(SEAArch) WSJ review of the Vietnamese ceramics exhibition at the Birmingham Museum

(SEAArch) WSJ review of the Vietnamese ceramics exhibition at the Birmingham Museum

‘Chinese ceramics are good for the eye; Vietnamese ceramics are good for the heart.” This sentiment from an unnamed Vietnamese scholar quoted in the catalog of “Dragons & Lotus Blossoms” should be emblazoned at the show’s entrance. There could be no better invitation to this display of Vietnamese stoneware at the Birmingham Museum of Art, one of the top such collections in the U.S. along with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Curator Donald Wood’s installation is straightforward: With few exceptions, he groups all 220-plus of the collection’s vessels and ritual ware in table-high display cases that fill nine partitioned spaces. As with all displays of ceramics, there is an inherent frustration: Our fingers can’t explore the surface of a glaze; we can’t lift a ewer and marvel at how light—and therefore thin-walled—it is; we can’...

Full article: http://www.southeastasianarchaeology.com/2012/02/16/wsj-r...

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