Thursday, August 17, 2017

Asian Art Researcher Alicia James :: Around The World From 80 Countries

During the past year, the Benton County Historical Museum has been fortunate to have Alicia James volunteering in the collections department.  Alicia has a masters' degree in Art History and has completed course work for her doctorate.  Her area of specialization is Asian art, with a focus on the art of Tibet and the influence of Buddhism and indigenous religions.  She has been examining some of the museums many Asian artifacts. When I asked her what some of her favorite objects were, she mentioned two in addition to the Der Ling opera costume shown in my last post.

One she liked for the realism and level of detail is this painted silk scroll of an official of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).  He is seated on chair draped with a tiger skin and is wearing a dragon and cloud brocade gown.  The mandarin badge (light blue square) on his overcoat depicts a qilin, which indicates someone of the first rank in the military.  A qilin is a mythical Chinese creature with the body of an oxen or deer covered in scales, with a head like a dragon with one or two horns. Some have called it the Chinese unicorn.  The peacock feather in his cap would have been bestowed by the emperor for some extraordinary feat.
The second object she mentioned is this Ming dynasty (1368-1644) cast bronze statue.  It depicts the Medicine Buddha or Buddha of healing. He is seated in the lotus position on a double-lotus throne.  In China, the lotus is a symbol of beauty, purity, and spiritual perfection. In his right hand is the stem of a medicinal aruna fruit. A translation of the inscription on the back says that it was made by the Stone Buddha Temple in the fourteenth year of the reign of Hung-chih (1502).

Chinese Buddhists recite the Medicine Buddha mantra to ease sickness, both mental and physical.
By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon

No comments:

Post a Comment