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Volume 39 – Number 8

Nov/Dec 2008
 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Finials
Warring States period, 3rd century BCE
Gilt bronze and glass
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
(Photography by John Lamberton) 

Our November/December issue focuses on aspects of the Chinese collection at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, as well as two leading figures in its development. Under the guidance of the present director, Marc Wilson, the facilities have been greatly expanded and the installations reassessed to meet the needs of today’s audience. Jason Steuber interviews him about his vision for the museum, while Thomas Lawton explores the career of former curator and director Laurence Sickman, who played a major role in establishing the collection.
 
The museum houses a significant group of bronzes; Guolong Lai shows how two tureens expose different approaches to collecting and Colin Mackenzie looks at the shift in appreciation for elaborate decoration and design in three sets of gilt-bronze fittings. Amy McNair considers how several sculptures from the collection reveal the perceived need to preserve, defend and promote Buddhism in 6th century China, while following a detailed examination, Jonathan Hay argues for the early attribution of the much-discussed painting Travellers in Snow-Covered Mountains.
 
Through a Zhende period thangka in the museum, Marsha Weidner traces the transmission of the Vaishravana cult to China and reflects on his varied iconography. James Watt discusses two of the collection’s 16th century lacquers and the identifying characteristics of works from China and the Ryukyu islands.
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