If you are not a football fan, there are many delightful ways to spend Sunday. Instead of being glued to your TV set, watching sets of grown men, pumped up with steroids and padded into behemoth tanks chase a tiny ball around a muddy field, try some of the following at the Asian Art Museum (and it's a free Sunday!). Celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Ox at the Asian Art Museum with free admission to a whole series of events from Chinese classical dance and music to a storytelling tour of the galleries.
Then, be sure to check out the small but exquisite exhibit of the Islamic cultures of Asia. This exhibition of approximately sixty paintings, manuscripts, ceramics, textiles, metal wares, historic photographs, and even puppets highlights their superb artistic traditions. My only criticism is that I wished for more historical information on the manuscripts. For instance, I would have loved to read translations of the poetry and an explanation of the various calligraphic styles. Since I am a calligrapher, I am fascinated by the calligraphy of different countries and the manuscripts were in obviously different styles - from script that must have been written with a one-haired brush to other ones that were bolder and more stylized. But it's a small quibble; go and be amazed at the skill and the beauty.
AND then, if you still have the energy, watch the ongoing demonstrations of Japanese Bamboo arts (Thursdays through Sundays, January 29 through February 8, 2009 from 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm, North Court). The third floor of the museum has a small but perfect display of bamboo baskets.
If you walk down the corridor a bit, you come to one of the most overlooked parts of the museum. The piece is easy to miss as it's in back of a partial wall, at the entrance to one of the bridges linking two wings of the museum. The wall creates a rectangular alcove and in the middle of this alcove is a simple, rough black rock sculpture with a shinning surface. The surface is not glass or polished rock but is created by water, slowly pumped through a hidden opening. I always sit at the wooden bench build into one end of the small room and breathe in peace.