09 January 2011

asian inspiration

Took a large group of students to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco last week. We saw Beyond Golden Clouds a special exhibit of Japanese screens that was exquisite and simply inspirational.

One of my favorites was a dual set of screens by Tosa Mitsuoki: Autumn Maples with Poem Slips (above) was displayed on the left, and on the right, Flowering Cherry with Poem Slips (below).

See them together to get the full effect here on the Art Institute of Chicago site. (Click on View Enlargement ~ it's worth it!)

There were so many incredible paintings and the docent told us some of the wonderful stories behind them. I came away with many new ideas for my Sketchbook Project.

After our tour, we also visited the Japanese wing on the second floor. I was allowed to use my camera there, since the items are part of the permanent collection. These are some of the things I really liked:

 Ceramic flower

 Two six-panel screens
(even though they're not as amazing
as the ones in the special exhibit).
Still, I like the idea of "reading" their story from left to right.

 Classic Lion / Dog statues ~ always fun.
If I'd had time to enter the Asian Heritage Festival poster contest,
I might have proposed one of these guys. Maybe next year...

The flames are awesome.
There are actually two birds in them.

 Head of a Haniwa figure

Love these guys! My dad had these types of primitive statues (Haniwa) on our mantel when I was growing up. It was like seeing old friends to find them in the museum. And look at this huge one with the wonderfully large pantaloons!

We went through the Korean wing on the way out and there were these enormous and gorgeous embroidered textiles hanging there. The photo doesn't even do it justice. I think they're giant chrysanthemums. You'll have to take my word for it that they're much more ethereal in person.

Final favorite are these cute wire hats. How charming it would be to live in a place where people went around wearing these all the time.

Outside the museum, there's a lot to take in. The security guard suggested I make this photo of the museum banner with City Hall in the background.

And I love the building around the corner with its grand proclamation. Since I had students with me, I didn't get to walk over there and see if there really was truth to be found.

Right now, there's also a colossal statue Three Heads Six Arms on display in the Civic Center Plaza. The photos I took of it all have students in them, so I refer you instead to artist Zhang Huan's site in the link above for multiple views of its massive glory. It really does have three heads and six arms.

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