicted here as a beautiful young woman.

The deities in the upper left of the painting are the Five Sacred Peaks in China. They are powerful cosmic gods in charge of various realms and fields.

28. Southern Sacred Mountain (Nanyue tianqi, 南嶽天齊) governs creatures with scales and shells that live in the water.
29. Northern Sacred Mountain (Beiyue tianqi, 北嶽天齊) governs all rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans in the world, and also looks after all walking animals, including reptiles and insects.
30. Eastern Sacred Mountain (Dongyue tianqi, 東嶽天齊) governs the underworld and has the ability to determine life and death, and to call upon spirits. The most powerful of the Five Sacred Peaks, he is depicted here in a calm upright position to elicit reverence.
31. Western Sacred Mountain (Xiyue tianqi, 西嶽天齊) governs all types of metals as well as birds.
32. Central Sacred Mountain (Zhongyue tianqi, 中嶽天齊) governs swamps, river valleys, canals, and forests. He stands in profile with his back toward the audience and looks gravely at the Eastern Sacred Mountain.

Daoist deities in charge of various tasks appear in both the central right-hand side and the central left-hand side of the painting. 

33. Heaven-aiding Thearch (Xietian dadi, 協天大帝), also named Guan Yu (關羽), is a third-century warrior who appears as a protagonist in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi). He came to be worshiped as a Daoist god of wealth. Sitting behind a desk and in front of a painted screen, he is depicted here as an important bureaucratic official.
34. Red Robe (Zhuyi, 朱衣) is a Daoist god who is an assistant to the God of Literature. As the distributor of examination outcomes, he is accompanied by two young attendants who carry the test results. Students also venerate Red Robe for support during examinations.
35. The God of Literature (Wenchang dijun, 文昌帝君) governs all literary matters. He is a popular deity and worshiped in temples across China. Dressed in a scholar’s official robe, he wears a composed expression and holds a scroll in front of him. To his right is his companion deity Kuixing.
36. Largest Star in the Big Dipper Constellation (Kuixing, 奎星) is a stellar spirit and the companion deity to the Daoist God of Literature. He governs the matter of examinations. Holding a brush and standing on a dragon, this deity is commonly worshiped by students undergoing examinations.
37. Dark Altar (Xuantan, 玄壇), a Daoist guardian figure who is believed to be the mythical figure Zhao Gongming (趙公明). Zhao Gongming is venerated as both the God of Prosperity (Cai shen, 財神) and the God of Pestilence (Wen shen, 瘟神). He holds a swirl-like sword up in the air, looking fierce as he confronts a tiger.
38. The Meritorious Officer who Guards the Hours (Shi zhigongcao, 時職功曹) keeps a record of the labor of all humanity, specifically in the measurement of hours. He used to be found depicted in temples throughout China. With his back to the viewer, he kneels in front of The Jade Emperor and presents him with his official report.
39. The Meritorious Officer who Guards the Days (Ri zhigongcao, 日值功曹) keeps a record of all the activities of humanity in the measurement of days, and reports it to his superiors. In the pre-modern period he was found in temples throughout China. Riding on a horse, he follows immediately behind The Meritorious Officer Who Guards the Hours.
40. Erlang God (Erlang shen, 二郎神) a Daoist drain god that prevents flooding and drought, oversees water irrigation and the harvest. Attended by two servants, he stands proudly as he examines the land below him.

The deities labeled in the central right-hand side of the painting include the Three Great Emperor-officials of Daoism wearing mortar-board headgear with strings of dangling pearls.

41. The Earthly Official (Di guan, 地官), who is in charge of the Five Emperors of the Five Sacred Mountains and of the Earthly Immortals of all places. On the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, he is believed to come to the human world, inspect the sins of men, and absolve them.
42. The Heavenly Official (Tian guan, 天官), who oversees the emperors of all the heavens. On the fifteenth day of the first month of the lunar calendar, he visits the human world to inspect and judge the sins and blessings of men. Like the other Great Emperor-officials he holds an audience tablet (hu, 笏) before his chest.
43. The Water Official (Shui guan, 水官), who is in charge of the immortals residing in water. On the fifteenth day of the tenth month of the lunar calendar, he descends to the human world to inspect sins and good fortune, and eliminates the misfortunes of men. Here he has turned to face the Jade Emperor.
44. Sangharama (Qielan fo, 茄藍佛 also written as 伽藍佛) is a Buddhist guardian deity. Wearing a blue robe with golden embroidery, he smiles good-humoredly as one of his attendants in red dances comically.

Three celestial functionaries appear under the peach tree depicted below the Three Great Emperor-officials.

45. The Stellar God of Prosperity (Luxing, 禄星), the sixth star of the Wenchang cluster (Ursa Majoris), is believed to dictate a person’s prosperity, status, and influence, including success in the imperial examinations. He is shown here holding a baby in his arms, a reference to one of the other names he is known by: Immortal Zhang Presenting a Baby (Songzi zhang xian, 送子張仙).
46. The Stellar God of Good Fortune (Fuxing, 福星) the star of the South Pole (Canopus), wears red robes, has a long beard, and holds in his left hand a scepter with a cloud-shaped decorative element (ruyi) at the top. He is worshiped to bring prosperity and money.
47. The Stellar God of Immortality (Shouxing, 壽星), the planet Jupiter, is identifiable by his elderly characteristics, including a white beard, elongated bald head, and the peach-wood stick he holds. He is venerated to bring long life.

To the left of these Stellar Gods, two deities stand aboard an elegant boat floating on waves.

48. The Mother of Dragons (Longmu, 龍母), who as a human woman is said to have raised five infant dragons with whom she formed a strong filial bond.
49. White Dragon (Bai long, 白龍), a dragon king, who is a Daoist deity believed to be Lord of the Yellow River and controls flooding.
50. Medicine King (Yao wang, 藥王), a Daoist deity known for his invention of medicines and worshiped for his blessing of good health. Clad in an exuberantly red robe, he stands on a tiger-like animal and stretches his arms and legs dynamically in all directions.
51. Old Grandfather Zhao (Laozhao ye, 老趙爺) is an attendant of the Child Bestowing Goddess. Wearing robes in plain colors and a simple headdress, he holds two children in a basket-like container.
52. Child Bestowing Nanny (Songzi huamu, 送子花姆) is a fertility goddess who oversees matters of childbirth and childrearing. Standing underneath a roof and holding a child in arms, she wears an elegant hair piece and a pair of delicate earrings.
53. Bean God (Dou shen, 豆神) is located at the upper right and most likely was worshiped for his protection of the bean crop.
54. God of Pestilence (Wen shen, 瘟神), with flaming-red hair and beard, is positioned next to the Bean God.
55. The Five Commissioners of Pestilence (Wuwen shizhi, 五瘟使者) stand to the left of the God of Pestilence. One has the head of a tiger and holds a banner, and the others have the heads of an ox, cock, horse, and goat, and each holds a tablet (hu) before his breast as Chinese officials did at court when addressing the emperor.
56. The Pagoda-bearing Heavenly King (Tuota tianwang, 托塔天王), who was introduced to China as the Buddhist Guardian of the North, is dressed in purple and holds both a pagoda and a sword.
57. The Elderly God of the Year (Zhenniantaisui, 值年太歲), stands next to the Pagoda-bearing Heavenly King, dressed as an immortal, and appears to move forward as if blind to what is before him. Projecting from his eye sockets are arms with an eye in each hand’s palm.
58. The Immortal Liu (Liu daxian, 柳大仙) is Chunyanglüzu’s disciple and is depicted at his side. The gourds he holds and wears around his waist are symbols of immortality.
59. The Immortal Chunyanglüzu (Chunyanglüzu, 純陽呂祖) the scholarly figure seated next to a table, is one of the Eight Immortals venerated by Daoists and is considered by some to be the leader of this group. The sword he carries on his back is said to dispel evil. He originated as a ninth-century scholar and poet prior to being regarded as a deity.
60. The Immortal Child of Prosperity (Zhaocai tongzi, 招財童子), who brings affluence and good fortune. He is often depicted as a child but also occasionally portrayed as a teenager, as here.
61. The Immortal Official of Profitability (Lishi xianguan, 利市仙官), the bringer of wealth, prosperity, and fortune, is one of the Gods of the Five Paths to Wealth. Popular among devotees, he is sometimes worshiped alone without the other four deities.
62. Gods of the Five Paths to Wealth (Wulu caishen, 五路財神) are the chief officials of the divine Ministry of Wealth. From the eighteenth century on, they were the primary focus of those worshiping the God of Wealth (Wutong shen, 五通神) in China’s prosperous Jiangnan region.
63. Cao Shen (曹參), seated and wearing red, was the second chancellor of the Western Han dynasty. Originally a historical figure from the second century BCE, he played an important role in the founding of the Han dynasty and is said to have used Daoist techniques in his governing style.
64. Xiao He (蕭何), seated next to Cao Shen, is a second-century BCE Chinese statesman who served Liu Bang, the founder of the Han dynasty, during the insurrection against the Qin dynasty. He is also a significant figure for Daoists because he assembled Daoist scholars in the region of Qi to teach him how to carry out benevolent governance.

In the lower left-hand corner of the painting are deities of Daoism and popular religion who oversee the everyday lives of common people. 

65. The Three Reporting Officials (Subao sanci, 速報三司) are the City God’s bureaucratic officials, who govern the military, rites, and the issuing of bureaucratic documents. They are seen here standing in a row, but looking in indifferent directions.
66. Land God (Zhenzhaitudi, 鎮宅土地) is a deity local inhabitants look to for the exorcism of evil spirits and to guard their village, town, or region. Wearing a blue robe, he is depicted as an old man with grey hair and a wrinkled face.
67. God of Joy (Xi shen, 喜神) is an auspicious Daoist deity who often appears at festive events, especially weddings. His smiling eyes and relaxed composure convey a sense of joyfulness unseen in the other gods in this painting.
68. God of Nobility (Gui shen, 貴神) is a god of astrological origin who often appears in Daoist divination practices. Turning his pale clean-shaven face toward the branch that he holds in his hand, he seems to be looking for a sign of divination.
69. Horse King (Ma wang, 馬王), commonly known as Ma linguang (馬靈官), is a Daoist guardian deity that protects horses and cattle. His three bulging round eyes, bright red hair, and six strong arms convey his ferocity.
70. Household God (Ao shen, 奥神), also called Dizhu shen (地主神), is a household protector. He stands close to Hearth God, with whom he works closely to look after a household.
71. Cattle King (Niu wang, 牛王), or Ox God, is a protector of domestic animals. Gesturing forward, he seems to be giving instructions to a nearby boy in red and green holding a small water buffalo.
72. The Veritable Lord God of Fire (Huodi zhenjun, 火帝真君) looks after kilns and workshops that use fire. He wears an exuberantly red robe and has red hair and three crescent-shaped eyes.
73. Hearth God (Zao shen, 竃神) is a guardian who oversees the kitchen and food in a household. In this painting, he looks over his shoulder at the Household God.

The deities labeled in the bottom left-hand corner of the painting include the guardians of homes, villages, cities, and rivers.

74. Duke of the Local Land (Tu gong, 土公), Earth God and guardian of local land for a specific district, town, or village, he often appears with his wife, the Earth Goddess, as he does here. He is commonly depicted as an affable elderly man with a staff in hand.
75. Earth Goddess (Tu mu, 土母), a guardian of local land for a specific district, town, or village, she is commonly depicted as an amiable elderly woman with a staff in hand.
76. City God (Duchenghuang, 都城隍), a Daoist official who serves as a supernatural judge or magistrate in a city. He often wears a stern expression, exhibiting his righteous and just nature as an official.
77. The Meritorious Officer who Guards the Months (Yue zhigongcao, 月值功曹) keeps a record of all activities of humanity in the measurement of months, and gives reports to his superiors. In premodern times he and the three other Daoist Meritorious Officers were widely worshipped and found in temples throughout China. Turning his horse in a three-quarter view, he presents his documents respectfully to the Land God.
78. Mountain God (Shan shen, 山神) is the spirit of the mountain. Wearing a helmet and holding a twisted pole weapon in hand, he is represented here as a warrior.
79. Shen Shu (神荼), the elder of the two brothers Shen Shu and Yu Lu known for their power over evil spirits. The brothers catch harmful ghosts and feed them to tigers. The siblings are pasted on entrance doors as door-gods to ward off evil spirits.
80. Yu Lu (鬱壘), the younger of the two brothers Shen Shu and Yu Lu, who are door gods.
81. The Meritorious Officer who Guards the Years (Nian zhigongcao, 年值功曹), keeps a record of the labor of all humanity, specifically in the measurement of years. He was formerly found in temples throughout China. Rushing into the composition on horseback, he holds up a scroll, most likely his report, delicately above his head.
82. The Lord of the River (Hebo jiangjun, 河伯將軍), a spirit of the river, who is believed to be the water god of the Yellow River. Wearing a helmet and resting a sword in his right arm, he is depicted here as a military official.

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An Assembly of Gods
Assembly of Gods detail
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Assembly detail
Detail of Assembly of Gods
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Detail of Assembly of Gods
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Detail of Assembly of Gods
Detail of Assembly of Gods
Detail of Assembly of Gods
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Inspired by Zao Wou-Ki: Works by New York City Students

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New York16 May 201706 Aug 201712:00am12:00amTuesday 16 May 2017Sunday 6 Aug 2017

Inspired by Zao Wou-Ki is part of a series of exhibitions that presents the work of New York City students created in response to the great artistic traditions of Asia. This year the exhibition presents student artwork inspired by the Asia Society fall 2016 exhibition No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki. By displaying these fresh interpretations of Asian arts, we hope to encourage other young visitors to exercise their creativity.

Organized by Asia Society Museum in collaboration with Studio in a School.

Find out about the learning opportunities Asia Society offers.

Art of the Tang Dynasty (618–906): Selections from the Asia Society Museum Collection

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New York07 Mar 201704 Jun 201712:00am12:00amTuesday 7 Mar 2017Sunday 4 Jun 2017

Organized in conjunction with Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia, this presentation of exquisite gold and silver objects, sancai ceramics, and stoneware from the Asia Society Museum Collection showcases the artistry of Tang Dynasty China.