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Thứ Hai, tháng 6 13, 2005

No. 0358

‘Treasure' trove

Tibetan works makes debut at Asian Art Museum
By Bill Picture
Special to The Examiner
Published: Sunday, June 12, 2005 9:49 PM PDT

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe Asian Art Museum's latest exhibition, "Treasures from the Roof of the World," showcases breathtaking, one-of-a-kind works of art, ranging from the sacred to the practical, created by skilled artisans for use in this isolated and little-traveled mountaintop region's opulent temples and palaces.

Many of the nearly 200 pieces featured in the exhibition, which was organized by the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana, with the cooperation of the government of the People's Republic of China, have never before been displayed in the West.

After San Francisco, the last stop on the exhibition's four-city American tour, all of the pieces will be returned to their respective homes at three of Tibet's most important cultural institutions, the Potala Palace and Norbulingka Summer Palace — former residences of the Dalai Lamas from the 17th century to the mid-20th century — and the Tibet Museum in Lhasa, which the Chinese government's Administrative Bureau of Cultural Relics of the Tibet Autonomous Region established in 1999.

As a whole, the exhibition demonstrates the inextricable link between the people of Tibet's faith and their everyday lives. Since the early 600s, when Buddhism was first introduced in the Himalayas, religion has dominated Tibet's cultural landscape, from politics to society to art.

While Buddhism's powerful influence is most evident in ritual objects and the elaborate bronze sculptures and Thangka paintings (painted, embroidered and appliquéd wall hangings) of Buddhist deities, it can also be seen and felt in everyday items created for Tibetan nobility.

For instance, a robe-like garment handmade for a member of Tibet's ruling class from the iridescent fibers of peacock feathers represents humans' quest for Buddhahood. For Buddhists, the unusual but beautiful fowl, which lives on a diet of snakes and poisonous plants, symbolizes the Buddha's ability to transform "the poison of worldly passion into enlightened qualities of body, speech and mind."

But the exhibition's organizers are hoping to do more than simply shed light on the still-little-understood Buddhist faith or the role it played in Tibetan culture. Their ultimate goal is to promote Asian culture as a whole by showcasing its immense diversity through the diversity of its art.

"And I believe that this exhibition will contribute to a new understanding between the people of China and the United States," said Rinchen Tsering from China's Administrative Bureau of Cultural Relics.

Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World

When: Tuesday-Sunday, through Sept. 11

Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., San Francisco

Price: Admission is $10 adults; $7 seniors; $6 youth 12-17; free for kids under 12

Info: Call (415) 581-3500 or visit www.asianart.org

http://www.sfexaminer.com/articles/2005/06/13//entertainment//20050613_en01_asianart.txt