Category Archives: Ceramics

Is bringing overseas artifacts home desirable?

Korean Herald
2013-10-02 19:31

Culture Minister Yoo Jin-ryong seems to have barely weathered a storm of public censure with sincere explanations about his alleged remarks hinting the possibility of returning to Japan Buddhist statues that a group of Koreans stole from Tsushima.

He faced sudden embarrassment when the Japanese media quoted their Culture Minister Hakubun Shimomura, coming from a meeting with Korean and Chinese culture ministers in Gwangju last week, as saying that Korea would be considering sending the stolen artifacts back to Japan. Yoo said he had only diplomatically referred to the issue by saying that his administration would be waiting for a Korean court decision on a request from a Korean Buddhist temple which claims to be the original owner of one of the statues.

The episode once again revealed the high temperature of sensitivity with which Koreans, Japanese and every other people react to matters related to the ownership of their cultural properties held overseas. Artifacts ― statues, paintings, ceramics, ornaments and even heavy stone monuments ― have been shipped across national borders by invading armies, merchants and thieves over the many centuries of human history. Governments and people are trying to get them back through diplomatic efforts and oftentimes buying them from their present owners. Continue reading

[Seattle, WA, U.S. Talk] A Remarkable Set of Chinese Buddhist Sculptures [October 3, 2013]

Seattle Art Museum Talks

A Remarkable Set of Chinese Buddhist Sculptures
Derek Gillman
October 3, 2013
7–9 pm
Stimson Auditorium

Since their rediscovery in caves south of Beijing in 1912, there has been much debate about the age and origin of a major set of over-life-size glazed ceramic figures of luohans (enlightened disciples of the Buddha) with superb portrait-like faces.

Derek Gillman, Executive Director of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and a scholar of Chinese sculpture, will locate these unique figures within the context of Chan (Zen) Buddhist practice in the 11th and 12th centuries, and argue that they were made for an imperially commissioned temple within the Jin empire (1115-1234).

Free, but registration required. Continue reading

Travel Through Time: Asian Art Featured on The Curator’s Eye

ArtfixDaily Artwire™
18 September 2013

As Asian art markets continue their impressive showing at sales and shows around the world, The Curator’s Eye ( hosts a chronological tour of the exceptional items of Asian origin currently on display on the continuous online exhibition. The Curator’s Eye offers a varied selection of objects made in locations from China to Cambodia, and made from as early as 550 A.D. up to contemporary times.

Chinese Standing Buddha
Dated during the Northern Qi Dynasty of China, which ran between 550 and 577 A.D., this exceptionally beautiful standing Buddha represents the height of Northern Qi Buddhist sculptures in the quality of its carving and elegant restraint. The face of the carving has the unreachable deep meditative expression typical of Buddhist art, and the treatment of the robe has just a few parallels in Northern Qi sculpture, making this a rare example of the art of this period, and how it reflects the influence of Indian Gupta sculptural style.

ArtFix1Baphuon Style Khmer Head

Moving ahead five hundred years, The Curator’s Eye presents a finely sculpted, elegant gray schist carved head, in the style of the Baphuon Temple in Angkor, Cambodia. The temple was built around 1060 under the reign of Udayadityavarma to the glory of Shiva. In this piece, the Baphuon style is exhibited in the characteristic incised lines drawing the eyes and lips, as well as in the dimple in the chin highlighting the purity of the lines combined with the smiling grace. Continue reading

Archaeological Mafia in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province

The Express Tribune
Fawad Shah and Shahsawar Khan
8 September, 2013

SwatA team of archaeologists from Hazara University in Mansehra excavating in Udegram, Swat.

Swat 2The Unesco World Heritage site of Takht-i-Bahi in Mardan where a Buddhist monastery complex survives on the crest of a hill. It was founded in the first century AD.

History is hard enough to piece together from shards of pottery. The storyline is further distorted in some European and Chinese museums if they unknowingly acquire smuggled artifacts from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The relics have often been displayed with labels that have either incomplete or misconstrued information, say museum officials. For example, they can say a piece is from Pakistan or Afghanistan. If Pakistan wants to reclaim it, then, the foreign museum rejects the request and tells it to settle the matter with Afghanistan first.

Murky sourcing is to blame. For instance, many Gandhara Civilisation pieces that find their way into museums and homes across the world are not properly documented as they have been dug up by farmers and subsequently hawked by middlemen across the globe. No one has kept track. Formal archaeological digs are expensive and the government hasn’t been able to keep up. Continue reading

Sotheby’s Hong Kong unveils superb collections of Chinese art from Japan [Auction: 8 October 2013]



Sotheby’s Nicolas Chow presents Tang-dynasty dry lacquer head of Buddha from the collection of Sakamoto Goro. Photo: Sotheby’s.

HONG KONG.- Sotheby’s Hong Kong announced its Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Autumn Sale Series 2013 taking place on 8 October 2013 at Hall 3, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. In celebration of Sotheby’s 40th anniversary in Asia, the sale is curated to encompass a wide range of extraordinary and fresh-to the-market objects with illustrious provenances. The selection is led by two superb collections of Chinese art from Japan, Chinese Art Through The Eye Of Sakamoto Goro and Imperial Qing Porcelain – A Kyoto Collection, that have remained unseen for more than half a century. The series will also highlight the single-lot sale, The Cunliffe Musk-Mallow Palace Bowl as well as an extraordinary set of seals used by the Qianlong emperor before he ascended the throne. Altogether the series comprising five sales will offer over 400 lots with an estimated total value of over HK$750 million / US$96 million*. Continue reading

Episode 171 :: Anita Feng :: Raku Pottery and Buddhist Art

Secular Buddhist Association
by Ted Meissner, Published on May 30, 2013

Zen teacher and artist Anita Feng joins us to speak about raku pottery in contemporary Buddhist art.

Follow [link] for the Podcast, or Download

Early Buddhist art was missing one particular figure: Buddha. That changed over time, as Buddhism reached new shores and cultures, as the teaching itself has found new forms of expression. We see a growth of artistic expression, not just practice techniques, as Buddhism encounters contemporary Western influences, still finding ways to inspire us.

Anita Feng has practiced Zen in the lineage of Zen Master Seung Sahn since 1976. In the late ’70s she lived and studied intensively with Zen Master Seung Sahn at the Providence Zen Center. Since the ’90s she has studied under the guidance of Zen Master Ji Bong, receiving Inka in 2008. Anita works as a ceramic artist making raku Buddhas. She lives with her family in Seattle, Washington. Continue reading