Thursday, November 6, 2008

Visiting the Asian, Choosing a favorite, #2

As for me, I don't think I can choose. I can narrow it down somewhat but even that involves painful choices. Should I choose the gorgeous chunky necklace with huge gold beads separated by pieces of age-blacked ivory? The two fragments of pottery, just every day vessels used for storing olive oil but with delicate Greek writing following the curve of the jug, still bearing the personality of the writer after all these centuries? The gold cup with geometric decorations? The gold crown? How to choose? What to choose? What would you choose?

River Deity standing on a makara , 1st Century. Begram, Ivory (45.6 cm). This exquisite piece just calls to me. The beautifully carved face, the sensual body, the skillful handling of the drapery - she's both an alluring nymph and a Goddess.

This sundial called to me because of the modern feel - ancient but with simplicity that's ageless. It's a piece that would fit in Noguchi's Sculpture Garden where the ancient carver respected his materials and wedded that knowledge with an understanding of both form and function.


I love seal rings and this one is simply exquisite - I know that I'm using that word a lot but there really is no other way to describe it. This tiny seal is carved with a griffon and the stone has the most luminous shine. (Tillia Tepe, tomb V1st century, Chalcedony, 3.1 x 2.8 cm Musée National)


This is another piece of hammered gold where the ancient artisan both understood his materials and the form he wanted to create. The underside of the bowl (which you can see in the case) is as beautiful as the front side. What drew me to this piece was not only its beauty but how this form has been echoed in Islamic pottery for centuries.
Phiale, Tillia tepe, tomb IV, 1st century, Gold, Ø 23.0 cm ; Ht. 4.0 cm Musée National

1 comment:

Zoomie said...

Luckily, we get to ogle them all, so we don't have to choose. But, I like to do the "forced choice," as it makes me contrast and compare and mull over which were most impressive - and why!