Sunday, August 4, 2013

A collection of sculptures inspired by ancient Indian art

A new show at the Rubin Museum includes works chosen by its curators that trace the early development of Hindu and Buddhist sculpture back to their glorious roots in the exquisite art of ancient India. Another show, simultaneously on view, entitled ‘Fiercely Modern’, from The exhibition, from the Weltmuseum Wien in Vienna, incorporates great examples from one of the most important and largest collections of Naga art in the world.

‘From India East’
It presents sculptures from the Asian art collection of the Brooklyn Museum. The year-long exhibition includes art from Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, and Japan. The Rubin Museum made a selection of objects according to a concept that connects with its own collection: tracing back the origins of Buddhist and Hindu sculptural art in Asia to its roots, showing the stylistic evolution by both geographic distribution and time period. This means that the oldest examples of Indian art, be they Buddhist or Hindu in origin, have been chosen as various kinds of prototypes by which a more wide-spread evolution of Asian art can be identified.
Art of the Naga Warrior
Naga describes a group of culturally and linguistically linked, but distinct tribes living on the border between India and Burma. Because the Naga had the reputation for being fearsome headhunters, they were somewhat isolated and evolved a distinctive material culture. They produce decorative ornaments, expressive wood carvings, and vividly colored textiles. The exhibition, from the Weltmuseum Wien in Vienna, includes examples from one of the largest and most important collections in the world.

Due to the efforts of American Baptist missionaries in the 20th century, the Naga became fervent Christians. However, their ancient customs and habits remain alive under a layer of Christian devotion. Originally assembled by Christoph von Furer Haimendorf in the 1930s, the collection has been augmented in recent years. The exhibition includes ceremonial costumes and weapons and large-scale photographs of Naga people.

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