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Orient in Philadelphia

Author(s): Horace H. F. Jayne

Source: Parnassus, Vol. 12, No. 5 (May, 1940), pp. 27-29
Published by: College Art Association
Stable URL: .
Accessed: 06/12/2013 05:45

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plainly differentiatedfrom the old, so that for the first and Next beyond the Persian Tile Gallery is the South Indian
only time, anywhere in the western world, is reproduced Mandapamfrom Madura. It would be dull to attemptany
the grandeur,the superb abundanceof detail which estab- descriptionof it: it undoubtedlyis for itself eloquent. The
lished Sasanian stucco work among the greatest achieve- most extensive and most important unit of Indian archi-
ments of the early architects. tectureever to have been exported,it needs no literaryem-
bellishment. Dr. Norman Brown has more than adequately
From this portico one passes into a gallery bordered all covered the temple's iconographicdetails in his monograph
around, breast high, with fifteenth century mosaic tiles treating of it; to elaborateon this would be out of place.
from Isfahan, an incomparablecomplete dado of alternat- Nevertheless it is to be stressedthat the visitor who enters
ing vivid star-formsin brilliantblues and blacks and palm- this maze of yellow granite columns is standing in a con-
ettes of top-heavy loveliness scintillatingly growing from fine where an active, vital religion, not so long ago, was
small vases, all against a turquoise background. Even practiced. And despite the florid and exhuberantcharacter
today in Isfahan such an ensemblewould be hard to equal, of the sculpturewhich impressesone as particularlyharmoni-
outside of the old establishedmosques. Above this dado ous with the splendid burgeoning of all the countryside-
are spaces for dignified and important Persian carpets. there is a greatnessand dignity in all the major parts that
is inescapable.
A side gallery to the right of the Persian Tile Gallery
houses as its chief featurethe large stucco wall from Rayy, Next there is a small gallery which leads one from India
dated in the twelfth century and depicting King Tughril into China and houses a number of the Museum's quality
and his court; it is one of the most importantstucco sculp- possessions ranging from Chinese prehistoryto the begin-
tures ever to have been exported from Persia. The other nings of the T'ang Dynastyin the early seventh centuryof
walls of the gallery display valuable examples of Persian our era. The feature of this gallery is the set of engraved
textiles as well as samples of the Museum's choice collec- slabs from a tomb; fifteen in all, they not alone represent
tion of Persianceramicsvaryingin date from the thirteenth the apogee of late sixth centurydecorativeChinese art, but
to the seventeenth centuries, giving an indication of the as well give us a clue to what must have been the high
achievementsof the Persianpotter, master of varied glazes quality of Chinese drawing in this distant epoch, of which
and varioustechniques. no originals are extant.


Given by
EdwardB. Robinette

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The cases in this gallery contain specimensof choice Bud- orate brass hinges was lately given to the Museum by Mr.
dhist sculpture in pearly white marble, and bronzes of A. W. Bahr; the other of black lacquer,similarlydecorated,
out-of-the-ordinaryinterest, all dating from the eras just was acquired from the collection of Mr. Owen Roberts.
precedingthe T'ang Dynasty.
For the opening exhibition these cupboards have been
The next room is perhaps the high spot of this file of equipped with interior lights, and are literally resplendent
unusual galleries: it is a great hall of the first half of the with a choice selection of the sumptuousporcelainsbelong-
seventeenth century brought from its original site in Pek- ing to the collections of General and Mrs. William Crozier
ing. The palace of which it constitutedthe centralunit was of Washington. It is seldom that museum visitors ever
known as Chao Kung Fu and was built on Ma Ta Jen have an opportunityto see concentratedsuch a splendid
Hutung by the Chief Eunuch of the last Ming Emperor, group of vases, ware dating from the Ming Dynasty
who, reputedly (and more than possibly) utilized the ser- through the reigns of K'ang Hsi and Ch'ien Lung.
vices of the imperial architects in erecting his imposing
residence. Great beams, painted with bird and flower But these still do not constitutethe high point of the ex-
panels and supported on beautifully carved polychrome hibits in the Palace Hall. Two illuminated cases house a
bracketsspan the upper part and with their sturdy minor furtherproof of Generaland Mrs. Crozier'sgenerousloans
elements indicate the great weight of the tile roof which to the Museum-sixteen huge and magnificentexamplesof
originally rested above. The majestic columns, still the crystal-carver's art, a group of objects in this gleaming
fairly well covered with their original red lacquer support semi-preciousmineral which it would be impossible else-
the beams in a harmoniousmanner,while the front facade where to duplicate.
is made up of latticed doors covered with Chinese paper
through which the illumination of the room is successfully On the floor below eight other galleries are arrangedwith
achieved by artificiallight closely simulating the effect of a comprehensiveselection from the Museum'swide collec-
a bright and sunny morning in Peking. tions of Chinese paintings, sculpture,pottery and textiles.
Some of these have been inadequately displayed at the
The Palace Hall is sparselyfurnished,which is as it should "Old Museum," Memorial Hall; others, objects acquired
be; but the quality of the furnishing is distinctly out of in yearspast have never been exhibited, and bringing them
the ordinary. Four huge kwei-tzu or cupboardsflank the all together, in logical sequence, is satisfactionindeed, to
side doorways. One pair, of red lacquer enriched with those who have long been concernedwith the slow but steady
gold and colored decorationsand embellished with elab- developmentof the PhiladelphiaMuseum'sOrientalWing.


Rare Specimens
Chinese Antique

Works of Art ANTIQUE



5 East 57th Street 48 RUE DE COURCELLES


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