The Courtauld Institute of Art Events Calendar
When and Where:
Friday 8 November 2013
18.00-19.00, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre
Modern reproductions of Buddhist sculpture for sale at an antiquities market in Beijing. Photo: Judith Farquhar
Sculpture as we know it did not exist in China. Stone stele and figural objects were produced in abundance for commemorative and religious functions. But these objects were not collected and displayed as sculpture. This lecture will discuss the emergence of Chinese sculpture as two parallel developments. In China from as early as the eighteenth century ancient Buddhist and Daoist images were preserved as antiquities. By the mid-nineteenth century small Buddhist and Daoist images were available in the Chinese antiquities market and were being acquired by private collectors. Foreign residents and visitors to China were unaware of such antiquities and as late as 1904 writers on Chinese art could declare that China had no tradition of monumental sculpture. It was only in 1906 that Okakura Kakuzo acquired the first significant group of Buddhist and Daoist images for a foreign collection, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. These were imagined as sculpture in the context of the fine art museum. Interestingly, the majority of Chinese images known from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are not genuinely ancient. Many are pious copies based on ancient styles; others are old but restored at a later date, many in the Ming dynasty. Other images are modern works, new votive works as well as forgeries for profit. The whole range of objects from old and rare antiquities to pious copies and restored works to modern productions were not easily distinguishable. Some were imagined as religious objects, some as antiquities, and others as sculpture.
The Japan Times
19 September, 2013
For several years artist Koshi Kawachi has been putting a favorite children’s snack called “umaibo” to an unusual use — sculpting the puffed corn sticks into little statues of the Buddha.
At his home in Tokyo he has 107 of these “Umaibutsu” (“Tasty Buddha”) under a glass case.
Kawachi sculpted these five years ago. The number is one short of the 108 earthly desires of Buddhism, and although he continues to create the final piece, he says he always yields to greed and ends up eating it.
The 40-year-old artist models the statues on those crafted by Enku, a monk and sculptor from the Edo Period known for creating wooden Buddha statues with humorous expressions. Continue reading
Posted in Japan
Tagged Humor, Sculpture
24 Jun 2013
In the 6th century, Japan was torn between warring factions, each struggling to unify the country under its rule. A great chieftain, Soga no Iname, ultimately led the Soga clan to become the most powerful of the many warring families in that era, and unified Japan under the figureheads he placed in power.
Seeking an advantage over his rival Monotobe and Nakatomi clans, Soga no Iname introduced a new state ideology, a fusion of Confucianism and the new religion of Buddhism, into the Japanese political and social landscape. This led eventually to the installation of Prince Shotoku as Japan’s ruler, who in turn promulgated the famous “constitution” of Japan, a skilled blend of Confucian and Buddhist feudal ideology that placed emphasis on social harmony in the form of obedience by all members of society to their sovereign. Continue reading
Posted in China, Japan
The Huffington Post
12 July, 2013
A young boy in Buryatia, near Lake Baikal in Siberia, hears the tales of his people and Buddhist and Shaman cultures. He is surrounded by nature, far from cities and works with the elders, helps with shepherding and hunting. After being educated at a boarding school, he is accepted to the Krasnoyarsk State Institute of Art and learns to transform his youth’s experience of landscape, tradition and cultures into drawings and later sculptures. He finds an artistic language that weaves his experiences and traditions together with an unmistakable style. The world takes notice of his sculptures, drawings and jewelry creations.
Years later he, of Mongol background, creates one of his most important works, a sculpture of historic and mythic figure Genghis Khan. It is erected at Marble Arch in London to rave reviews. The artist is being described as a phenomenon, connecting mythology, history and the modern spirit. And a year later the largest exhibition of his works in the United States to date, “The Nomad: Memory of the Future” comes to New York and is currently on view at the National Arts Club. It is highly recommended to go and see it. Due to popular demand, it is being extended through the end of July. Continue reading
8 July, 2013
Sculptor and Artist Dashi Namdakov
NEW YORK—The largest exhibition in the United States of works by Dashi Namdakov, a renowned Buryat-born artist and sculptor, The Nomad: Memory of the Future, has been extended through July 28. Curated by Marina Kovalyov, the exhibition is on view at the National Arts Club and features over 60 pieces including bronze sculptures, graphic art and jewelry. The exhibition showcases the artist’s extraordinary craftsmanship and highly original style, which blends visual art traditions and techniques of the East and the West.
“Dashi Namdakov is without question a phenomenon in art: not only Buryat or Russian art—and not only modern art—but art as a whole, regardless of time or place,” states Elena F. Korolkova, Senior Researcher and Curator at the State Hermitage, “His style is inimitable; his feeling for form, plasticity and motion, and the sense of harmony embodied in his works is faultless and at the same time absolutely original.” Continue reading