NYT reviews Vietnam exhibition

The New York Times carries a review of the ‘Arts of Ancient Vietnam – From River Plain to Open Sea’, currently exhibiting at the Asia Society Museum in New York.

Ancient Sphere Where Cultures Mingled
New York Times, 04 February 2010

From the moment you enter the galleries you’re seeing things you won’t find anywhere else and certainly not in this combination: a bronze drum as hefty as a hot tub; a wooden Buddha, tall, dark and Giacometti-thin. Avid-eyed Hindu deities keep company with contortionist dancers. A tiny serpent of beaten gold basks in a spotlight. Ceramic plates and bowls crowd a room just as they had once filled the hold of a ship that went down in the South China Sea.

Once you’ve made your way through the society’s suave installation, you’ve seen treasures from 10 Vietnamese museums. You’ve time-traveled from the first millennium B.C. to the 17th century A.D. And you’ve style-traveled through dozens of cultures both inside and outside Vietnam itself.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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