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pre-2011 museum resources

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Message from losa

What about museum resources for thos of us that live far away from the big city?

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Message from hlee

I really enjoyed the variety of medium represented in this exhibit, from stitch work to giant blow up Buddha lying in the middle of the exhibit hall. What about all the great installation arts? My favorite was the free range graphic on screen by Louis Fox, with rotating images of water lily inside a little window carved on a stone Buddha, water lily inside a beast, water lily inside a warrior, etc., suggesting that “all beings by nature have Buddha (seed of purity represented by water lily) in his continuum”. If you stay long enough to watch the whole video, you will be taken back to the original image of the Buddha, and the water lily will turn to bright light (suggestive of illumination). It was as if going through the process of illumination myself. [Edit by="hlee on Aug 20, 12:11:44 PM"][/Edit]

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I visited the Wing Luke Asian American Museum in Seattle this past week. There was a special exhibition called “These Walls can Speak”, tracing the history of Asian Americans around the area dating back to the 1880s, via three historic buildings in the International District (China Town and Nihonmachi –Japan Town). The exhibition features Kong-Yick Buildings, Higo and The Eastern Hotel, all of which are still standing within the International District just outside the museum. This exhibition is a “unique melding of history, personal testimonies and artifacts, linking the past, present and future of an evolving neighborhood filled with rich stories” The exhibition gives you an insight into Asian immigrant life back in the early 1900s , and the interactions between the Japanese-American, Chinese American and Filipino American communities living in the same neighborhood. The pictures and artifacts are accompanied by beautiful poems by Ronald Antonio, which transports you back in time to walk among the ghosts of Asian immigrants who occupied these buildings long time ago. I found this exhibition to be very interactive in that it prompts the viewer’s emotional involvement with the everyday life of Asian immigrants within these buildings. This exhibit is on view until December 11, 2006.

One of the permanent exhibitions in this museum is a replica of a Japanese internment camp at Camp Harmony. The way it’s set up is very similar to the exhibitions at the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles. One can view the camp and it’s artifacts from inside and out while listening to recorded first hand account interviews. Along the periphery of the camp are newspaper clippings during WWII, which demonstrates the general American public feelings about Japanese Americans during that time.

This museum is definitely worth a visit when you’re out in Seattle.
www.wingluke.org[Edit by="hlee on Aug 20, 4:06:46 PM"][/Edit]

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Message from hlee

The Seattle Asian Art Museum has about 200 Buddhist Art from China, Korea, Japan, India, Tibet, Thailand and Vietnam in its permanent collection, of which approximately 100 are currently on display under the title Discovering Buddhist Art. From manuscripts, ritual objects, paintings to Buddha statues, the exhibit illustrates the spectacular development of Buddhist arts from India to other parts of Asia. It traces the influence of indigenous artistic styles and materials over 2,200 years. I found the details and sizes of the portable shrines from different Asian countries especially remarkable.

There is also a collection of beautiful bamboo baskets and flower vases from Meiji Japan, bowls and stone wares from 14th-15th century Thailand, plates and teapots from 15th century Vietnam.

There are also two special exhibitions by contemporary Asian artists on view until October of 2006.
The photography exhibit by a Korean-American photographer Johsel Nam Kung displays large scale nature pictures of the North West and the Mountains of Korea. The pictures are reminiscent of Ansel Adams pictures.
The video installation called Tooba (Tree) by an Iranian-born artist Shirin- neshat explores the themes of women and islam. The black and white two screen video shows an image of a woman slowly (very slowly) being transformed into a tree, which is an image originating from Koran.

For more information, visit the museum website at:


http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/visitSAAM.asp[Edit by="hlee on Aug 20, 4:11:29 PM"][/Edit]

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Message from ccrawford

Hsi Lai Temple in Hacinda Heights, CA
Our E Asia Institute class with Clay Dube from UCLA visited the Buddhist Temple Aug., 2006. It has a great website, easy to access; Google type: Shi Lai Temple and a couple of sites from these peaceful people are informative, inspirational and attractive.
Currently I teach world History in high school, but hope to bring back world religions as a social science elective. What with LNCB and all the testing, etc. electives are on a back burner. We have 3,000 students and have cut back on computer classes, of all things.
You can imagine how far down the priority list are subjects like religious studies. However, the plualism project link to Hsi Lai demonstrates that many college students and graduates are VERY interested in just that. I was inspired with their web pages, both because of teaching world peace and because I am learning about computers, web pages, etc.
If you live in S. California or visit here, a tour of this magnificent Temple is well worth a few hours.
Cathy, Chapparal High, Temecula

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Anyone else from San Diego? Clay and I are!! I just popped in Google: Ming San Diego and found something I did not expect to find. I knew there is a Ming Museum in Balboa Park and that I will appreciate it next time I am in area! Late 1990's brought about another Chinese Museum: Chinese Historical Museum at 404 Third Ave, San Diego. ph 619 338-9888.
The articles are interesting: San Diegan Chinese Americans who report back on their trips to China, the changes, the current status, etc. One in particular caught my eye: Christianity in China Today. When I visited in 1976, China did not have any religious services, to speak of. Even though I grew up in San Diego area and graduated from SDSU, I did not know there was an historical ChinaTown there. It was only through a college course on Asia that I learned of the Chinese American experience in the mid 1980's.
I have it my calendar to visit sometime this year.
Cathy, Chaparral High in Temecula

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San Diego has a great Sunday afternoon for you in Balboa Park. The African drumming and dancing is your first stop on your way to the Japanese Friendship Garden, where you can enjoy the classical (could be mixed styles) music of the Spreckles Organ which is outside and is gigantic, historical. A short walk and you will be in a village of cottages with a United Nations (Educational and Gift Store) cottage. I have been delighted with the dances, songs, costumes (and customs!) of the people who are members; they offer drink, food, friendship and share their cultures as you go from country to country. (My niece was the Queen of the Swedish house for a few years).
What I just realized by going to their web site is that they have a House of China. Look up www.sdhpr.org for map and events, as each country takes turns demonstrating in the open court on Sunday afternoons. Stands for San Diego House of Public Relations.
Cathy from Chaparral High, Temecula

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Our UCLA group visited this great musuem which is actually in the Olivera section of LA. I was inspired by their exhibits to rethink the way I teach world history. The pictures and artifacts of our Southern Callifornian Chinese Americans were moving as well as informational. Definately a worthwhile stop as you explore the heritage of not only our great history, but of the tremendous diversity and gifts provided by our immigrant friends, back then and today.
Cathy from Chaparral High in Temecula

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The last time I had been to China Town in Los Angeles, my teen age daughter was studying martial arts and we bought an engraved Japanese sword. (personally, I studied tai chi).
In Aug. 06 our UCLA class with Dr. Clay Dube spent an afternoon in Chinatown. If you visit the web site, oldchinatownla.com, you will be supplied with names of movies and television shows that were filmed there.
I was honored to be part of the luncheon where our East Asia Institute class exchanged friendship and educational practices over a delicious meal, graciously provided by the Institute/UCLA. It brought tears to my eyes because 30 years ago I was the guest of the Chinese, enjoying wonderful banquets, conversations and various cultural events while touring several cities during my month there.
I hope to return. (to Chinatown in LA??????) maybe. I hope to return to CHINA!!
Cathy, Chaparral High in Temecula

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Message from michellejones

When I attended the UCLA Institute, I visited the Dalai Lama exhibit at the Fowler Museum. At first, I was a bit hesitant to go and view the exhibit. However, I am really glad I made myself go. The exhibit was amazing. One of the exhibits was numerous video ipods on stands of people who had been interviewed on their opinions of the Dalai Lama. I found that to be very interesting. Another exhibit was a video of people laughing in slow motion. That was an unusual one. My favorite parts of the exhibit were the photographs. These were beautiful, full of amazing colors, themes and places. I wished they had some of those pictures on postcards, I would have liked to purchase them. I was a photographer for several years, and am always amazed with pictures.

Michele Jones

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This museum is small, but is full of interesting artifacts about China. It also has an art exhibit, usually, on the second floor of various Asian artists. In the back room on the first floor is an exhibit of a typical Chinese store. They have actual shelving, drawers and other artifacts pertinent to the time period, the 1800's. You can even open some of the drawers to see what might have been its contents.

I do recommend this museum for a class field trip because of this particular exhibit. It is highly educational, and would give the students experiential knowledge of a Chinese store in the United States during the 19th century. This would be good for a World Cultures/World History class.

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In June of '06 the entire 6th grade at my school went to LACMA to see artifacts from the ancient civilizations we had studied all year. I was too busy doing head counts and keeping a close eye on some curious 12-year-old hands inching toward priceless artifacts to take in the specifics of the tour, but it was well received by the students. The tour divided students into groups of approx. 10 kids with one docent. The docent led the tour speeding around various statues, pottery, tablets, and the occasional sarcophagus with short pauses to explain the significance of what we were looking at. Some moments allowed for discussion of historical context based on student's prior knowledge while others were new information all together.

My personal favorite moment involved a student correcting a parent chaperone on her mis-identification of the greek goddess portrayed in a statue. (Before coming to LACMA we had made masks of greek gods and goddesses using their representative symbols). Coming in a close second as my favorite moment was when the students were crouched around a sarcophagus studying the symbols on the case and I said "boo!" - despite many conversations explaining that mummies are not alive and will never come back to life the students allowed themselves to belive curses ahead of a mildly sarcastic teacher.

Specifically related to East Asia and the creation of a catchphrase: The docent leading my group was a Buddist and had a lot of passion for sharing her knowledge on the topic. We spent a great moment learning about a Buddha statue and the idea of "The Buddha". The docent explained that The Buddha was not one person - anyone who fully dedicated themselves to the task could become The Buddha. (A concise but effective explaination for 12-year-olds.)

She continued that one way to become The Buddha was to live a life of virtue. She had the students think of the people they knew that lived lives of virtue - believe it or not, they said teachers were the people they knew that lived lives of virtue. At this point one of my students looked at me with wide and excited eyes and exclaimed, "You could be The Buddha!"

For the remaining month of the school year my class had a new catchphrase: "You could be The Buddha! I could be The Buddha!" Instead of saying "good job" or "great work" I would congratulate students on their attempt at virtue and they would reply with our new catchphrase.

Storytelling aside, the LACMA trip was very brief but had a big impact on my students. They were incredibly excited to see artifacts from ancient East Asia and other ancient civilizations. They seemed wise beyond their years while using the perspective of a social scientist to find out what story each artifact was telling them. I would strongly encourage anyone to look into the tours available for their subject/grade and for a personal enrichment trip.

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"Treasures from Shanghai" Bowers Museum (Santa Ana) - 2/18-819



Yesterday, on Chinese New Year, I attended the opening of the exhibit “Treasures from Shanghai” at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. The Bowers was also celebrating the opening of a major new wing, so the day started with a dramatic Dragon parade with the pulsating drums, a ribbon cutting ceremony and the usual state politician with certificates. This was followed by a lecture given by Chen Kelun, deputy director of the Shanghai Museum. Interestingly, his talk was given in Chinese with many in the audience responding to his humor; I unfortunately was dependent on the translator. The lecture provided great background history on all the major pieces in the exhibit from a Neolithic painted pot from 4000BC through many bronze period artifacts, followed by Han, Sui-Tang, Song-Yuann, Ming, and Qing pieces. The finale was a gorgeous hand scroll from the Quing Dynasty that was of the Hai Pai School that combined traditional Chinese painting with Western elements. An earlier piece that was quite unique (Sui-Tang 581-907AD) was a polychrome camel which highlighted the influence of the Silk Road. Since I have been collecting inexpensive blue and white pottery since I started with Blue Imari for my wedding china (32 years ago), I found Mr. Kelun’s detailed information on the various blues used in Ming porcelain fascinating; now I don’t have to be concerned that my own blues are so varied, even seeming to clash at times. And yes, I was moved by the beauty of a Ming blue and white vase that was recently acquired for three million British pounds.

It was refreshing to see many children in attendance, happily trailing the dancing dragons. I applaud the parents for providing this field trip that our schools cannot seem to financially cover any longer. Also the museum had thoughtfully set up art and craft stations that were inspired by the collections. I was touring the museum with an old friend, and we reminisced about all the projects we had loved making back at old Emery Park School in the 50’s - possibly leading us both to be history majors in college. She’s presently a fourth grade teacher and laments the lack of time for extended, creative projects because of the demanding elementary curriculum dictated by the relentless standards.

For me Chinese New Year was very renewing. In addition to the Shanghai exhibit, the Bowers opened an additional new exhibit of Ansel Adams’ titled “One with Beauty,” and still has the continuing “Mummies” exhibit which is very strong. Enjoy!
Yesterday, on Chinese New Year, I attended the opening of the exhibit “Treasures from Shanghai” at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. The Bowers was also celebrating the opening of a major new wing, so the day started with a dramatic Dragon parade with the pulsating drums, a ribbon cutting ceremony and the usual state politician with certificates. This was followed by a lecture given by Chen Kelun, deputy director of the Shanghai Museum. Interestingly, his talk was given in Chinese with many in the audience responding to his humor; I unfortunately was dependent on the translator. The lecture provided great background history on all the major pieces in the exhibit from a Neolithic painted pot from 4000BC through many bronze period artifacts, followed by Han, Sui-Tang, Song-Yuann, Ming, and Qing pieces. The finale was a gorgeous hand scroll from the Quing Dynasty that was of the Hai Pai School that combined traditional Chinese painting with Western elements. An earlier piece that was quite unique (Sui-Tang 581-907AD) was a polychrome camel which highlighted the influence of the Silk Road. Since I have been collecting inexpensive blue and white pottery since I started with Blue Imari for my wedding china (32 years ago), I found Mr. Kelun’s detailed information on the various blues used in Ming porcelain fascinating; now I don’t have to be concerned that my own blues are so varied, even seeming to clash at times. And yes, I was moved by the beauty of a Ming blue and white vase that was recently acquired for three million British pounds.

It was refreshing to see many children in attendance, happily trailing the dancing dragons. I applaud the parents for providing this field trip that our schools cannot seem to financially cover any longer. Also the museum had thoughtfully set up art and craft stations that were inspired by the collections. I was touring the museum with an old friend, and we reminisced about all the projects we had loved making back at old Emery Park School in the 50’s - possibly leading us both to be history majors in college. She’s presently a fourth grade teacher and laments the lack of time for extended, creative projects because of the demanding elementary curriculum dictated by the relentless standards.

For me Chinese New Year was very renewing. In addition to the Shanghai exhibit, the Bowers opened an additional new exhibit of Ansel Adams’ titled “One with Beauty,” and still has the continuing “Mummies” exhibit which is very strong. Enjoy!

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Message from cschumacher

Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena
pacificasiamuseum.org

For over four decades I have been intrigued by a house. Growing up, I was fascinated by a Pasadena house on the corner of Los Robles and Union. My museum assignment gave me a perfect opportunity to explore this gem as it became the Asia Pacific Museum in 1971, the only museum in Southern California devoted solely to Asia and the Pacific. The building has beautiful, traditional Chinese architecture with four walls surrounding a serene courtyard with a koi pond, rock sculpture and symbolic plants, such as the pine, bamboo and the plum tree. The two primary exhibits now showing are Himalayan Art in Practice (open until the end of May); and Jade, Silk and Porcelain (open until late 2007). Comprising part of the Tibetan exhibit is a room offering at least fifty different Buddhas. However, this exhibit not only covers the art used daily by monks but also includes everyday items used by the scholar and laypeople. I particularly liked a cotton worker’s apron painted with a very wrathful face. The Materials of Asian Art exhibit was devoted to explaining the Chinese artistic techniques used with these beautiful materials. Having always loved European tapestries, I was delighted with the Chinese version crafted with beautiful, brilliant hued silk. This museum is a very manageable size, easily covered in two hours. Being adjacent to Pasadena’s Old Town, there are good restaurants and shopping to make it a full and fun day outing.

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Message from mkang

My students received a grant from the Japan American National Museum. Under the grant, we were granted 2 busses and free entrance to the museum. Our tour started with a history of origami and an origami lesson. Then the students got a lesson and demonstration on Taiko drumming. Some of them were invited to try their hand at Taiko drumming. After these two lessons, they were broken up into small groups and given a tour of the museum by a survivor of the Japanese internment camps. It was especially interesting and meaningful because it was told from this living primary source. Students examined artifacts and documents from World War II. Their guide explained both their historical significance as well as the lessons that must be remembered in our times. After the museum tour, the students walked out to the memorial to Japanese American soldiers and got to meet and talk to two Japanese American World War II veterans.

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Message from asarnoff

Just read the last posting on the Japanese American National Museum and I'm very jealous! I went for another class two Saturdays ago and cruised it solo, so I didn't get all of the neat activities or helpful information from a guide.

The museum itself is gorgeous; you feel at peace just walking through the doors. The Japanese architecture is minimal and fluid, and like the Getty is it's own piece of art to appreciate. The building was probably my favorite part of the museum.

The artifacts themseves were well displayed. Basically it traces the history of Japanese in America starting around the 1800's. Of course the main focus is on the Japanese internment during WWII. They start with a lot of images / posters of anti-Japanese sentiments, photos of homes with banners reading "White neighborhood! No Japanese!" and racist caricatures of Japanese people.

What was really neat was that they had an actual barrack from one of the camps rebuilt inside the building. There is a whole display devoted to those who went and dismantled the barrack with the intention of housing it in the museum.

My only critique of the museum was that it is very small and limited. I wanted there to be more, but the reality is that it covers such a short amount of time and the focus is so specific that there isn't a whole lot more they can display. The tour the last teacher described sounds amazing. The incoroporation of origami immerses the students into a piece of Japanese culture, and getting to hear a person talk firsthand about their experiences in the camps is priceless. When I went to the Museum of Tolerance, that was the most memorable part for me. If I ever get the opportunity to take my students, that's what I want them to experience most.

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Message from mmac

I went to the Pacific Asia Museum on a Friday in which they are free to the public the last Friday of every month. I was very impressed with their diverse collection of Buddhist art from various countries such as India, China, Korea, Japan, Burma, Vietnam, and Tibet. Walking through and seeing the various statues and sculptures of Buddha allows one to not only trace the spread of Buddhism in Asia but allows one to notice the differences in the representation of Buddha throughout various geographical locations in Asia. For example, one might notice that the image of Buddha in India is much thinner than the image of a plumper Buddha in China.
Although different cultures might have different visual representations of the Buddha, the core teachings of Buddhism are similar throughout all cultures. The Buddha taught his followers that following the Noble Eightfold Path would lead them out of their cycle of endless rebirth and suffering. The branches of the Noble Eightfold Path are having the right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration through meditation. By practicing the Eightfold Path, a follower of Buddhism can reach enlightenment known as nirvana.
Another interesting exhibit at the museum was the exhibit entitled: Jade, Silk and Porcelain: the Materials of Asian Art. Out of the three art forms, my favorite was the porcelain dishware in the collection. Porcelain was first made in China in the 6th and 7th centuries AD from porcelain clay known as kaolin, found in the Gaoling Mountains of southeastern China. Chinese potters mixed the kaolin clay with a powder ground from a stone called baidunzi, a rock that contains feldspar, a glassy mineral. It is fired at very high temperatures above, which causes the surface of the clay to melt and become smooth as glass. The beauty of the porcelain comes from the purity of the whiteness that is produces. A high quality porcelain is one that is thin, white, and when held up to the light, is transparent. To show off the beauty of the porcelain itself, many porcelain objects were left unpainted. The Chinese traded porcelain and guarded the secrets of making porcelain from outsiders.
When the Italians saw porcelain objects, they thought the ceramics were make from ground up seashells and named it porcellana or "little female pig," the Italian name for small white cowrie shells. Porcelains were first used by the Imperial court and only the purest, whiteness, and most transparent porcelains were beautiful enough for the emperors. Later, porcelain was exported west and was painted with cobalt blue. Porcelain is just one example of the delicate art that the Chinese created. Silk and Jade are two other forms of art which expresses the Chinese’s attention to detail and patience in their craft.

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Message from kschumacher

I visited the Bowers Museum last weekend for their exhibit entitled “Treasures from Shanghai: 5000 Years of Chinese Art and Culture.” The objects ranged from the Neolithic Period to the Qing Dynasty. Everything is on loan from the Shanghai Museum. The exhibit shows the progression and evolution of Chinese technology, art and culture.

I was particularly impressed by the pottery and jewelry. Other objects included bronze and ancient oracle bones from the Shang and Zhou dynasties, porcelain and other ceramics from the Tang through Ming dynasties, and boxes, paintings, and calligraphy in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The majority of the exhibit was bronzes. This part did not interest me as much. There were 20 bronze pieces, from cookware to musical instruments. These revealed a lot about the cultures, for example their cooking cultures and rules and traditions of ceremonies.

I found the limited array of items rather nice. Instead of being overwhelmed by the contents of an entire museum, I felt that this exhibit let me really study the items and think about why each one might be included. Therefore the message which was the evolution of Chinese technology, art, and culture was not lost.

The Shanghai exhibit will be at the Bowers Museum until August 19, 2007. I was also intrigued to find out that the Bowers will have an exhibit on the Terracotta Warriors starting August 2008. I will definitely have to return!

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Message from jyamazaki

Greetings,

I recommend the Japanese Art exhibit at LACMA. The building the collection is housed in is beautiful. The structure looks modern Japanese yet it has some very traditional qualities as well. The walls were made to resemble the paper doors older Japanese homes. The walls are opaque, allowing light to come through. The exhibit is rich, filled with calligraphy, paintings, wood work, and much more. This a great field trip destination for Jr. and SR. high students.

John Yamazaki

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Greetings,

I have heard that the Huntington Library Gardens are amazing. I believe there is a Japanese and Chinese Garden on site. Parts of Memoirs of a Gheisha were filmed there. Such gardens are living artwork. Students can compare and contrast Chinese Garden styles with that of gardens from Japan. Also I believe the 1st Monday of every month is FREE! Check out the website for further confirmation. Again this is a great field trip site as well for JR. and Sr. High students.


John Yamazaki

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Greetings,

I want to share with you all a very unique story about my family that has great historical significance. My step mother was shopping at an antique shop in Santa Barbara one day when she noticed a pretty red laquer box. She picked it up, looked on the bottom, and was amazed. She discovered the in caligraphy the script RYUKYU! This was the old name for modern Okinawa. As an Okinawan her self she was amazed to find this old box in Santa Barbara of all places. She purchased the box for $15. About a year later taking the box, she traveled to Okinawa and visited family. She took the box to the national museum in Okinawa and found that she had a very historical and priceless artifact. Her box dated to the early 1900s and is unique for how it was made and it is very rare because very few of these artifacts survived WWII. She and my father donated the box to the museum and returned the it to the people of Okinawa. The president of the Museum was overjoyed to receive this box in such great condition. This story tells you that you never know what you may find in an antique store.


John Yamazaki

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Greetings,

There are some great online museum resources for Jr. and Sr. High students and teachers. Both Japan and Taiwan have National History Museums with web sites that are interactive. You can tour through various exhibits and displays. These sites are a great tool to reinforce the material you are teaching. These images and exhibits bring the information to life. I highly recommend them!

John Yamazaki

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Several Asian countries have national museums with websites. These sites are a great tool. You can use them to tour exhibits and you can have students use these sites for research. A great activity would be to have students do a gallery walk around your class. Simply print out some images from the museum sites with info for each and have the students take down notes as they move from station to station. The sites for national museum of Taiwan and Japan are great.

John Yamazaki[Edit by="jyamazaki on Jul 9, 12:44:25 PM"][/Edit]

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Message from rrobinson

In the past I've mentioned the Pacific Asia Museum but, as it's been a while since I last visited (this time last year) I thought I'd drop by... I love this place (and the little courtyard is so cool - literally!). Last year I walked around with a notebook, jotting down information and questions for a high school level extra credit hand-out in two of the Social studies classes I teach (sadly now deceased - my p.c. caught some malicious bug and erased everything, down to the wiring and, of course, I'd forgotten to back it up). It's just as good as I remembered, and I started looking for information that I can use teaching sixth and seventh grade.

For sixth grade, there's an excellent array of Buddhas and bodhisatvas, and the materials for a lesson demonstrating the ways in which a religion adapts itself to the pre-existing indigenous culture. A lot of the littlies are familiar with the rotund, rub-my-belly Buddha, and so it's valuable, I think, to be able to expose them to other personifications, both from various cultures and in different characterizations - for example, the thin, aesthetic Buddha to the serene Enlightened One, by way of adding dimension to the jolly fat man. (Check out the Thai Buddha - he's shown with an elongated face and graceful, willowy body, sometimes shown walking, a posture unique to Thailand.)

There are also wonderful representations of Hindu deities which, again, mesh nicely with the sixth grade curriculum - it's difficult trying to conjure up the brilliance and power of Hindu art and sculpture, short of being able to stand there in front of it The textbook illustrations can't do them justice (which, I guess, is true of a great deal of cultural artifacts and religious symbolism) and even overhead transparencies and powerpoint illustrations don't quite do the job as well.

There's a huge number of animal motifs to be found - everything from water buffalo to rabbits, turtles to deer, rooster to phoenix, crickets to the dragon king, and one or two mythical beasts that students may or may not be familiar with (including Garruda, the winged and beaked half-man/half-bird who accompanies Vishnu). These would make a great game of find-the-animal - for example, in the netsuke display alone there are 12 demons, 3 foxes, 2 dragons, and a monkey to be found. Students could then take notes from the information alongside each exhibit to discover the symbolism of each (the turtle for longevity, for instance) and describe the context - netsuke, ceramic bowl or other pottery, sculpture, wooden carvings...

I suspect that the only problem with bringing a field trip to this particular venue might be its size - having 36 + students in so confined an area may present problems... However, the museum does have a program for field trips (up to 60 students - available Wed., Thur., and Friday) which divides the students into smaller groups and gives them an hour-long docent-guided museum tour followed by an hour's worth of art workshop. Contact Lucy Solin on (626) 449-2742 ext. 22 to set up a date.

If a field trip is out of the question, there's always the museum's website. It's really comprehensive, and even has its own website-only exhibition: Nature of the Beast - Animals in Japanese Paintings and Prints (again with the animals!). And there are scads of other resources - right now I'm checking out their Chinese ceramics factsheets which complement the exibits. It's difficult sometimes having students understand such (seemingly) commonplace things like, what exactly is porcelain and how is it made? So the factsheets are a great resource for seventh - and probably tenth - grade Social Studies classes.

Overall,most highly recommended!

Ray[Edit by="rrobinson on Jul 11, 5:18:22 PM"][/Edit]

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I took my 6th grade class to the Skirball Museum for an Archaeology field trip several months ago. While the topic of this trip was Archaeology I found that it helped later in the year when we were discussing artifacts from Asia.

In order to have the opportunity to take this field trip I had to attend a workshop at the Skirball Museum last summer. At this session I was infomed of the process to sign up for the trip, get a bus scholorship, and was given a tour of the exhibits my students would see. I attended a workshop in mid-August and found that they were already booked through the end of March, so attend an earlier workshop if you woudl like to take the field trip earlier in the year.

The trip was for 6th grade and specifically addressed the topic of Archaeology and how artifacts are discovered and studied. One week prior to coming to the museum I picked up their kit with activities that would better prepare the students for the field trip. It took me several hours to read the directions and activity binder and sort through all the pieces before I could realistically devise a plan to carry out the activities. Because of the time restrictions on having the kit and scheduling conflicts at my school there was only one day that I could do these activities. I made all the photo copies several days in advance and came early the day of the lessons to stage the stations. I could not set up the stations until just before my 3rd period class because I teach art in the morning. I recruited several responsible students to help me set up during our nutrition break. The preparation and set up for this activity was somewhat stressful and time-consuming, but I found that it paid off.

I gave each student a packet with all of the activity sheets rather than set them at each station. There were 10 stations so I had groups of 4 students rotate whenever they finished and another station opened. Some activites took only a couple of minutes, others took long periods of time. Because of this some students did up to 6 activities while others worked only on two or three. I wish I could have had several days to do these activites and would encourage anyone else who does these activities to schedule accordingly. The students really enjoyed the stations. These included instruction and practice in identifying the oldest to newest version of oil lamps, using code cracking skills to translate ancient languages, and matching artifacts to written documents that described them.

The field trip itself was generally good. While it was short, it was informative and memorable. The first part of the trip included looking at ancient artifacts that were organized from oldest to newest. The docent would hold up a modern object such as a cup and have students point out all the artifacts that once servd the same purpose. My students enjoyed this "guessing game".

The second and most memorable part of this trip was the archaeological dig. Outside there were five sand pits that had various artifacts buried in them. Students were given brief instructions on how to dig for objects and then were allowed to go for it. It was obvioulsy a popular activity. Students found various replications of statues, pottery, coins, tools, and a writing tablet. Upon uncovering the writing tablet one girl exclaimed, "I found the 10 commandments!" She was quite thrilled by this, even when the discussion portion revealed it was a replica of a legal record. After 15 minutes or so of digging there was a docent led discussion of what all the various artifacts were and what they told us about the civilization they had once belonged to.

This field trip was brought up many times the rest of the year during our history class. While the field trip did not specifically address education on Asia, we used our knowledge of archaeology to help us better study Asian artifacts in our units on ancient China and India.

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My wife and I recently spent a long weekend in San Francisco, and although we have been there many times before, we had made it a priority to accomplish my make-up work for missed seminar sessions. With this in mind, we travelled on Sunday, July 15th into wonderful Golden Gate Park to the new De Young Museum, specifically to the Herbst Exhibition Galleries, to view an exhibit of Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto's eerie photographs. If you go to San Francisco and have the time or inclination, please make a point to check this place out- it is a wonderful museum in a gorgeous locale. Do not drive though, as it is not car accessible- we took the Bart bus from the Union Square area...one transfer and 30 minutes later we were deposited outside the building. Cost is $10 a person, and the museum is open from 9:30-5:15pm. Another travel tip: if you want affordable and funky digs, try staying at the Mark Twain Hotel.
Other than going to the Saturday Night Market in Chinatown, we had no concrete plans to fulfill my requirements. We travelled to Japantown, but honestly, there wasn't much going on and it seems like the area is becoming progressively more homogenized. There seem to be fewer and fewer Japanese-related businesses and cultural events each time I visit. Being thwarted, we looked in the SF Weekly and found the advertisement for the Sugimoto exhibit. I knew nothing of the man or his work prior to our visit.
Sugimoto is one of Japan's most celebrated photographers of the last 30 years, and his claim to fame is his use of black and white photography. There were certainly plenty of those on display. The museum is displaying a series of 120 of his photographs from the mid-1970's to the present day. The mid-70's work focused on static structures. There were several that are movie related- haunting shots of the interior of movie theatres (without patrons). One very striking photo was of a drive-in movie screen set against a black exterior. It looked like a night shot, but without the knowledge of the technique being used, it is hard to say for certain. The blank screen positively glowed in such fashion that if you stare at it it does take on a kind of magesterial beauty, and the philosophical implications become profound. If the screen itself can be rendered into something of such profound beauty, does it matter which )if any) images flow across it? Many of the photos showcased very mundane, yet intensely beautiful images. One area had a curved wall with special windows in it that offered views of Sugimoto's sea photographs. Once again, very simple in many respects. Shots of the ocean rendered in black and white (perhaps filtered or processed in different ways). The area was also dramatically lit to showcase the details in the photos. They were really quite eerie and serene at the same time- The power and physical sweep of the ocean was not the primary emphasis- although you do come away with an appreciation of that- as much as the shades and physical makeup of the waves themselves. I could imagine a Zen priest having a field day looking at these. The awesome power and tranquility of nature were both represented in the same shot- very similar thematically to some Japanese writers I have read.
One other area of interest were the seven photos taken from his work Portraits. Sugimoto travelled to Madame Tussaud's wax museum in London to photograph wax models of Henry VIII and his six wives. He then "remade" the images to make them resemble the paintings from which these figures were derived. Very odd. You swear you are looking at an ancient photograph, yet it is entirely reconstituted from a very 'non-artistic' source. The metaphorical and philosophical implications of this are profound. My wife summed it up very well when she said, "Why would anyone go to all of that trouble when they could just photograph the original source?" Excellent question.
We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and the museum itself. Sugimoto's photos are sparse, enchanting, and quite mysterious. I have never seen anything like them before. They seem to aspire to capture a kind of magical element that exists beneath the veneer of everyday life. Not knowing much about photography (virtually nothing), I think I was robbed of the true appreciation of the technique and mastery involved in his work, yet I appreciated the work on a different level. The photos aroused feelings that I have enountered when reading Borges. It was a great day.[Edit by="gjones on Jul 23, 10:49:37 PM"][/Edit]

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I was interested in a painting that was used to illustrate a symposium announcement and I was led to a great online museum site for "The Macao Museum of Art”. Currently there is an interesting exhibit of paintings and artifacts from the Qing dynasty. Another interesting series is called "Export paintings" which are paintings of export sites like Guangzhou and other coastal cities. It is part of an exhibit called "Historical Paintings of Macao in the late 19th century". The paintings are by European residents of Macao at the time and are reminiscent of the British landscape painters of the same era. There is also a photo exhibit of Macao in the late 19th century. Previous exhibits are available for view.
http://www.artmuseum.gov.mo/main.asp?language=3

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Message from damonpro

I'd love to check out the new Huntington Garden Asian section/exhibit... I bet it would be interesting, peaceful, and provide great photos for classroom use or decoration. Might be a nice field trip too.

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This is the perfect place to tell you about a secret jewel in Southern California. It is located at the Sunrider Corporation headquarters in Torrance California. It is free and open from 10am to 4pm Mon through Friday. It is probably the most impressive collection I have seen of Chinese imperial period art. If you go to Sunrider.com you can get more info on the Chen's, their company (produces food combining Chinese and Western medicine), and their contirbutions to the Olympics, education and the arts.

http://www.chenartgallery.org/

"Welcome to the Chen Art Gallery. This in-house gallery houses Drs. Chen's astounding personal collection of more than 500 rare Chinese pieces dating from the Neolithic Era through the Qing Dynasty. It includes, among other things, a one-of-a-kind replica of a Qing Dynasty Imperial Throne, impressive sculptures, hand-painted manuscripts and priceless artifacts, all presented in a custom-made setting. "

(This is a repeat of a post I did for our class that met Fall 2007)

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Message from jhenness

This is a neat website that you can immediately get updates on the latest news coming out of China. One thing that make it really neat is that it has its own forum discussion community much like ours. I found some great resources that others had posted in the discussion room. Look up - http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/redirect.php?gid=2&fid=6&tid=570096&goto=nextoldset

clay dube
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Message from Clay Dube

We'll have an article on Chinese gardens in the US in an upcoming issue of US-China Today, but for those interested in the new Huntington Garden (officially opening on 2/23/2008), here are some links:

official website: http://www.huntington.org/Advancement/ChineseGarden.htm

2 LA Times stories:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gardens17feb17,0,3859702.story
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gardens24feb24,1,2106375.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Yang Ye (UC Riverside), who often speaks to teachers in our seminars, was one of the scholars charged with naming every tree, nook, bridge and building in the garden. His calligraphy can be seen on the teahouse in the garden.

I hope those who visit the garden will share a couple of your pictures via the forum. The place isn't cheap ($20/adults on the weekends), but there are group discounts and I think they have one free Thursday every month.

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So, Clay, I went to the Huntington Library today all excited about seeing the new Chinese Gardens. Unfortunately I left my camera at home and am stuck with cell phone photos. I'll post those as soon as I figure out how to pull them off the phone In any case, heres my review of the entire trip.

First off the size of the place is absolutely awestriking. To think that this was once someone's home and estates is just bizarre from my own perspective. Grand, but a waste of resources as a private estate. As a cultural center of Southern California its a gorgeous landmark.

I immedately headed for the Chinese Gardens. I had taken the time to download the audiotour from their website and was excited about getting a inner glimpse of the place from cultural, artistic, design and production standpoints. The audiobook did indeed live up to my expectations in terms of content, but I did not finish listening to it. Why? Two reasons which end up being the same issue. First, the order of the stops seemed to take you past the same areas at least twice, and in one case makes you travel across half the garden to see something you could have hit when nearby earlier.

Second issue was that the gardens were almost completely barren of life. Anyone who hikes knows that the trail looks completely different if you take it in the opposite direction. So perhaps it would have been cool to run all over then back, but there was simply not enough life to make it appreciable.

The garden itself had all of its major components in place and functioning, including the physical structures (wall, ponds, pagodas, buildings, and decorative objects), major trees and important ornamental bushes. Otherwise the place was completely barren. By that I mean bare, freshly turned earth, completely empty of all plants, weeds, or anything. In many areas you could tell they were planning trails though something, but at the moment they were simply dirt paths surrounded by dirt. There looked to be a number of minor to medium sized waterworks that are still under construction in areas, which should also enhance the overall effect.

What about the archetecture? It was phenemonal. Highly detailed elements that were in part constructed here, and in part created by artisans in China. In the entrance is a large, but not intimidating sized gateway. As you walk in are Beautifully shaped doorways and windows(circular, flower shaped) looking out onto some truly phenomenal rockworks with a falls and pond far below. A courtyard next to that hall holds some nice, but not fantastic bonsai (chinese name escapes me...pen tsai?). The tea house was a beautiful carved latticework of designs that kept the interior an enjoyable tempature compared to outdoors. Truly appreciated in the heat of the mid-afternoon day.

The quality of the tea? I was the only one to order it on such a blazing hot day, so heres my review of the oolong. Not too bad actually! lol...it had a reasonably complex flavor actually, but I was really let down by the aroma. For something with "Fragrance" in the title, I expected a heady aroma like with my Ti Quan Yin. Instead it just smelled like tetley. A good oolong to try when there, but not worth $28 1/4 lb.

The food? My suggestion? Go vegitarian. My mom's food was actually very good as cold, premade stuff goes. My meat plate was very nasty. The meat bun was dry and I don't even want to describe what was inside. I'll stop at that with the descriptions of the meat plate.

The composition of the garden? The finest and highest paid consultants were brought in to ensure the garden reflected the ideal Chinese Garden. At the moment I can say that the major features work beautifully. The structures look like a scene from China when viewed from across the pond. Otherwise I have to simply imagine what will be in some of the larger dirt areas with paths. I'm thinking groves of bamboo and chinese maple as dividers to make the space feel larger. The path was kind of winding in some areas.

So, my suggestion is to check it out in 2-5 years. Right now its still under construction in minor ways, and has yet to be filled out with the 98% of its plant cover. They'll need at least till the end of the year to get the plants in (my guess), and another 2-3 years for the plants to really settle and start to begin filling out and propagating (except bamboo). In 10-15 years it will start to really feel like a natural setting like you find in the Japanese Gardens.

Anyhoo. I also went through the Japanese gardens and was blown away. I've been to the puny thing at CSULB and its pretty, but doesn't put you in a different place, or really feel like an authentic location. The Huntington's Japanese garden is simply unbelievable. There was obviously the time, money, and passion for japanese gardening and culture to invest in a truly immersive environment. I'm not going into too much detail on this because most people have seen it, but I have to say something

Like most great gardens, this one is arranged in a complex fashion with folliage, and some structures and decorative objects to create blocks and breaks. This disguises the actual size of the area (much like I'm sure is planned for the Chinese Garden), and exposes picturesque views of the landscape where the artist intends the viewer to focus their attentions. The effect is awestriking. It really feels like you are in another world. It is set up with a valley in the middle, and you're looking across at a japanese landscape on the other side, while standing in one yourself. Its very cool.

I'll go on about one more little bit. I was most impressed with their bonsai collection. I was a bit underwhelmed by the selection I saw initially in the Chinese Garden, but was awestruck by the variety and quality of those in the Japanese Garden. They had representitives of almost every style of bonsai composition, and high quality to world class quality examples in more than a few cases. At one point I looked around, grinned and said, "boy there sure are a lot of motion detectors around here arent there?" Yep. they have security over those and for good reason...their collection is seriously valuable.

[Edit by="mvhudnall on Mar 21, 11:43:58 PM"][/Edit]
[Edit by="mvhudnall on Mar 21, 11:51:58 PM"][/Edit]
[Edit by="mvhudnall on Jun 25, 12:11:12 PM"][/Edit]

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hmm this message board does not support uploading images for a post and I don't have a host for images so I can't post them I guess. Not a huge loss, the quality was better than I expected for a phone, but not great.

clay dube
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Message from Clay Dube

For Matt and others -- you can attach images to your post. You can only upload one photo at a time, but this allows you to provide a description for the images, so individuals can decide if they want to open them.

Here I'm attaching a photo from the election I'm here in Taiwan observing. It offers an action figure version of Hsieh Ch'ang-t'ing (Frank Hsieh), the Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate. The figure is standing in front of a clock showing the party's presidential and vice presidential candidates (the clock is in a Snoopy box). I took it during a visit to Hsieh campaign headquarters in the southern city of Kaohsiung.

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The Vision and Art of Shinjo Ito

May 8 - June 29, 2008
Westwood Art Forum, Los Angeles
www.shinjoito.com

Press Release:
THE VISION AND ART OF SHINJO ITO EXHIBITION
CELEBRATES MODERN BUDDHIST MASTER AND ARTIST
The Centennial Exhibition Presents Work Never Before Seen Outside of Japan
In 2008 the U.S audiences will be
introduced to The Vision and Art of Shinjo Ito, a landmark exhibition that commemorates
the 100th anniversary of the birth of Shinjo Ito, the founder of the Shinnyo-en order of
Buddhism and a major Buddhist sculptor of Japan’s Showa Era (1925-1989). The Vision
and Art of Shinjo Ito, which features over one hundred pieces of Buddhist and secular
sculpture, engravings, calligraphy, drawings, photography, audio-video installations and
other artifacts, will be on view in Los Angeles (May 8 – June 29, press preview on May 7).
“This important exhibition gives U.S. audiences a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to gain insight into the heart and mind of a major Buddhist figure of the 20th century and
one of Japan’s most revered spiritual leaders,” said Hiroko Sakomura, exhibition’s
curator and general director. “Shinjo Ito created devotional images based on a personal
interpretation of scriptures, combining elements of traditional Buddhist art with a fresh,
modern approach.”
The Vision and Art of Shinjo Ito
Shinjo Ito created extraordinary art objects that are, at the same time, powerful meditative tools. The exhibition’s centerpiece and most inspiring image is the Great Parinirvana Image, a sculpture of a reclining Buddha about to enter nirvana at the end of his life. Completed in just three months in 1957 with the combined efforts of Shinjo Ito and his congregation, it is the artist’s first major sculpture and his largest work of art at 16 feet long. Other sculpture on exhibit reflects Shinjo Ito’s personal sense of Buddhism as well as his interest in Greek sculpture and aesthetics: In addition to the devotional works, The Vision and Art of Shinjo Ito includes a number of busts of the artist’s family members, friends and of senior priests of the
order. Prominent among them are the portrait sculptures of the artist’s two sons, both of
whom died at an early age. In Shinjo Ito’s own words: “What I seek to create is not just
the physical form of a Buddha figure. My purpose for sculpting them is to inspire and
motivate everyone to grow spiritually.”
Shinjo Ito (1906-1989)
Shinjo Ito was born on March 28, 1906 in Yamanashi, Japan. He showed extraordinary artistic talent as a child and went on to study photography and to win awards for his work. At the
same time Shinjo Ito was drawn towards spirituality. Eventually he gave up his job as an engineer to enter Kyoto’s Daigoji monastery, the head temple of the Daigo school of Shingon
Buddhism, one of Japan’s oldest denominations where he attained the
rank of Grand Master. Even after Shinjo Ito and his followers established the order of
Shinnyo-en, art continued to be an integral part of Shinjo Ito’s religious pursuit and he
sculpted and photographed throughout his life.
Shinnyo-en
Shinnyo-en is an independent Buddhist order based on the teachings of the
Nirvana Sutra which emphasizes Buddhism for lay practitioners as well as monastics.
Founded on the commitment to universal truth, compassion and service, Shinnyo-en
teaches that all people carry the seed of enlightenment within them and that by acting
with sincerity and kindness, they can bring that seed to fruition. Shinnyo-en encourages
the application of the teachings of the Buddha into one’s daily life, with no requirements
to leave one’s current faith.
Today Shinnyo-en is a global order, with almost one million active followers in
48 countries around the world. Shinnyo-en is led by Shinso Ito, the daughter of Shinjo
Ito and a Buddhist Grand Master. Master Shinso assumed the leadership of Shinnyo-en
in 1989. The only woman today to lead a Buddhist order, she also became the first
woman to officiate a service in the main hall of Kyoto’s temple of Daigo in its 1,100-year
history.

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The new Chinese garden Liu Fang Yuan was breathtaking!

I did not do all of my research prior to arrival so I had not downloaded the audio walking tour available from their website.
However, we were lucky to be experience the garden as part of the Seminar and so had a very knowledgeable docent to provide us with the background information.

I could hardly believe that I was in southern California, I thought I had been transported to China!

I must say that my favorite part of the garden was the thousands of views we were presented with. I did not know that a goal of the Chinese garden is to present the visitor or inhabitant with as many pleasing views as possible. That goal was achieved, surpassed and continues. Although we walked around the edge of the garden I though that there was still much more to see. I am going back. And next time I will take that podcast with me.

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Last weekend I drove out to LA (I'm an OC guy) to see the Shinjo Ito Exhibit at the Westwood Art Forum. Check out the two posts above for a link to his website, and through that the westwood art forum. The site also contains pictures of the work, though not necessarily every one, or in as stunning a fashion as shown in the exhibit.

One of my favorite works was the Achalanatha. It was combined with two other works that were not shown on the website or the small catalog I purchased. The other two were similar figures that when viewed together were very powerful. The faces were simultaneously quite human and monsterous.

Two of the pieces truly seemed to possessed of life: a huge "Head of Shakyamuni", and a gorgeous dancing "Queen Maya, Shakyamuni's Mother". The Queen Maya almost seemed to be in motion as you viewed it. The lighting was exquisite, and enhanced the work even further. The edges of the raised arm and floating leg were crested in light, blurring the edge and causing her arm and leg to almost seem in motion. The Head of Shakuamuni was harder to define. It was no trick of subtle lighting, but pure skill in sculpting. The head was so fleshy, realistically dimensional, and subtle in expression, that it felt like it would at any moment turn its head, or the neck flex as it takes a breath.

I have two other favorites at this exhibit, and they are favored not only due to their appearance, but also due to the invitation by the viewer to interact with the work. I've always appreciated artists who provide opportunities to recieve a physical experience with a work of art, and in this exhibit there were three pieces set aside for this purpose. A copy of the foot from the giant buddha (check out the website), and two lovable characters named mahakala and ebisu. Ebisu is the Japanese god of fishermen, good luck, and workingmen. Mahakala I'm less clear on. This sculpture appears to be a more unusual representation having only two arms, and a less monsterous appearance. This god is a remover of obstacles from the path of enlightenment. Ebisu is shown on the website. Mahakala is similar in stature, but holds a bag and a hammer instead.

In regards to his other work. I feel that Shinjo Ito's strongest medium was clay. While his brass works were okay, they did not allow him to utilize his full skills and talents as you are able to see in his clay, plaster, or in some cases resin works. Other than the first two images mentioned, his best work are the clay busts of contemporary zen buddhist masters. The individual personality and expressiveness were wonderful.

His abilities seemed to break down somewhat when dealing with the full body, especially in smaller works. Some of the small works were expressive, but had over or under sized heads, small legs, and almost nonexistent hips to connect the legs to torso. Proportion problems also existed in a couple of the larger busts, but the overall quality of the works were high enough to forgive the minor flaws.

Overall I was highly impressed. It was religious art, so be expected for that, but I really liked what I saw. One thing I thought was interesting is that they included casts of the same work in different mediums and using different finishes. It really demonstrated the differences that can occur in detail and the viewer's emotional response. Go see this one. Its free even!

-Mathew Hudnall
[Edit by="mvhudnall on Jun 25, 12:08:32 PM"][/Edit]

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Message from jchristensen

I encourage 2-12 grade teachers to visit the Skirball Cultural Center, I-405 north of UCLA. The Skirball has great programs, special exhibits, and programs for students.

In particular is the archaeological dig experience for 6th grade students. The program provides buses and admission scholarships for public schools in need. To qualify you must attend one of the Educator Open Houses: August 14, 17 or 20, 2008. Applications are processed beginning October 1, 2008.

Information is available:
www.skirball.org
310.440.4662
education@skirball.org

To learn more, I refer you to the message above from dlong/Re:Museum Resources/Posted:07/23/1007

One of my peers went to the Skirball this past week and the students couldn't stop talking about what a great time they had. This fieldtrip would work at any time during the year whether studying the pyramids of Egypt of the Terracotta Army of the Qin Emporer.

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Coming to Southern California via the British Museum. . . .

Terracotta Warriors at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana only 5 minutes down the road from Disneyland. It's cheaper than a trip to Xi'an!

Want to get up close and personal to Qin's Warriors? Want to confirm that they each are different? Interested in the weapons they carried and see the crossbow up close? Want to know how the uniforms were sewn together, for infantry versus the officers? Interested in how a charioteer handled four Mongolian steeds into battle? Want to learn about how the terracotta warriors were assembled? Interested in the expansive size of Qin's tomb? Want to see what other items were in his tomb? Want to know what he did to unite China beyond connecting the pieces of walls already in existence?

This exhibit is spectacular!!! I have been to Xi'an, and was not this close to the warriors. It was easy to spend more than two hours wending my way through the exhibit, listening to the audio (included in the ticket price), reading the descriptors, and examining the items in the cases.

Even thought I knew about the painstaking process of putting the warriors together from shards, I could not pass by the case that detailed the process of excavation and the effort of putting the puzzle pieces together to form a warrior. Did you know that they have found fingerprints of the artisans on the insides of the shards?

I spent a lot of time examining the structure of the reins of the four horses that pulled the chariots. The reins are long gone, but the bits remain, and it has all been reconstructed. Not all the reins are in the hands of the charioteer! Furthermore, the right hand controls three horses and the left hand hold the reins of three horses--the middle two horses are controlled by both hands. It is intriguing. how the horses are connected to each other, the chariot and the charioteer.

There are 22 terracotta figures on display. The detail of the warriors' stances, uniforms, facial features, hair (down to the indivdual strands), caps, and body armor is breath-taking.

The website is www.bowers.org

Order tickets for the exhibit directly from the museum and go early to see their other galleries.

Unfortunately, the Teacher's Guide and educational information are not yet available. I did get a different home page for the museum when I accessed it from home than I did when I was working on line at school (LAUSD).

This presents a great counterbalance to the time spent on the Egyptian tombs.

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Message from dkelly

Text
I agree that the field trip activities at the Skirball are very worthwhile. My own son went there years ago when he was in the 6th grade and the archeologist's dig activity is still somehing he vividly remembers. I would also imagine that arranging a field trip there is not as competitive as one to the Getty is.
Dawn

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Message from mvhudnall

I also went though the warriors exhibit a few weeks back and am just now getting time to post up my response.

Overall I was a tiny bit dissapointed by the exhibit itself. I think it was mostly a problem of pre-concieved notions being greater than the reality. Rather like the hype for the "biggest" new movie of the season, it somehow cannot quite meet the impression you had in your mind before seeing it.

The warrior scuptures themselves were quite well done. The horse and rider at the beginning is another one you can get a good 360 degree view of, and the horse in armor is in particular work examining. Though the bodies varied in build quality and complexity, the faces were extremely well done. If you go to see this exhibit, spend some time examining the backs of the 6 figures in the end of the show. The details are wonderful, and you can really spend time appreciating them since everyone is crowded around the front and no one thinks to walk back to look.

I knew there were a limited number of full sized scuptures that they had brought to the United States, they somehow seemed less impactful when spread throughout the exhibit. The most they had in close proximity to each other was six, which didn't give the same sort of impact that a larger group might have. I do respect the museum for their arrangement, but frankly the other artifacts were quite interesting on their own and did not require the boost added by an extra warrior placed here and there.

In one of the display cases were some of the most exquisite examples off swordcrafting I've ever seen. I used to do historical reinacting including swordplay and have become familiar with the of some of the finest swordsmiths in the United States. Work intended to be used in combat and admired for their beauty as well. The two swords on display appeared superior. They were amazingly thin and flexible looking, yet uncannily sharp given their age. They utilized a chemical process to protect the blades from corrosion, and the finish served them well all these years. You can still see its irridescent shimmer on the polished surface of the blades. Look closer at the surface and you'll see a scalelike or lined texture (I don't remember which they had) that implies that damascus type forging techniques were used. These involve the layering, fusing, then folding and/or twisting of metal stock to create a unified whole that exhibits the finest properties of each of the types of material used. This is an extremely advanced technique that requires a VERY hot forge, and an advanced knowledge of not just swordsmithing but metalurgy as well. Europeans wouldn't have this knowledge for a LONG time.

I also liked the recreated garden scene. It gave you a nice idea of the luxurious side off the funerary preparations for the afterlife.

Just as interesting as the blades were the bronze works (of which the above garden scene should be included). There were some pretty cool looking architectural elements that were worth spending time looking at. You really had to sit and think about how they would be used, since the types of construction involved are so different from modern western methods.
Also outstand works of bronze were the carriage and chariot. These were absolutely amazing in quality, exhibiting some of the finest detailed casting I've seen ages. The work was in outstanding condition, including intact painted murals, wallpaper, or tapesty (I couldn't see which) in the inside of the carriage. Spend some time looking at these, they are fascinating to look at, and are one of the few works you can really spend time looking at without seeming like a roadblock to the rest of traffic.

This does bring up one irritating but understandable issue...overcrowding. It was VERY crowded. They tried to limit it by having timestamped overpriced tickets and an included audiotour to slow traffic, but with only limited success. You always seemed to be in someone's way, and it seemed like more people were always pushing to move on with others waiting to look. I couldn't really get in close for a good look for more than a few moments at a time, which I wasn't very happy about.

So, on a whole, it was a good exhibit, but would be much improved by staying in LA for long enough for it to get old...that way people who really want to sit and contemplate the work can do so

Anonymous (not verified)
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Message from jchristensen

The Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena is around the corner from Vroman's and the Pasadena Playhouse. It is easy to find and enjoyable to visit. It was a private home for the first half of the 20th century. The woman who owned it collected many of her treasures from the See Family stores in Chinatown and Pasadena, the same See family from "On Gold Mountain" by Lisa See.

The website has an interactive virtual tour of its collection worth looking at.

Click on "Explore the Collections" and select a topic such as 'Tomb Treasures' featuring Han and Tang Dynasties plus a few other items, 'Jade' for mostly 19th Century carvings with some from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the 'Jade and Soapstone Carvings' or 'Wood, Stone and Bronze' collections.

This is only a sampling of the categories one can select. Categories are:
Chinese Decorative Arts
Chinese Ceramics
Southeast Asian Art
Himalayan Buddhist Art
Japanese Decorative Arts
Arts of Korea
Special Collections
Archived Exhibitions

The pictured items, which can be enlarged for a detailed view, are accompanied by descriptive data including category, period, composition, and measurements.

http://www.pacificasiamuseum.org/

Anonymous (not verified)
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Message from jchristensen

The Asia Pacific Museum has an online exhibit called "Rank and Style: Power Dressing in Imperial China." It is available in either html or Flash Index. The backgound information is not too dificult for students to comprehend. Maneuverability within the site is simple and straight-forward.

After a brief introduction about the history of the badges, one can enter one of five folders. The first, "Dragons and Phoenixes: Badges for the Imperial Family" includes 28 images. Each image can be enlarged. A short description accompanies each image.

The images are colorful and enlarging them does not take away from appreciating the detail because the focus function of the Flash keeps the image clear. One can see the individual threads and the color combinations of the embroidery. Examples of the symbols, the crane, clouds, the deer, are shown with a brief description. The eight Buddhist emblems are beautiful in red and blue. The eight immortals attributes are labled as are the five poisons: toad, lizard, centipede, snake and scorpion. One can search the emblems for the symbols.

The dragons emblazoned on the Emporers' robes are spectacular. Rank badges for the military feature lions and tigers and the symbolic meaning is explained. Civil Officials, the mandarins, had 9 ranks represented by birds. Each badge is explained and the rules of behavior by rank of the mandarins is delineated. Did you know that mandarins could not walk? They were required to travel by sedan chair and with an appropriate number of attendees, sometimes as many as 50.

This is an interesting site to share with students. It could easily be tied into an art project, a written assignment, or a posterboard presentation.

Anonymous (not verified)
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Message from hmartinez

I was planning to make-up a session at the Bowers museum with my family last Wednesday afternoon, however what I found was unexpected. The Museum’s special event was for kids but I think that part of the event may work well with the high school students at my school.
When my family and I walked into the museum I observed the Terra Cotta Warriors statues, which reminded me of P.F Chang’s Restaurant. The information booth re-directed us towards the Kidseum, which is a part of the Bowers museum two blocks down the street. At the Kidseum there was a Japanese American family playing music on what I though were Chinese Tanggu Drums, however they were the Japanese version, O-Daiko drums. Once the family of four (mother-son-younger sister-and aunt) stop playing the drums they allowed the children to bang on the sets and then practiced some easy to learn techniques with the kids. Mind you that the kids are between 3 and 6 years old, so the noise level was quite high. I am pretty sure that the introduction briefly covered historical elements of the music and its use. Although the kids were not very much interested in anything but in making sounds. Once the hour presentation I had a chance to tour the exhibit on the Chinese Monkey King’s story. Attached to this post will be pictures of my visit.
Now, as to the part of how I may incorporate part of this presentation to my classroom instruction. First, our school would have to be either very fortunate or maybe we could be awarded a grant from the foundations I plan to apply to in order to get the funding necessary to have the presenters to come out to our school site. Secondly, I believe many teachers would instantly apply this presentation to the arts standards.

• 2.0 CREATIVE EXPRESSION Creating, Performing, and Participating in Music Students apply vocal and instrumental musical skills in performing a varied repertoire of music. They compose and arrange music and improvise melodies, variations, and accompaniments, using digital/electronic technology when appropriate.

However, I am of the opinion that this may be also include into the better understanding of Japanese cultural history and also tie it into Language Arts. Our principal is always indicating how our students need help in writing skills, and with this presentation the students can write and express what has been observed and what they have learned.

• 2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics) Students combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce texts of at least 1,500 words each. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0. Using the writing strategies of grades eleven and twelve outlined in Writing S
• 11.7 Students analyze America’s participation in World War II.
• Discuss the constitutional issues and impact of events on the U.S. home front, including the internment of Japanese Americans


The Monkey King’s Story or museum’s other exhibit is not necessarily impressive enough to warrant a tour of the museum. Although I believe that the story itself may be interesting to some of my students as they may be able to uncover values through the story. The many re-telling of the story and different illustrations of the characters in the story, which may have changed throughout the years, may capture the artists in the class interests. Pictures of the story are also attached.
• 3.0 HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT
• Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of the Visual Arts
• Students analyze the role and development of the visual arts in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting human diversity as it relates to the visual arts and artists.

In summary, I would like to say that my kids had a good time and I enjoyed the Kidseum. I got what I needed from it but I would not recommend the drive down to Santa Ana unless there is a special event., such as the O-Daiko Drums I observed or maybe other such presentations.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from hmartinez

I was planning to make-up a session at the Bowers museum with my family last Wednesday afternoon, however what I found was unexpected. The Museum’s special event was for kids but I think that part of the event may work well with the high school students at my school.
When my family and I walked into the museum I observed the Terra Cotta Warriors statues, which reminded me of P.F Chang’s Restaurant. The information booth re-directed us towards the Kidseum, which is a part of the Bowers museum two blocks down the street. At the Kidseum there was a Japanese American family playing music on what I though were Chinese Tanggu Drums, however they were the Japanese version, O-Daiko drums. Once the family of four (mother-son-younger sister-and aunt) stop playing the drums they allowed the children to bang on the sets and then practiced some easy to learn techniques with the kids. Mind you that the kids are between 3 and 6 years old, so the noise level was quite high. I am pretty sure that the introduction briefly covered historical elements of the music and its use. Although the kids were not very much interested in anything but in making sounds. Once the hour presentation I had a chance to tour the exhibit on the Chinese Monkey King’s story. Attached to this post will be pictures of my visit.
Now, as to the part of how I may incorporate part of this presentation to my classroom instruction. First, our school would have to be either very fortunate or maybe we could be awarded a grant from the foundations I plan to apply to in order to get the funding necessary to have the presenters to come out to our school site. Secondly, I believe many teachers would instantly apply this presentation to the arts standards.

• 2.0 CREATIVE EXPRESSION Creating, Performing, and Participating in Music Students apply vocal and instrumental musical skills in performing a varied repertoire of music. They compose and arrange music and improvise melodies, variations, and accompaniments, using digital/electronic technology when appropriate.

However, I am of the opinion that this may be also include into the better understanding of Japanese cultural history and also tie it into Language Arts. Our principal is always indicating how our students need help in writing skills, and with this presentation the students can write and express what has been observed and what they have learned.

• 2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics) Students combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce texts of at least 1,500 words each. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0. Using the writing strategies of grades eleven and twelve outlined in Writing S
• 11.7 Students analyze America’s participation in World War II.
• Discuss the constitutional issues and impact of events on the U.S. home front, including the internment of Japanese Americans


The Monkey King’s Story or museum’s other exhibit is not necessarily impressive enough to warrant a tour of the museum. Although I believe that the story itself may be interesting to some of my students as they may be able to uncover values through the story. The many re-telling of the story and different illustrations of the characters in the story, which may have changed throughout the years, may capture the artists in the class interests. Pictures of the story are also attached.
• 3.0 HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT
• Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of the Visual Arts
• Students analyze the role and development of the visual arts in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting human diversity as it relates to the visual arts and artists.

In summary, I would like to say that my kids had a good time and I enjoyed the Kidseum. I got what I needed from it but I would not recommend the drive down to Santa Ana unless there is a special event., such as the O-Daiko Drums I observed or maybe other such presentations.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from hmartinez

I was planning to make-up a session at the Bowers museum with my family last Wednesday afternoon, however what I found was unexpected. The Museum’s special event was for kids but I think that part of the event may work well with the high school students at my school.
When my family and I walked into the museum I observed the Terra Cotta Warriors statues, which reminded me of P.F Chang’s Restaurant. The information booth re-directed us towards the Kidseum, which is a part of the Bowers museum two blocks down the street. At the Kidseum there was a Japanese American family playing music on what I though were Chinese Tanggu Drums, however they were the Japanese version, O-Daiko drums. Once the family of four (mother-son-younger sister-and aunt) stop playing the drums they allowed the children to bang on the sets and then practiced some easy to learn techniques with the kids. Mind you that the kids are between 3 and 6 years old, so the noise level was quite high. I am pretty sure that the introduction briefly covered historical elements of the music and its use. Although the kids were not very much interested in anything but in making sounds. Once the hour presentation I had a chance to tour the exhibit on the Chinese Monkey King’s story. Attached to this post will be pictures of my visit.
Now, as to the part of how I may incorporate part of this presentation to my classroom instruction. First, our school would have to be either very fortunate or maybe we could be awarded a grant from the foundations I plan to apply to in order to get the funding necessary to have the presenters to come out to our school site. Secondly, I believe many teachers would instantly apply this presentation to the arts standards.

• 2.0 CREATIVE EXPRESSION Creating, Performing, and Participating in Music Students apply vocal and instrumental musical skills in performing a varied repertoire of music. They compose and arrange music and improvise melodies, variations, and accompaniments, using digital/electronic technology when appropriate.

However, I am of the opinion that this may be also include into the better understanding of Japanese cultural history and also tie it into Language Arts. Our principal is always indicating how our students need help in writing skills, and with this presentation the students can write and express what has been observed and what they have learned.

• 2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics) Students combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce texts of at least 1,500 words each. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0. Using the writing strategies of grades eleven and twelve outlined in Writing S
• 11.7 Students analyze America’s participation in World War II.
• Discuss the constitutional issues and impact of events on the U.S. home front, including the internment of Japanese Americans


The Monkey King’s Story or museum’s other exhibit is not necessarily impressive enough to warrant a tour of the museum. Although I believe that the story itself may be interesting to some of my students as they may be able to uncover values through the story. The many re-telling of the story and different illustrations of the characters in the story, which may have changed throughout the years, may capture the artists in the class interests. Pictures of the story are also attached.
• 3.0 HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT
• Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of the Visual Arts
• Students analyze the role and development of the visual arts in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting human diversity as it relates to the visual arts and artists.

In summary, I would like to say that my kids had a good time and I enjoyed the Kidseum. I got what I needed from it but I would not recommend the drive down to Santa Ana unless there is a special event., such as the O-Daiko Drums I observed or maybe other such presentations.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from ppearson

Last Tuesday (Every second Tuesday of the month is free.) I visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to observe the exhibit The Age of Imagination, a display of Japanese art from the Edo Period, 1615-1868. The exhibit runs to mid-September.

There were a number of interesting observations. First, although the locus of government was in Edo (now Tokyo), the center for art was Kyoto. In fact, the primary artist displayed was a wealthy Kyoto greengrocer who became so involved in his art that he turned over the business to others in his family so that he could paint full time.

Most of the displayed art, other than the statuary, was either on scrolls or screens, with a few items on fans. The paintings were remarkably detailed. Even for those without a particular interest in Japan or Asia, this is an exhibition well worth visiting.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from anicolai

Before it goes in October you should definitely try to see the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. If you could take a class there's enough for at least a two hour field trip. There's also stuff you can buy at the gift shop. The museum has some nice pieces from other dynasties than the Qin so you can do a lot about Chinese History. They even have some of that light blue/green porcelain we learnd about. The museum also has Southwest native American objects relating to Shamanism. Really worth the time. Admission was only $18.00--not counting the gas to get there.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from acano

I am not sure if anyone has mentioned the Manzanar National Historic site.
Each year there is a pilgrimage to Manzanar during the last Saturday of April. You can read more about this event on their website. I learned about this occasion through the UTLA newsletter. Those who went on the trip had an opportunity to receive salary points. This is an event you might want to attend next year. The site offers additional resources such as lesson plans. The photo albums on this site are really nice.
http://www.nps.gov/manz/

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from hmartinez

I have always wanted to take a group of 6 or 7 students to Manzanar, after having read the book or covering the Internment Camps during WW2. Yet funding has been a problem. I will try looking through the website provided to see if financial aid is available. This would really bring Asia awareness to my class.

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