Monday, March 23, 2009

Tang Dynasty Camel and Rider

It is hard not to obsess about a work like this, seen recently at the Met museum. The photos I managed to get of it, I'll admit, are an affront. It didn't help that this beast and his rider are backed into a glass case that prevents really seeing it in 3-D. No wonder the camel is freaking out! It is an earthenware funerary sculpture from around the 8th century. Every part of this work shows gorgeous attention to detail, and the dynamism of the movement is thrilling. The Asian galleries are always peaceful and quiet; coming upon this sculpture can startle you a bit. It seems to have a story to tell you, and it seems like it is rushing toward you with that in mind. It is the kind of great work that will have you looping back through galleries after you have moved on to look again at how it is put together. I almost cropped this first image to remove the glare from my flash ( which shouldn't have been on at all ), but then decided I would imagine it as a hot desert sun beating down on this nomadic group.

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