December 30, 2008

Rubin Museum of Art's Bhutan Exhibit

RMA BhutanA friend and I visited the Rubin Museum of Art here in New York yesterday and finally saw the exhibition The Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan. We were shown around by the lovely and thoughtful Louise Brooks (not the silent film star of yore) who pointed me to the blog of a visiting Bhutanese monk, Lopen Sonam. (Two monks are "in residence" at the RMA and perform twice-daily ceremonies in part of the museum. There is also a sand mandala being constructed -- I missed both these things.) It's a great blog  full of unexpected observations. Of New York's recent snowfall, quite rare these days for December, he writes:

Bhutan, landlocked Himalayan country, it remain frozen throughout year. As I was born in the Southern foothills I find hard to bear cold, yet thinking make so. It was beyond my hope and expectation that in New York it will be snowing. As I peep through window, a beautiful foam drops continuously wherein a lovely street light add a brilliant shining on it. When morning broke, I saw a white thick foam covered in every walking side and it bring joy to my heart. I started to walk in but my shoe was not good as it slip time and again. I walk in caution, my eyes focusing to back and forth for the rushing cars too.

The Dragon's Gift is full of beautiful thangkas and sculptures -- lots of Padmasambhava and Tantric consorts in the throes of um, meditation. It's well worth a visit if you're in New York and costs $10 for us grown-up non-senior and non-students. I also spent some time in the Nepal exhibit ("From the Land of the Gods: Art of the Kathmandu Valley") and the exhibition on embroidery from India and Pakistan. Somewhere, I can't remember where, we were shushed by a fellow museum guest. Her shushing was much louder than our talking. Ah well. Tea and samosas in the cafe afterward was very nice too.

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