Sunday, July 24, 2016

Event 2: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

       When I was in New York with my family, we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art together. The Met has the largest collection of arts from all over the world in the US. I think it is worthy to spend some time in this museum if you visit NYC.

My grandparents and I were relaxing in front of the Met.

       In the museum, we saw a great deal of historical and contemporary exhibits from Egypt, Europe, Asia, etc. There were paintings, sculptures, historical relics and many forms of presentation. I was most interested in the bronze wine vessels, the Altar Set, from China. Back when I was studying in China, we learned about the wine culture in Shang Dynasty. The emergence of wine culture also pushed forward the development of bronze wares. Just like the arts inspired by and integrated with culture and technology at their time that we discussed throughout the course, the bronze ware culture was greatly affected by the wine culture.

       The guide introduced to us that the Altar Set is the only complete set of bronze wine vessels in the museums all over the world. This not only makes it special, but also provide a comprehensive view of the wine culture and the associating rituals and technology. For example, some of the bronze wares can not only be used to contain wine, but can also be used as the sacrificial vessels in the royal fetes. Moreover, some of these vessels were designed as warmer and freezer for the wine. What is interesting is that there were designs that prevent people from getting too drunk by making it hard to pour a lot of wine from the cup, which was both aesthetic and functional.  

       Another exhibit I want to talk about is the wall painting of the Buddha of Medicine. This wall painting was collected earlier by purchasing from the abbot of the temple where the wall painting was originally from. Since the temple was about to be teared down, the abbot wanted to preserve this wall painting and decided to sell it. Later, this painting has been constantly restored to get back to the appearance which we can see today. This story brings up a very controversial question: whether to keep the art works where they were originally from but let them fade away, or to collect them and provide careful preservation and restoration? I think this can be a really interesting topic to discuss.

       Finally, for those of you who enjoys painting. Another famous attraction in The Met is the self portrait of Vincent van Gogh. The Met is very large, don't miss this if you ever visit.

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