Bamboo art in the Met’s Japanese galleries

The Japanese galleries at the Met are like a bride -- they always have something old, something new, and no doubt if you look hard enough you'll spot something blue.  This summer, bamboo art is the overarching theme, starting with "The Gate," an amazing construct that artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV created for the entrance to … Continue reading Bamboo art in the Met’s Japanese galleries

Samurai beauty

If anyone knew how to express both pageantry and lethality it was the Edo period Samurai  -- as a show at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, amply demonstrates.  The headline the WSJ gave my review says it all: "Dressed to Kill in Peacetime." Much of their fearsome beauty is due to the textures and rhythm of … Continue reading Samurai beauty

crossing into hell

"Masters of Mercy" -- what a well constructed show of paintings featuring rakans, the Buddha's disciples (or luohan as the Chinese refer to them) who so often stare out with fierce expressions, as though to remind us that this whole enlightenment business is hard work. The show starts with a couple of paintings by Kano … Continue reading crossing into hell