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Denver Art Museum (missed class)

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Denver Art Museum (missed class)

At the end of March I was able to visit the Denver Art Museum, which has an incredible permanent display of Asian art. At the museum there were also several temporary exhibits for Japanese Lacquer, which often is the use of sap, and also another exhibit showing Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Bamboo Carvings. Much of the artwork from Japan done using lacquer incorporated elements of nature including animals, plants, and landscapes. Many of the bamboo carvings focused on people of varying social classes.
After viewing several floors of Asian art, mostly Chinese and Japanese art work I was very impressed with the number of artistic pieces on display. It really made me question where a lot of this work came from. After doing some research I found that many of the pieces where actually donated by one family and the same family has continued to add to the collection over the course of not just decades, but also over the course of several generations in the family.
I also started to notice there were very clear collections of a certain mediums used in the artistic work and also the images that were being portrayed. For example, much of the art work was done using mediums such as clay, wood, and metals. Most of the work involving clay often was pottery and realistic daily use items such as bowls and pitchers. There were also various statues mostly of people representing more of a warrior class as opposed to working class of people. Much of the work done on wood represented the people of the working class, both men and women, not necessarily showing upper the class or warrior classes. In addition, some of the artistic work done in metal was generally religious in nature, mostly Buddhist. There was also a temporary exhibit for Japanese Lacquer mostly focused on nature.
I started to think about whether or not the pattern that I am noticing in mediums used and the images represented are something that occurs in all Asian art. I cannot imagine that this would be left up to coincidence. A great insight as mentioned in class could be the accessibility of various materials based on social standing or location. I know that museums try to find cohesion in collections and exhibits and I am now very curious to visit many more museums and see if I come up with the same conclusions.
edited by slemburg on 4/16/2015