via The Antiquities Coalition Blog: The first of a four-part story on the case of a New York art dealer’s arrest and her part in the looted antiquities trade.
This is the first of a four-part series that will recap the ongoing case of Nancy Wiener’s arrest for antiquities trafficking in the run-up to Asia Week 2018, held March 15-24 in New York.
Source: Recapping New York v. Nancy Wiener – The Antiquities Coalition Blog
The New York Times’ review of the Philippine Gold exhibition at the Asia Society.
Gold image of a female with upraised hands. Source: New York Times, 24 September 2015
Review: ‘Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms’
New York Times, 24 September 2015
More than half a millennium before Ferdinand Magellan reached the archipelago now called the Philippines in 1521, a number of related societies thrived there. Little is known about them. They left no enduring architecture, monuments or literature. One thing is certain, however: They were astoundingly skillful goldsmiths.
The star of the show and the biggest piece is a gleaming sash that could be mistaken for a futuristic ammunition belt. Made of myriad gold beads, it’s designed to be worn over one shoulder, across the chest and to the hip where one end threads through a loop and concludes with the setting for a now lost finial. Nearly five feet long and square sectioned (about an inch on a side), it weighs about nine pounds.
Another striking piece, called a kamagi, consists of 12 necklaces strung together into a nearly 15-foot-long chain punctuated by small, colored stones. The individual necklaces are composed of smooth, interlocking beads that combine to form flexible, snakelike lengths of gold.
Full story here.
A trove of Philippine gold from Butuan province, usually on display at the Ayala Museum in the Philippines, will be exhibited at the Asia Society in New York from this September to January next year. Having seen them before I must say the gold pieces are quite exquisite, but it is a pity there is very little contextual information to them.
Ancient PH gold exhibit heads to New York
By Jobers Bersales (Inquirer Philippines) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
ABS-CBN News, 15 July 2015
About 120 gold artifacts mostly from the golden age of Butuan, a city in the Southern Philippines, will be on display at the Asia Society Museum in New York beginning September 11.
Ancient Filipinos in Kingdom of Butuan had a sophisticated culture with a fine taste for handcrafted gold items during the 10th and 11th centuries.
“The Filipinos, before they were called Filipino, were making beautiful, artistic, exquisite jewelry from gold. So it’s like King Tut of Egypt being discovered and coming to the Metropolitan Museum. Everybody went to see it. This is our King Tut,” said Community leader and philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis.
Organizers of “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms” were recently at the Philippine Consulate in New York to promote the exhibit.
“We are aiming for spectacular, not just a special this fall,” Tom Nagorski, executive vice president of Asia Society said.
Full story here.
The treasure trove of disgraced antiques dealer Subhash Kapoor was seized by the authorities in New York and the list of antiquities recovered were made public. Among them are a number of Cambodian and Thai artefacts, amounting to millions of dollars in value.
New York Authorities Seek Custody of Stolen Artifacts Worth Over $100 Million
New York Times, 14 April 2015
Major US Seizure Included Cambodian Artifacts
Cambodia Daily, 16 April 2015
At least $3 million worth of Cambodian artifacts are part of a massive cache of smuggled antiquities that have been seized by New York authorities after being smuggled into the U.S. by an art dealer, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
After a two-yearlong investigation into the assets of New York City art dealer Subhash Kapoor, the Manhattan district attorney’s office on Tuesday asked a judge for permission to take custody of 2,622 relics worth more than $100 million that were stolen from various Asian countries, the Times reported.
The relics were confiscated from six of the art dealer’s galleries and storage spaces in a series of raids that began in 2012 known as “Operation Hidden Idol.” Altogether, the pieces uncovered during the raids represent the largest art seizure in U.S. history, according to the Times.
The cache includes several major Cambodian artifacts, including a $1.2-million Naga statue found in Mr. Kapoor’s Art of the Past gallery on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, according to court documents released by the newspaper.
Full stories here and here.
A profile of Dr John Guy, curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
John Guy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Source: The Hindu 20150214
A detective across centuries
The Hindu, 14 February 2015
The remarkable object on the screen is one of these clues — a yupa stone found in Eastern Borneo that dates back to the fourth century AD. The Sanskrit inscription describes the sacrifices performed by a local king called Mulawarman. “The inscription is in grammatical, perfectly good Sanskrit,” says John Guy, while delivering the Vasant J. Sheth Memorial Lecture during which he uses antiquities to offer a glimpse into the world of the intrepid Tamil traders who ruled the waves before the Gujarati merchants arrived on the scene.
“The Sanskrit inscriptions indicate that local rulers in Southeast Asia employed South Indian Brahmins as advisors and counsellors. The Brahmins were the mechanisms through which the inscriptions and objects of Vedic ritual landed up in these improbable, remote places. There was clearly an Indian presence in Southeast Asia, not just of ideas and religion but of people as well.”
John Guy should know. He is the curator of the Arts of South and South East Asia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Besides building collections and organising blockbuster exhibitions, he acts as a detective across centuries. “I try to reconnect an object with its forgotten history,” he says, pointing out that sometimes all that remains of kingdoms and cultures are a handful of coins and seals, or a few crumbling sculptures. “We can read the past only on the basis of what has survived.”
Full story here.
A feature on the Myanmar art exhibiton at the Asia Society in New York. Article has images of more artefacts.
19th century food cover. Source: NBC News 20150210
Museum Curators Build Trust to Host First Myanmar Art in U.S.
NBC News, 10 February 2015
For the first time, a series of sacred art pieces from Myanmar will be displayed in the U.S. at New York’s Asia Society Museum. Buddhist Art of Myanmar runs from February 10 through May 10 and showcases 70 pieces made from stone, bronze and lacquered wood, along with textiles, paintings and pieces used in rituals from the fifth through the twentieth century. Josette Sheeran, president and CEO of Asia Society says that the exhibit personifies an, “extraordinary moment in art and diplomacy.”
Myanmar, also known as “Burma,” has a lengthy history of colonization – the British controlled the country until 1948. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, and is home to many different faiths including Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. The exhibit is a “reflection of the extraordinary impact of Buddhism,” said Kevin Rudd, president of the society’s Policy Institute and the former prime minister of Australia. At 90 percent, Buddhists make up the largest portion of the population in Myanmar.
Full story here.
The Asia Society plays host to Buddhist art from Myanmar starting from next month.
Gu Byauk Gyi pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar. source: Mizzima 20150108
Myanmar Buddhist art set for New York exhibition
Mizzima, 08 January 2015
Lost Kingdoms is reviewed by the Huffington Post, with a images of a selection of artefacts.
Source: Huffington Post 20140504
‘Lost Kingdoms’ At The Metropolitan Museum Exhibits Hindu, Buddhist Sculptures Of The First Millennium
Huffington Post, 04 May 2014
An LA Times review of the ancient Vietnam exhibition currently on at the Asia Society Museum in New York.
‘Arts of Ancient Viet Nam’
LA Times, 21 February 2010