Thursday, December 2, 2010

Asian Art at the DAM

The Asian Art gallery at the Denver Art Museum had many beautiful pieces of historic artwork. The Indian art hall contained some of the most dramatic pieces.

By the way, all photographs from the museum on this blog were taken by me with my little point-and-shoot camera, and are in no way accurate representations of the outstanding beauty of this art. If you like what you see here, please plan a visit to the DAM!

Also, I forgot to take notes of several of the items I took pictures of. Case-in-point this item:

I know it's Indian, it has a horse, and I found that I sympathized with the character holding up the front two legs of the horse.

I also found this tapestry piece to be quite intriguing.

Again, a horse. Again, from India. Again, quite old. I want.

This interesting bronze figure is the Hindu god Shiva, from the Chola dynasty, Tamil Nadu, India (from the twelfth century). From the information plate: "The Hindu god Shiva dances the universe into and out of existence. The sound of his drum heralds its creation; his burning flame signals its final conflagration. In his dance, Shiva tramples on the demon of forgetfulness, shown in the form of an infant. The cycle of time—past, present, and future—runs through the circle of flames within which he dances."


This piece is the "famous monkey hero Hanuman" from South India and dates to the 1800's. According to the Hindu epic Ramayana, Hanuman helped the god Rama rescue his abducted wife Sita. Here Hanuman kneels with outstretched arms to show his devotion to Rama.

It was so dramatic I had to edit the background in black. I had no idea monkeys could be so serious.

However, I did go bananas (nyuck nyuck nyuck) over this guardian lion sculpture from 18th century Thailand.

According to the DAM: "The fiery colors and fierce roaring appearance of this massive lion indicate that he was one of the protectors of the temple, whose job it was to frighten away evildoers. "

I think I could use him on the farm to frighten away the possums, along with these gargoyles.

Notice the heads they're standing on? I think these are representative of the migranes caused by having one too many TPS sheets to worry about.

Just say'n.

I really admired this 19th century statue, called a Garuda (half bird, half man) from Bali.

This would make one heck of a scarecrow, oui?

Before my trip to the DAM I would have never known what a mandala was. In 1996 "three monks from Seraje Monastic University in southern India created a Hayagriva mandala at the Denver Art Museum. Hayagriva is regarded as one of the Great Protectors of Buddhism. The abbot of their monastery, Venerable Jampa Tegchhog, offered the sand mandala to the museum 'as a token of spiritual gift and as a basis of blessing and faith for the people of Denver and also to protect the people and environment from disease and natural calamities and evil elements.'"

Usually, when the monks complete the piece, they gather the sand and release it into the river as a way of releasing the prayers captured within the mandala. This is one of the few preserved mandalas in existance.

Of course, no trip to a museum is complete without the obligatory equine-related snapshots!


Hunt Cap (just kidding--obviously some sort of scary-looking helmet thing. I don't know about you, but I think most of my horses wouldn't allow me to get close to them wearing this thing):

Ancient clay horse:

Another ancient clay horse (which to me, looks like the trinket in The Black Stallion):

Glazed horse (which I believe is around 1200 years old?):

Another ancient clay horse:

The spare parts section:

I hope you enjoyed today's tour. Tomorrow will be contemporary art.

And don't worry, folks. It's only a three-hour tour....

A three-hour tour....


smazourek said...

Funny, when I was looking at the mandala I was thinking, "why is that still complete?" and then I kept reading.

I've got some sand from the mandala that the monks made in Washington DC after 9/11. It was an awesome experience watching them make it and then marching down to the waterside to spread the sand.

Jessie McCandless said...

I thought it was incredible--the first time I had ever seen one. If I had been there to see what you had, I think it would have been so emotional and touching. I can't imagine--what a beautiful memory!