Tribal Trappings – Asian Ethnic Art, Artifacts, Textiles and Folk Art Tribal Trappings – Thoughts about Thailand, Chiang Mai, things tribal including textiles, artifacts and folk art <data:blog.pageTitle/>

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I just read a sad statistic: The National Museum of African Art, a part of the Smithsonian in Washington DC, has the second least number of visitors of all the museums on the Mall. I was able to visit it in 2008 and was most impressed with the quality and variety of exhibitions. There was a fabulous collection of ritual costumes in one room, and I was ecstatic to find another gallery with a show of the work of El Anatsui, one of my favorite contemporary artists. Most galleries also included free printed documentation both for adults and for children.

Their website is also very good and currently features an interesting virtual exhibition of baskets called 'Grass Roots'. From the eastern US, these baskets were made for rice cultivation and harvesting, and have designs originating in western Africa. The cross-continental links are fascinating and also make me consider all the great baskets used in Asia for this same purpose. What an interesting exhibition that would make - a comparison of baskets used by rice-growers around the world! Also on the website is the ability to explore their collections- both artifacts and photographs.

If you are in Washington DC, do put this museum on your list and give it some time. For any art lover it will be time well spent. This is a fabulous resource and deserves more attention and attendance.

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