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‘If we don’t work together, we will see very dark times,’ says outgoing V&A director Martin Roth

3383088a7b5ec40c9b00fa7a23cd9c79_e65df94ab9df05ef01536e9f4b4a8e151024x682_quality99_o_1atk02vmdcrr4etqvt1l9ahflaAmerican and Chinese museum leaders gather in New York to discuss international co-operation

The Art Newspaper
by JULIA HALPERIN | 26 September 2016

Dozens of museum leaders from the US and China are gathering in New York this week to compare notes and brainstorm ways to promote cultural exchange between their two nations. The US-China Museum Summit, which kicks off today (until 28 September), is the third biannual meeting between the two groups and is co-organsed by the American Federation of Arts (AFA) and the Asia Society.

As the speakers at the summit revealed, cultural exchange is much easier said than done. In recent years, practical challenges, including costs, cultural differences and language barriers, have limited exhibition sharing between China and the US. A “marketplace” for exhibitions ready to travel between the US and China, first proposed in 2014, has proven difficult to get off the ground.

Meanwhile, the number of museums in China has exploded—and so has their appetite for travelling shows. Between 2011 and 2013, an average of one museum per day opened in the country, according to Pauline Willis, the director of the AFA. By 2020, China is expected to be home to 6,000 museums.

The V&A is one of the few Western institutions to develop a long-term partnership with a museum in China. In 2017, the V&A will open a gallery inside the Shekou Design Museum in Shenzhen. But this kind of collaboration was not easy to pull off, said Martin Roth, the outgoing director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. In his keynote address, Roth recounted small cultural misunderstandings that he encountered early on in his relationships with Chinese museums. “Do you go left or right entering an exhibition? Is red a lucky colour or a communist colour?” he asked. Continue reading

Efforts for archaeological tourism’s revival pledged


MINGORA: Culture activists and archaeologists here on Saturday pledged to make joint efforts for the revival and promotion of archaeological tourism in the region.

They were speaking during a seminar on Sustainable Archaeological Tourism and Role of Local Communities in Heritage Conservation at Swat Museum, Saidu Sharif.

The event was jointly organised by the Sustainable Tourism Foundation Pakistan, Archaeology Tourism Project and department of archaeology in museums with the support of Suvastu Arts and Culture Association, and Swat Archaeological Guides Association.

Civil society members, culture activists, officials of tourism department, and representatives of hotel industry, archeologists and media showed up in large numbers.

Experts say cultural, archaeological tourism a major source of foreign exchange
Aftab Rana, president of Sustainable Tourism Foundation in Pakistan, said the seminar was organised to create public awareness of sustainable archaeological tourism in Swat valley and to discuss the role of stakeholders, especially in the conservation of archaeological heritage in Swat, which was a great tourist attraction in KP.

He said sustainable tourism meant to respect local culture and avoid and damage or harm to local archaeological sites and not to spread any pollutant thing at the site.

“Majority of visitors to Swat seems to be unaware of the rich culture and archaeological heritage, so we want to promote archaeological tourism by initiating an off-season tourism and create recourses of earning to the communities living closer to the archaeological sites,” he said.

Massimo Vidale, a professor of archaeology at the University of Padova, Italy, who has been busy with excavation under the Italian archeological mission in Swat since 2000, said he was proud to be part of the Archaeological Community Tourism project with the involvement of local community in archeology in Swat. Continue reading

Trowulan Reclining Buddha Statue Attracts 1,000 Visitors

541776_620SUNDAY, 25 SEPTEMBER, 2016 | 16:50 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The number of tourists visiting the huge reclining Buddha statue in Trowulan, Mojokerto, East Java, reaches 1,000 visitors every weekend.

Arianto, one of the officers in charge of the site, said that the statue, dubbed as the biggest Buddha statue in Indonesia, is only frequented by Buddhists but also by the general public.

“This site is open for the general public,” he said on Sunday (25/9).

The entrance fee is also not expensive.

Ari added that to enter the site and see the statue, visitors are charged with only Rp 2,000.

Initially, he added, the statue was built for Buddhist for religious activities. However, as time went by, the statue now becomes a tourist destination with good potentials.

“Because many tourists came here, in 2012, it was inaugurated as a tourist destination,” Arianto added.

The history of the statue began with reclusion done by a Buddhist monk named Viriyanadi Mahatera. In his reclusion, the monk received a guidance to build a Buddhist temple.

However, with the majority of the locals are non-Buddhist, the monk struggled to get permission from the locals. Eventually, the statue was built in 1990.

The statue is 22 meters long, 6 meters wide and 4.5 meters in height.

In 2001, it was recorded by the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI) as the biggest Buddha statue in Indonesia.

It is also the third biggest Buddha statue in South East Asia.



Dr Biju’s next, a ‘calm film with Buddhism as backdrop’

Times of India

Asha Prakash | Sep 16, 2016, 12.00 AM IST

Dr Biju’s next, a ‘calm film with Buddhism as backdrop’
Dr Biju’s films have never followed a pattern, whether in subject or treatment. After ‘Perariyathavar’, which told stories of scavengers and ‘Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal’, which explored the endosulphan issue, the director has taken a U-turn for his next. The film, titled ‘Sound of Silence’, will be a “calm film, with Buddhism as the backdrop,” he says. “It will have a meditative story, centred on a boy’s evolution into a Buddhist monk. The film will be shot in Himachal Pradesh and Tibet.” It will also be the director’s first film in a language other than Malayalam; Hindi, Pahali and the local Tibetan language will be the languages spoken by the characters. The team has already left for Himachal and are shooting in a location where there are absolutely no mobile signals.
Master Govardhan, who has acted in Dr Biju’s ‘ Akashathinte Niram’, ‘Veettilekkulla Vazhi’ and ‘Perariyathavar’ will be playing the Buddhist monk in the film. “We have roped in theatre actors from Himachal and Mumbai and also a few Buddhist monks for the movie.” Meanwhile, Dr Biju is awaiting the release of his film ‘Kaadu Pookkunna Neram’, which has a Maoist suspect as the main character.


Sounds of Korea Korean traditional dance

1472691792tm_160831[sound link at KBS radio site]

KBS World Radio

The poet left a detailed record of how he came to write this poem. One winter night a grand Buddhist ceremony was held at Yongjusa용주사 Temple in Hwaseong화성 and he was inspired by the Buddhist monks’ dance he saw for the first time in his life. He was so awestruck that he stood under a persimmon tree in the temple ground late into the night, long after the ceremony was over. But that experience did not immediately produce a poem. The following spring, he was again inspired by a painting of the Buddhist dance, which eventually led to his iconic poem “The Dance of the Buddhist Nun.” The Buddhist dance is called “seungmu승무” in Korean. This dance embodies a feeling of sincere penance for past wrongdoings and a strong yearning to seek eternal truth.

Music 1: Dance of the Buddhist Nun/ Composed by Hwang Eui-jong, performed by Gyeonggi Provincial Traditional Music Orchestra

The piece you heard, inspired by Cho Chi-hun’s poem “Dance of the Buddhist Nun,” was composed and sung by Hwang Eui-jong and accompanied by the Gyeonggi Provincial Traditional Music Orchestra. The dance that Buddhist monks perform during a Buddhist ritual is called “jakbeop작법,” which means establishing the law. In Buddhism, the law really means the truth. Jakbeop is not performed to hide human emotions, but to bring the truth to light. The folk version of Buddhist dance is much bigger and more intricate in its movement than jakbeop and is marked by an energetic drum playing at the end of the dance. One of the characteristics of Korean traditional dances is described as “movement within stillness, stillness within movement.” And seungmu승무 and salpuri살풀이 are two Korean dances that best demonstrate this feature. Salpuri is a dance that repels evil spirits and was probably influenced by the dance performed by shaman priestess during exorcism. Dance enthusiasts are amazed by the light footwork required in salpuri and the arching line created in the air when a long cloth is thrown, which represents the futility of life. Coming up next is the salpuri accompaniment performed by the Lee Seng-gang Traditional Folk Music Orchestra.

Music 2: Salpuri Accompaniment/ Lee Seng-gang Traditional Folk Music Orchestra Continue reading

Cave Temples of Mogao at Dunhuang: Art and History on the Silk Road

9781606064450_grandeCave Temples of Mogao at Dunhuang: Art and History on the Silk Road
Roderick Whitfield, Susan Whitfield, and Neville Agnew

The Mogao grottoes in China, situated near the town of Dunhuang on the fabled Silk Road, constitute one of the world’s most significant sites of Buddhist art. The hundreds of caves carved into rock cliffs at the edge of the Gobi desert preserve one thousand years of exquisite art. Founded by Buddhist monks as an isolated monastery in the late fourth century, Mogao evolved into an artistic and spiritual mecca whose renown extended from the Chinese capital to the Western Kingdoms of the Silk Road. Among its treasures are miles of stunning wall paintings, more than two thousand statues, magnificent works on silk and paper, and thousands of ancient manuscripts, such as sutras, poems, and prayer sheets.

In this new expanded edition, Cave Temples of Mogao at Dunhuang, first published in 2000, combines lavish color photographs of the caves and their art with the fascinating history of the Silk Road to create a vivid portrait of this remarkable site. Chapters narrate the development of Dunhuang and the Mogao cave temples, the iconography of the wall paintings, and the extraordinary story of the rare manuscripts—including the oldest printed book in existence, a ninth-century copy of the Diamond Sutra. The book also discusses the collaboration between the Getty Conservation Institute and Chinese authorities in conservation projects at Mogao, and the ways in which the site can be visited today.

Roderick Whitfield is Percival David Professor emeritus in the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Susan Whitfield is head of the International Dunhuang Project, British Library. Neville Agnew is a principal project specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute.

160 pages
8 x 10 inches
155 color & 25 b/w 
1 map
ISBN 978-1-60606-445-0

Getty Publications
Imprint: Getty Conservation Institute
Series: Conservation and Cultural Heritage


“Pure Land: Images of Immortals in Chinese Art” at the Ashmolean Museum

LI1301.398 Bodhisattva Guanyin, China, 18th-century, Blanc-de-Chine porcelain, 22 x 16.7 x 14.5 cm, Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust © The University of Sussex

LI1301.398 Bodhisattva Guanyin, China, 18th-century, Blanc-de-Chine porcelain, 22 x 16.7 x 14.5 cm, Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust © The University of Sussex

This wide-ranging exhibition, which includes paintings, textiles and porcelain, takes Chinese immortals and immortality as its theme. With a particular focus on the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha – the Buddha of Infinite Light – the exhibition also explores the worlds of Daoist Immortals and the Queen Mother of the West, all of whom had their mythical homes beyond the boundaries of the mortal world.

The Queen Mother famously makes an appearance in the Ming dynasty novel Monkey (Journey to the West) by Wu Cheng-en (1501-1582), and in this Year of the Monkey the mischievous antics of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, stealing the peaches of immortality from the Queen’s peach garden, are represented in the exhibition by the paintings of Zheng Jiazhen (1918-2000). In his work Zheng is able to cleverly blend the worlds of the cartoon and traditional Chinese painting; here with depictions of the Monkey King as a character in Chinese opera.

Although in the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism other pure lands do exist, for example the Pure Land of the East of the Akshobhya Buddha, it is Amitabha’s Pure Land of the West, Sukhavati, that is the most popular and has received most attention in the world of art and literature. Pure Land is a form of Buddhism often associated with the cave temples at Dunhuang in northwest China and paintings produced as part of a twentieth-century tradition of copying the murals found in these caves are a central theme of the exhibition. Paintings on silk recovered from Cave number 17 (known as the “library cave”) were amongst the thousands of manuscripts that had been secretly stored there over one thousand years ago, and studies of these unique artworks are represented in the exhibition by the work of Hong Kong artists Xing Baozhuang (b.1940) and Rao Zongyi (b.1917).

EA 1987.31 The God of Longevity with attendant, Ren Yi, calligraphy by Wu Changshuo, 1891, ink and colour on paper, 198.3 x 93 cm © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

EA 1987.31 The God of Longevity with attendant, Ren Yi, calligraphy by Wu Changshuo, 1891, ink and colour on paper, 198.3 x 93 cm © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Continue reading