Monday, 23 July 2012

Antique Art from China, Tibet and Japan in Prague

The National Gallery in Prague holds an unexpectedly representative collection of Oriental art. Hosted in Kinský Palace right in the city centre, the museum shows a wide range of Asian art objects, including neolithic chinese bronze objects, jades, funery art from China, terracotta statues and horses, buddhist paintings and sculptures from China, Tibet, India, Southeast Asia and Japan, Chinese cinnabar lacquer works, emaille cloisonné objects, chinese and japanese ceramics and porcelains and many many more objects worth a visit.
Surprisingly, the Czech Republic holds one of the largest collections of works from Qi Baishi in the West, including more than one hundred of his paintings housed by the National Gallery in Prague alone. For researchers working on Qi Baishi, the museum in Prague is certainly an important source of information.
The collection of buddhist art contains some impressive pieces. One of the most striking figures is a large wooden depiction of Luohan Kashyapa. The figure dates back to 10/11th century, Liao dynasty, China. It is 99cm high and is believed to be one figure of a buddhist trias from an temple in that time China. Kashyapa would have been placed at the right side of the buddha accompanied by Ananda on the Buddha´s left. Given the fact, that this figure is a wooden artwork with about one thousand years of age, this piece is really impressive!
Interesting for collectors of antique buddhist figures, there are a few examples of early buddhist sculpture exhibited, resuming the styles of Northern Wei dynasty, around 500 A.D. These small bronze figures, sometimes with traces of gilding, are beautiful examples of stylistic transformations at that time, when Buddhism was just spreading around Silk Road reaching north and far eastern Asia.
Permanent exhibition of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Mediterranean from the Collections of the National Gallery in Prague and the National Museum. „The Art of the Old World“, Kinský Palace Prague, listed in VCM – Virtual Collection of Masterpices.
Go to the museum´s website: Collection of Oriental Art of the National Gallery in Prague
(Pictures courtesy of National Gallery in Prague)

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