Scrolling through Chinese art

"I hate theme shows.  I hate shows that bunch a whole lot of works together that should be seen alone."  This -- or words to this effect -- is what an artist friend said when I was telling him about a show of Chinese paintings at the Met I had reviewed.  It hit home because, … Continue reading Scrolling through Chinese art

Asuras and devas at Angkor Wat

Cannot quite yet let go of the Churning of the Sea of Milk... Here are the asuras or demons standing on the sea, tugging fiercely on the snake... And here are the devas or gods, also standing on the sea (which you don't see here) with heavenly maidens frolicking above their heads: Why is it … Continue reading Asuras and devas at Angkor Wat

Saving the Sea of Milk

The Wall Street Journal's art page has this great feature called the Masterpiece column in which you get to just stop and spend time on one work.  As every writer who has done one of these will  tell you, it is exhilarating and frustrating.  I don't have to explain the first part, at least not … Continue reading Saving the Sea of Milk

Unearthed treasures

Okay, I admit it, I have a predilection for terrifying creatures whose sole job is to frighten away demons and evil spirits.  These two tomb guardian beasts (or zhenmushou for those of us who try to learn these terms...not that we always succeed in remembering them...) are typical in form but pretty rare in terms … Continue reading Unearthed treasures

What lies behind gilt… in Myanmar

Whether it is a temple or a stupa or one of the  many (many!) gilded Buddhas in Myanmar, it is hard to believe that they started off  looking something like this -- Now,  I'm not too crazy about gilt (no matter the spelling), but these gleaming domes and statues took on a different glow once … Continue reading What lies behind gilt… in Myanmar


This fall, artist and videographer Andrea Hull and I will be teaming up to launch Art+Asia/Writing+Video, a blog that takes full advantage of the genre by using words and images creatively to engage readers with contemporary and modern works by Asian artists.  We will approach these works in the contexts of both the artist's national … Continue reading Art+Asia/Writing+Video

what looters left behind

Visiting sites in Mrauk U in northwest Myanmar  is seeing what the looters left behind -- well,   looters and archaeologists, since many of the statues have been safely removed to museums around the country.  There are headless torsos and faceless heads (some replaced with cement substitutes), severed arms and dismantled statues, gaping niches and … Continue reading what looters left behind