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Ceremonial alms bowl with stand
Place of Origin: Myanmar (Burma)
Date: approx. 1850-1950
Materials: Lacquered and gilded bamboo, wood and ferrous metal with mirrored and non-mirrored glass
Dimensions: H. 33 in x W. 17 in x D. 17 in, H. 83.8 cm x W. 43.2 cm x D. 43.2 cm
Credit Line: Gift from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Southeast Asian Art Collection
Department: Southeast Asian Art
Collection: Decorative Arts
Object Number: 2006.27.107.a-.e
On Display: No

Description

Label:

A variety of elaborately decorated vessels, containers, and stands were made for presenting offerings in Buddhist monasteries. Ornate betel-nut containers used at ceremonies when young men entered monasteries as novices symbolized the luxuries that the Buddha-to-be, Prince Siddhartha, willingly gave up when he embarked on his spiritual career, luxuries that candidates for the novitiate gave up when they followed his example.

This elaborate stand holds a glass bowl that is presumably a version of the ceremonial monk's alms bowl [2006.27.108.A-.C].


More Information

Exhibition History: "Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma" Asian Art Museum, October 23, 2009 - January 10, 2010

"Gorgeous", Asian Art Museum, 6/20/2014 - 9/14/2014
Additional Label:

What if we came upon this object on display at SFMOMA? Out of place, right? Its elaborate ornamentation doesn't seem "modern." It also violates a principle of much twentieth-century design: it isn't true to its materials. Its materials are not made apparent. Instead, everything is slathered over with lacquer and gilding.

But what if we were told—or imagined—an invented back story? The object was made by an eminent artist working in Paris in the 1930s. On the underside of the base is written a surrealist poem dense with references to an undersea dreamworld and ripe for Freudian interpretation.

Or what if I say that the object in fact comes from a Buddhist temple, and that the green glass bowl is a reminder of the begging bowl in which the Buddha accepted gifts of food to sustain himself? It's a symbol of his embrace of humility and nonattachment. Where we see an art object and what we are told about it have big impacts on how we react.

- FMcG ("Gorgeous" exhibition)


Label:

A variety of elaborately decorated vessels, containers, and stands were made for presenting offerings in Buddhist monasteries. Ornate betel-nut containers used at ceremonies when young men entered monasteries as novices symbolized the luxuries that the Buddha-to-be, Prince Siddhartha, willingly gave up when he embarked on his spiritual career, luxuries that candidates for the novitiate gave up when they followed his example.

This elaborate stand holds a glass bowl that is presumably a version of the ceremonial monk's alms bowl [2006.27.108.A-.C].


Exhibition History: "Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma" Asian Art Museum, October 23, 2009 - January 10, 2010

"Gorgeous", Asian Art Museum, 6/20/2014 - 9/14/2014
Expanded Label:

What if we came upon this object on display at SFMOMA? Out of place, right? Its elaborate ornamentation doesn't seem "modern." It also violates a principle of much twentieth-century design: it isn't true to its materials. Its materials are not made apparent. Instead, everything is slathered over with lacquer and gilding.

But what if we were told—or imagined—an invented back story? The object was made by an eminent artist working in Paris in the 1930s. On the underside of the base is written a surrealist poem dense with references to an undersea dreamworld and ripe for Freudian interpretation.

Or what if I say that the object in fact comes from a Buddhist temple, and that the green glass bowl is a reminder of the begging bowl in which the Buddha accepted gifts of food to sustain himself? It's a symbol of his embrace of humility and nonattachment. Where we see an art object and what we are told about it have big impacts on how we react.

- FMcG ("Gorgeous" exhibition)