The Dancing Pelican, 1: Himalayan Peeks, 1 March 2024

March 27, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

 

        Often it happens that an achingly early flight does not align with hotel room access at one's destination.  So it was with us when we went to north Florida for HL's Birthday.  You, my patient Readers, know that I am the one who insists on leaving town for  our natal anniversaries.  HL did not object, though he may have experienced some misgivings while we waited on the car rental line at Jacksonville airport.  Eventually, we claimed our sedan and turned towards Gainesville. 

       Gainesville lies about 70 miles from Jacksonville, via roads that meander southwest through forests of pine and live oak.  Curtains of Spanish Moss hang from the oaks' boughs, rendering the woods mysterious on even the brightest days.  HL suggested that we visit the University of Florida's art museum before checking into our hotel.   He had read that there was a temporary exhibit of Himalayan artworks there.  Though we had been in Gainesville a few years ago, it was a long time since I had been on the university campus.  So the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, opened in 1990, was new to both of us.    

         We were greeted by Esterio Segura's Hybridization of a Chrysler.  It did not require much imagination to interpret the contemporary Cuban sculptor's addition of aircraft wings to a 1953 automobile as a desire for flight, both physical and imaginative. 

 

 

       We were delighted to learn that the featured exhibit was a collection from the Rubin Museum of Himalyan Art, in New York.  The Rubin Museum, on West 17th Street, was one of our favorite places in The City.

 

 

The Harn is spacious, modern and spare, with ample room for acquisitions in the Asian wing that was added in 2012.

This thangka, a Tibetan Buddhist religious painting, was displayed with its traditional mounting.

Classical Himalayan painters prepare their rich pigments from ground minerals, some of them semi-precious.

This gilt-copper flying naga figure was made in Tibet or Nepal in the 14th Century.

Nagas are semi-divine, serpentine beings that appear often in decorative art. 

 

       Some of the pieces were familiar to me.  Wonderful as it was to see them in this unexpected setting, the Himalayan paintings, sculptures and ritual objects on loan were not all that the Harn Museum had to offer...

 

 

 


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