East meets West

By GREG COOK  |  March 24, 2009

Curators Noriko Murai of Temple University and the Gardner's Alan Chong re-create the feel of that room with their jewel-box installation. It reflects Gardner's typical eclecticism — snarling shaggy 15th-century Japanese wooden fu dogs, tiny silver and enamel 19th-century Chinese opium boxes, an 18th-century Japanese writing box dazzlingly decorated with gold and silver palms, a 19th-century Indian box intricately decorated with silver floral interlace, a 17th-century Japanese screen depicting scenes from The Tale of Genji. Gardner's Martha Stewart side comes out in a (re-created) door that she decorated with 24 woodblocks — not the prints, the blocks themselves, which intrigue with their intricate carving.

The black gallery walls and spotlights give everything a feel of majesty and reverence. And draw your eye to a 17th-century gilded-bronze Chinese Buddha seated on a lotus-leaf throne. He's awesomely calm.

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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