Monday, December 17, 2012

More from the Mingei

We continued our tour of the exhibits in the Mingei International Museum in San Diego's Balboa Park.

We left the room in which some of the vases that we wrote about yesterday were displayed.
The exhibit "Make Your Own Kind of Music--The Art of Musical Instruments" had musical instruments from around the world.
Below is a twentieth century curved ceremonial horn from Tibet.
This display of whistles from several different countries represented a unique type of instrument.
This one from Russia was especially interesting.
In the center of this portion of the display was

an 18th century temple drum from China.

Celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd, the Day of the Dead is a time to remember deceased loved ones and honor them. Making an altar can be a way to honor the life of someone who was important to you, or remember your ancestors. It's a time to celebrate, much like a family reunion.
Among the items on an altar are a photo of the loved one (Carlos Fuentes for this altar), water (to quench the spirits' thirst), flowers (marigolds) of bright colors to remind us of the impermanence of life, and bread and favorite foods of the loved one(s) (food is a feast that is laid out for the spirits to enjoy. It is believed that they consume the scents and the essence of the food).
We then came upon some of the 195 cats in the exhibit “Maneki Neko: Japan’s Beckoning Cats--From Talisman to Pop Icon.” The beckoning cats, the Maneki Neko, have been considered to bring good fortune and wealth to individuals and businesses.

Some cat facts:
Colors: Black represents safety and is supposed to drive evil away, while white symbolizes happiness and satisfaction. Gold suggests money and helps increase fortune. Red means protection from evil spirits and illnesses.

Raised paw: Typical interpretations of the left paw raised is for money and fortune, while the right paw is for good luck and health.

Bib: The bibs relate to statues of the religious figure Jizo Bosatsu, who is the protector of the sick. Bibs were placed around his statues to pray or show gratitude for the recovery of sick children (Stephani Chan, utsandiego. com/news/2011/may/06).

I could imagine shows using these Indonesian Shadow Puppets.

From the Museum's information: "TRUE BLUE celebrates four natural materials (the gems turquoise, lapis lazuli and cobalt and the fabled plant indigo) and their combination with human emotion, technical skill and the spark of creativity.
I did not have much time to devote to this exhibit, which featured
jewelry and adornments, glass by anonymous craftsmen and by renowned contemporary American artist-craftsman Dale Chihuly, a traditional American wedding basket, and
indigo garments and other textiles from Japan, Indonesia, Guatamala, Mexico and countries of Africa.
One such garment is this "Grand Buba" chief's robe from Nigeria.
We were especially happy to see the works by George Nakashima. Shown below are two ottomans. We have been to his studio in New Hope, PA, where his daughter still lives.
"Emblematic of the international mingei ('art of the people') movement is this 14½-foot-long walnut table, which gets regular use at receptions and board meetings in a prime public spot in the museum. Curious visitors get down on their knees to examine how it was created.

"Made by master woodworker Mira Nakashima based on a design by her late father, George Nakashima, this is the longest dining table produced by Nakashima Studio (some of his “Tables for Peace” are longer). In shape and construction, it preserves “the soul of the tree,” in George Nakashima’s words.
"The chairs are known as Conoid Chairs, an original Nakashima design" (Ann Jarmusch,

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