Since I wrote my Ackland Art Museum blog mainly on art that I did not like, I decided that it would be nice to discuss the exhibition that I enjoyed most. Color Across Asiacaptivated me in ways that much of modern art does not. I love traveling and visiting historically significant sites and cities. I have had amazing experiences in North and South America, Europe, Australia and surrounding islands, but I have not yet had the pleasure of going anywhere in Asia. Ironically, that is the continent with a richer history than maybe anywhere else in the world.
Color Across Asia allowed me to get up close to some of the kinds of things I would like to go to there to see, and all within walking distance from my small apartment in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It really is amazing to me what people could do in that day and age with the technology, or lack-there-of, that they had to work with. The fact that all the hand-made ornate clothing and china and tools in the exhibit comes from thousands of years ago is incredible. The talents required to do these things is extremely rare today, if even still in existence, in some cases. To weave gold into a dress and to flawlessly form metals and jewels into artistic pieces and ceremonial garb and jewelry is something that should always been respected and admired, as I do not think we’ll see anything like it again.
Aside from the fact that there are few, if any, people on this earth that possess the skills needed to do this work, many of the natural resources we marvel at in these artifacts have been depleted far from a point that allows use of said resources to be financially possible. To use so much gold and jewels and silk in today’s world would be so expensive that most of us could not afford these items before the cost of labor and everything else is factored in.
Another aspect of this exhibit that I think is worth mentioning is how amazing it is that we are able to recover all these artifacts, and in such pristine condition. Even if slight restorations have to be done, whoever takes care of that did a great job with these pieces. It almost looks as if these ancient materials are brand new. The Ackland Art Museum did a wonderful job of getting this collection in, and I truly felt fortunate to be viewing it all.