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Asian Splendors January 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts, Culture.
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New museum wing shines on 6,000 years of history

With the opening of the new $9.3 million Lenora and Walter F. Brown Asian Art Wing on Saturday, the San Antonio Museum of Art will become the only place in Texas, in fact, one of the few places between New York and San Francisco, where you can wander through 6,000 years of Asian art history.

Rare Liao Dynasty Chinese ceramics, a specially preserved Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala, superb Japanese painted screens, choice Korean celadon porcelains and a splendid 1,000-year-old sandstone yogini from India are among the treasures of the Far East.

The core of the collection remains the world-renowned Chinese ceramics donated by the Browns, but Blackwelder has worked to expand the museum’s offerings by attracting new collectors and donors, using rarely seen objects from the Museum of Art and the Witte Museum’s permanent collections and supplementing them with loans from institutions such as the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

In addition to the big three, China, India and Japan, the new wing has galleries with works from Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Southeast Asia.

Spread over 15,000 square feet divided into a dozen galleries, the collection features more than 1,400 works in the new second and third floor addition designed by Overland Partners. Located on the museum’s west wing over the antiquities galleries, the addition has been dubbed “The Glow Box.”

Besides a comprehensive overview of Chinese ceramics, showcased in natural light on the top floor, the new wing has scroll paintings, funerary figures, samurai armor and swords, textiles, jade carvings, furniture, Buddhas, musical instruments, lacquer and objects of daily life.

Visitors have a choice of entering the first level on the second floor, beginning with India, where many Asian art forms originated, or starting with the top level on the third floor, which is entirely devoted to China. Beginning with China is probably the best choice for first-time visitors because it is Asia’s most influential culture.

Related Links > http://www.samuseum.org

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