One of the things I love about religious art is the occasional blurring of the line between an object intended to inspire devotion and the depiction of devotion itself. This happens in pretty much all religious traditions, but for whatever reason it struck me recently at "Buddhist Art of Myanmar," currently on view at the Asia Society Museum … Continue reading Mirroring Devotion
This time-worn cover of a relic chamber is another mesmerizing work on display At the Met in "Lost Kingdoms." It was found inside a stupa at Sri Ksetra, a 1,500-year old site we visited in 2012. It is in ruinous state, so much so the World Monuments Fund added it to its endangered list. But it has … Continue reading Peering inside Myanmar’s earliest stupas
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
...or as they might say in Myanmar, ogres are in the details. Walk up to temples in Bagan, spot some stucco decoration clinging to the bricks...and chances are you'll come face to face with some fierce protectors... And, seriously, could we not all use one or two of these?
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