Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation
April 1, 2011 – May 30, 2011
“Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation” presents for the first time a major sampling of steppe art from the renowned collections of the late Arthur M. Sackler, M.D. Curated by Trudy S. Kawami, Ph.D., Director of Research for the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, the exhibition presents eighty five works illustrating the personal decorations and equipment of the horse-riding steppe dwellers of the late second and first millennia BCE. The bronze belt buckles, plaques and weapons of these ancient horsemen are ornate, technically sophisticated, and richly patterned. Animal motifs like antlered stags, wild boars, and birds of prey are a primary theme. The exhibition reveals how these steppe cultures used the animal world as a source of symbols to indicate tribe, social rank and connection to the spirit world.
“Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands” brings to life the complex cultures that flourished across the Asian grasslands from northern China and Mongolia into eastern Europe. It shows how they influenced, and were influenced by, the culture of dynastic China, and illustrates the important role of the steppe peoples in facilitating trade and travel along the Silk Route across Asia.
The exhibition is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, New York. Arthur M. Sackler, M.D. (1913–1987), a research psychiatrist, medical publisher, connoisseur and collector of art, established the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation in 1965 to make his extensive art collections accessible to the public. The Foundation collection has more than 900 works of art including Chinese ritual bronzes and ceramics, Buddhist stone sculpture and the renowned Chu Silk Manuscript, the oldest existing Chinese written document.