Stunning Works From the Rubin Museum of Art Collection

New York, N.Y.  A new installation of masterworks representing the diversity of artistic achievements  across the full arc of the Himalayas will open at the Rubin Museum on March 11, 2011.

Together  with the museum’s new introductory exhibition Gateway to Himalayan Art, the installation will  provide visitors with different pathways for appreciating the art from this region and allow them  to more deeply engage with the art on view throughout the museum’s six floors of galleries.

Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection will remain on view for five years, serving as a vital  reference point for the museum’s diverse exhibitions””ranging from Mirror of the Buddha: Early Painted Portraits from Tibet to Hero, Villain, Yeti: Tibet in Comics””which are all rooted in the  fundamentals of Himalayan art.

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Mask of Begtse,  Mongolia; 19th century,  Papier-maxhe, coral,
metal, fabric (Rubin Museum of Art).

The exhibition is organized geographically, setting the diverse regional traditions of West Tibet,  Central Tibet, East Tibet and Bhutan in relation to the neighboring areas of India, Kashmir,  Nepal, China, and Mongolia. Visitors can explore the major strands of the development of  Himalayan art, covering a period of over one thousand years, as well as some regional artistic  traditions in their wider cultural, geographic, historical, and stylistic interrelationships. For  example, artistic traditions of Nepal and South-Central Tibet are juxtaposed with distinct early  Tibetan examples. East Tibetan artistic traditions are similarly contrasted with artistic traditions  of China and Mongolia.

Over the next five years, Masterworks will include representations of a wide range of Buddhist  and Hindu deities, rendered in all major media including stone, metal, wood, ground mineral  pigments on cloth, paper, appliqué, ivory, silk, ink, and papier-mâché. An inscribed metalwork  lion throne from Karakorum Highway (now in northern Pakistan) is the exhibition’s earliest  work, dating to the early 7th century. Works from the 9th through 19th centuries will also be on  view.

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Lama (Teacher), Paltsug Gyatso (c. 1567-1630)Tibet; 15th century,
Pigments on cloth (Rubin Museum of Art).

Life-size facsimiles of an entire sequence of murals from the Lukhang, the Dalai Lamas’ Secret  Temple near the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, provide an exceptional opportunity for viewing  Himalayan art at its most lavish. The original 18th century wall paintings””inaccessible to the  public until the late 20th century””uniquely depict the most esoteric of meditation and yoga  practices in vivid color and detail. Created with new photographic methods by Thomas Laird and  Clint Clemens, this display of large-format, high resolution pigment prints allows for even better  access to the paintings than is possible in the temple itself. Their presentation at the Rubin marks  the first showing in the world of prints created using this technology, and also provides the first  ever opportunity outside Tibet to view life-size Tibetan murals in their relationship to portable art  from the region.

Masterworks will also highlight the museum’s most notable recent acquisitions, all of which have  rarely or never before been exhibited. Works of particular note on view during the first year of the  exhibition include an immensely dense and colorful scroll painting of a group of protective deities  from the 18th century; one of the few known large coral-studded masks from Mongolia in the  world; and a recently restored embroidered image of Vajrapani that represents a unique image-making technique perfected by Tibetan Buddhist teachers under the lavish patronage of the  Chinese court.
Masterwork4
The Elephant-Headed God, Lord of Hosts, Ganapati Tibet; 17th century;
Gilt copper alloy with inlays of turquoise and pigment(Rubin Museum of Art).

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The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org). There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.