Ornament and Illusion is the first monographic exhibition dedicated to Renaissance painter Carlo Crivelli in the United States. The Gardner’s newly conserved Saint George Slaying the Dragon is the touchstone for a two-part installation. The first reunites four of six surviving panels from Crivelli’s Porto San Giorgio altarpiece, of which the Gardner painting is a fragment. The second features 20 of Crivelli’s most important works from Europe and the U.S. Together, they will introduce visitors to the artist’s repertoire of dazzling pictorial effects, and refine each encounter with his bravura illusionism.
Minutely detailed and saturated with philosophical meaning, these works (most often paintings or sculptures) are a feast for the eyes and the mind—nested squares and circles are arrayed to represent the center of the cosmos and the four cardinal directions. For Buddhist practitioners, however, mandalas are not just images to view, but worlds to enter—after recreating the image in their mind’s eye, meditators imaginatively enter its realm.But is it possible to have this experience without years of meditative discipline?
Enter the Mandala says yes. In this exhibition, 14th-century paintings align a gallery with the cardinal directions, transforming open space into an architectural mandala—a chance to experience the images in three dimensions, to dwell in the midst of the cosmic symbols and be transported to another world. Visitors can literally “enter the mandala,” exploring places in the cosmos—and perhaps themselves—that might otherwise remain invisible. “
“Archaeologists have discovered more than 1,000 ancient Buddha statues in three stone caves on a cliff-face in Yangqu County, in north China’s Shanxi Province, according to a report in China.org.cn. Although official dating has not yet been carried out, it is believed that the statues date back to the Ming Dynasty.
The Ming dynasty, was the ruling dynasty of China for 276 years (1368–1644 AD) following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming, described by some as “one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history”, was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. The creation of stone Buddha statues reached its peak during the period from the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), so it is rare to find stone Buddha statues from the Ming Dynasty.
According to traditional accounts, Buddhism was introduced in China during the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) after an emperor dreamed of a flying golden man thought to be the Buddha. Although the archaeological record confirms that Buddhism was introduced sometime during the Han dynasty, it did not flourish in China until the Six Dynasties period (220-589 AD). The year 67 CE saw Buddhism’s official introduction to China with the coming of the two monks Moton and Chufarlan.
The latest finding including stone statues carved into the cave walls and measuring 12 to 25 centimetres long, said Yang Jifu, director of the county’s cultural heritage tourism bureau. Yang said two of the caves had been restored in the Ming Dynasty, according to the record on two steles in the caves. . . . .”
A 15th-century ceramic cup from the Ming Dynasty will be included in a Sotheby’s (BID) auction next month in Hong Kong, after the seller retracted an earlier decision to pull the sale.
The cup, valued at HK$200 million ($26 million) to HK$300 million, will be offered at Sotheby’s on April 8, according to Nicolas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia and International Head of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art.
The seller, a Swiss collector in his nineties who had earlier asked to pull the cup from the sale, changed his mind, said Giuseppe Eskenazi, who originally sold the piece to the collector in 2000 and is advising the seller.
The cup was promoted in a March 6 press release by Sotheby’s as a “potential record breaker” and is considered the finest piece of Chinese ceramics in private hands. It comes from the Meiyintang Collection, whose owner has vacillated over selling it, said Eskenazi, a London-based dealer who originally sold the piece to him in 2000.
“It’s such a great treasure, he didn’t want to part with it as he treasured it so much,” Eskenazi, who helped the seller place pieces with Sotheby’s before, said by telephone today. “But finally, he agreed a few hours ago to go ahead.”
Eskenazi, who bought the cup for almost HK$30 million in 1999, sold it one year later to its present owner.
“This is the most valuable piece of porcelain in any private collection,” he said.
The cup, made for the Chenghua emperor (1465-1487) is considered the most rare of Chinese ceramics and may set an auction record, according to the Sotheby’s press release. It has been nicknamed the “Chicken Cup” because it depicts a rooster, his hen and their chicks, an allegorical representation of the emperor, the empress and their subjects.
“We are very excited to present this in the sale,” Chow said by telephone. “It is the single most expensive, single most sought after Chinese porcelain ever offered at auction.”
The “Chicken Cup” is only 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) in diameter, delicate and dainty, . . . .