Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Asia Week this year, 2008

One of a pair of spectacular handles from a tomb.
Bronze, inlaid with silver and gold, these date to the Eastern Chou Period,
ca. 500-700 B.C. Apr. 10 inches in total length.
Chystian Deydier, Paris.

Unfortunately at many of the exhibitions of Asia Week, I was not allowed to take my own photographs, and nowhere on the web were others available. This was one of the only ones I could crib from the web, a detail of a pair of beautiful pull handles from the Eastern Chou Dynasty. Probably from the ends of a lacquered wood coffin, this is of bronze inlaid with silver and gold, and of beautiful design. At his boot in the Asian Fair, no longer at the Armory on 67th and Park, this year it was held at a church at 583 Park Ave. Strange quarters for this type of fair, Christian Deydier's booth made up for the oddness with some spectacular objects. My favorite of his offerings was a bronze mirror with a back inlaid with gold and silver in an intertwined dragon design reminiscent of the Book of Kells. Sadly, I cannot illustrate it here, no photographs allowed, and none available online.

Of course the best exhibitions belonged to Gisele Croese, at Nora Haime Gallery at 32 E. 57th St., my old building, the Fuller building, and Carlton Rochelle, also in the same building. Sadly, nothing on the web to illustrate the wonders on exhibit, and no photography. However, Gisele did publish a catalogue, from which I have cribbed images of the best object I saw this week; a nearly three foot tall bronze stand, of which I could only capture the top and a detail of the base. Suffice it to say the entire piece is breathtakingly beautiful, really psychedelic imagery in bronze, gold, and silver inlay. Let the pictures speak:

This is the top of the stand, which dates to the Late Warring States Period, about 400 BC.
Such stands could have held incense burners, or a drum, hard to know, but in this case it is in the form of three dragon heads, coming from a common stem. So amazingly fierce, and the supports above their heads, like elk horns.

Here is a detail of the base, like a trumpet end, only sitting on the ground, inlaid in silver with these fantastic dragons intertwined, again like the book of Kells. Stupendous example of Warring States imagery; a culmination of the Animal Style, the best of the best in craftsmanship and imagery.

I do not know how Gisele does it year after year, but she does; the best and most beautiful Archaic Chinese objects on the market.

On a different note, Rossi & Rossi from London at Neuhoff Gallery in the Fuller building again, had an incredible exhibit of Tibetan Tantric carpets. Amazing imagery, below is a tamer example of one of them. Others had naked aesthetics flayed with pudenda hanging down, others of flayed bodies with organs and bones scattered about, really amazing images. It is a type of carpet that one rarely sees more than one of at a time, and there were over a dozen on display.

Here is one of the carpets, a elephant tiger hybrid, flayed and spread out for the aesthetic to pray on. Peaceful, isn't it?

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