New, improved links

The days of clicking a link to one of my reviews only to run smack into a firewall -- they're over! The Wall Street Journal has changed the system so that the links provided for an article now by-pass the firewall. You can't go roaming from there, but at least clicking the link won't inflict … Continue reading New, improved links

Exploring the South Indian Temple Hall at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Rama after defeating his enemy, the demon RavanaHanuman, the monkey king who helped Rama rescue Sita from RavanaSita, Rama's wifePurushamirukam, "man-beast"Larger than the other reliefs on these slender columns, this portrays the donor, a royal patron here dressed as a simple devotee This is not so much a blog as a supplement to my masterpiece … Continue reading Exploring the South Indian Temple Hall at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Trees aren’t always just trees

There were some kind of cypress (I think) trees near our home in south India that looked like guests at a cocktail party, one limb reaching out for a drink, another curling back as though to bring a cigarette to the lips.  Maybe that's why I get such a kick looking at the inventive depiction … Continue reading Trees aren’t always just trees

A basket made of ivory

So many works, so few column inches...  Here is one of many pieces I couldn't squeeze into my review of the Asian Export Art Gallery at the Peabody Essex Museum (which you can read in the WSJ or in my archive).  The museum simply labels it, "Basket, 1800-15."   What is it, you ask?  Why, … Continue reading A basket made of ivory

The power of leaving a hand- or footprint.

A couple of people were taken with the notion, mentioned in my review of "Faith and Empire," that by making a foot- or handprint, one creates a permanent link with the object, the way, say, the shroud that wrapped a saint's body becomes a relic. Credit goes to  Kathryn Selig Brown, a scholar of Tibetan … Continue reading The power of leaving a hand- or footprint.

Portraits in bronze

One of the many treats in "Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism" at the Rubin Museum of Art are two bronze portraits of lamas.  We see so many idealized Buddha and bodhisattva figures, it's easy to forget that the sculptors were also capable of expressing people's individuality.  Meet lama Change Rolpai Dorje … Continue reading Portraits in bronze