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Madame Song as Puyi’s mother, Youlan, with some of the cast from The Last Emperor (1987)

Madame Song: A Chinese Love Story
It is impossible to write about the Bulgarian artist Maryn Varbanov (1932-1989) without writing about his wife Song Huai-Kuei (1937-2006), too. They became lovers in an austere Beijing in the 1950s. He was an ambitious tapestry artist who went on to make his reputation in Europe. She, equally ambitious, would become the glamorous figure known as Madame Song, who for 30 years was Pierre Cardin’s business muse helping him establish the Cardin fashion brand in China and establishing his restaurant Maxim’s Beijing, in the 1980s. The story of their forbidden love affair is one of intrigue, deception, and triumph over cultural adversity in a country that forbade mixed marriages…

 

THE PRINTS OF ITO SHINSUI

The prints designed by Japanese artist Ito Shinsui (1898-1972) feature traditional subjects, bold colours, and realism that went beyond 19th-century norms, a combination that achieved remarkable commercial success. In his homeland his reputation rested upon his paintings (from his later years), but Shinsui’s technically accomplished prints were hugely popular overseas, which encouraged him to design works specifically for foreign audiences
Ito Shinsui was born in Tokyo to a relatively wealthy merchant family. When he was around nine years old, however, his father’s business failed, and Shinsui left school to work at a printing factory …

 

Before-Mirror

Before the Mirror (July 1916) by Ito Shinsui 44.2 × 29.3 cm. Bequest of Henry C Schwab, Art Institute of Chicago. The print is inscribed with the word shihitsu (trial drawing), marking this work as the first collaboration between Ito Shinsui and the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo, who had spotted the artist’s painting of this image and approached him to be a partner

Thai-Manuscript

Manuscript with scenes of combat from the Thai version of the Ramayana, circa 1800-1840, Central Thailand, pigments and gold on paper. Gift from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Southeast Asian Art Collection

Emerald City: Arts of Siam and Burma
This exhibition of the arts of Siam and Burma was held at the Asian Art Museum (AAM) in San Francisco and mainly featured the donation from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation of Southeast Asian art.
Doris Duke (1912-1993) was the only child of James Buchanan Duke, a founder of the American Tobacco Company and Duke Energy Company, and a benefactor of Duke University …

 

LIFE IN EDO: JAPANESE PRINTS
In commemoration of the 55th anniversary of Singapore-Japan Diplomatic Relations, the Asian Civilisations Museum has organised a joint exhibition of Edo-period prints and Singaporean photographer Russel Wong’s series that focuses on life in Kyoto.
Presented in two parts, each spotlights different periods and themes of Japan. The first, Life in Edo, explores the lifestyles and fashions of the later Edo period (1603-1868), often thought of as the final era of traditional Japan, through a display of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. The second is the display Russel Wong in Kyoto, a selection of photographs of the former imperial capital, which looks at the beauty of nature and architecture …

Geiko-Fukune-with-her-tea-bowl-Russel-Wong

Geiko Fukune with her tea bowl from the Waraku kiln. Kyoto, Nashinoki Shrine, 2020, archival pigment print on photo rag. Photo courtesy of Russel Wong

Asian and Islamic Works of Art

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The latest shows from around the world

GALLERY SHOWS
  • THE MAGIC OF EXPLORATION

    THE MAGIC OF EXPLORATION

    From biennials and triennials to art summits, fairs, and cultural tours  – countless art events now dot the globe and compete for attention and …Read More »
OBJECT OF THE MONTH
  • July 2021

    July 2021

    Lacquer Offering Stand from Okinawa This lacquer offering stand from Okinawa comes from the Ruyuku Kingdom (1429–1879), which controlled an extensive maritime trade network …Read More »
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