Asia Week’s Rare and Unusual Objects for Art Lovers and Collectors

Asia Week’s Rare and Unusual Objects for Art Lovers and Collectors



Long Life deity floats against a background of a thousand-odd tiny doppelgängers in “Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting” at the Asia Society.

Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art

Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting” is on view here through May 20. When the scholar and Himalayan adventurer Giuseppe Tucci was exploring the Tibetan plateau between the World Wars, traditional culture was already disappearing quickly. More than 60 years after China’s invasion, it evokes a strange mix of feelings to file past enormous prints of the anthropological documentation by the five photographers he brought along: It’s both painful and reassuring to think how easily physical artifacts can outlast the cultures that make them.

Tucci also collected prints, maps, manuscripts, and hundreds of religious paintings. A gorgeous red and black Long Life deity floats against a background of a thousand-odd tiny doppelgängers, most of them in a grid, but a few of which float across his knee and under his arm. Fourteen 17th-century paintings of arhats are vividly realized and still brightly colored, impressive syntheses of individual detail and intense formal stylization. Their mossy green backgrounds double as realistic mountainscapes and hallucinogenic cloudscapes. Once you’ve settled back to earth, pop upstairs to In Focus: An Assembly of Gods,through March 25, an entertaining early 19th-century colored ink painting that captures the Chinese tendency to religious syncretism in one hyperbolic pantheon of divinities from Shakyamuni Buddha and the Jade Emperor down to the five animal-headed Commissioners of Pestilence. 725 Park Avenue; 212-288-6400;



Stoneware by Wada Morihiro at Joan B Mirviss.

Richard Goodbody

Several angular pots by Wada Morihiro (1944-2008), one of the three major 20th-century Japanese ceramic artists to which her current show is dedicated, are on compact but extraordinary display at Joan B Mirviss, incised with complex patterns and painted in a striking combination of black, white and red slip accented with green glaze. 39 East 78th Street, suite 401; 212-799-4021;

The highlight of the mirror-themed show of woodblock prints at Scholten Japanese Art is a group of elegant women primping by Ito Shinsui, one of several Taisho-era artists to revive the use of glittering powdered mica as a pigment. 145 West 58th Street, suite 6D; 212-585-0474;

Flat jade discs called bi were a staple of Chinese ritual art for most of its history, but the two notched triskelions in the ancient jade show at J.J. Lally & Co. Oriental Art, both nearly five millenia old, are much more unusual. 41 East 57th Street, 212-371-3380;

If you missed the spectacular show of Japanese bamboo at the Met, TAI Bamboo Art, visiting from Santa Fe at Jason Jacques, has a brief recap which includes two quietly unforgettable baskets — one with a sharply angled skirt, the other with an extra-long handle — by Hayakawa Shokosai V. 29 East 73rd Street, 212-535-7500;

The winsome group of celadons, or vessels with a green, iron-based glaze, assembled by the ceramics dealer Eric Zetterquist, includes a gorgeous, gourd-shaped 11th-century Korean vase. Ask to see the back, where a modern Japanese owner filled in some unfortunate cracks with lacquer and powdered gold (kintsugi). 3 East 66th Street, #1B; 212-751-0650;

A show of abstract ink drawings by the contemporary Taiwanese calligrapher Huang I-Ming at M. Sutherland Fine Arts vividly demonstrates at large scale the unlimited textural and tonal possibilities of black ink on white paper. 7 East 74th Street, 3 fl.; 212-249-0428;

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