After twenty years of pushing, Nancy Tingley, is finally entitled to celebrate. It all began in 1988, when the then curator of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco first travelled to Vietnam to borrow some of the country’s ancient art for an exhibition in America. It was a rather farfetched goal, considering the United States had a very general idea about Vietnam: America fought the country in a war.
Eventually, that pungent opinion settled down enough for the Asia Society Museum to announce the new exhibition:”Arts of Ancient Vietnam: From River Plain to Open Sea,” a gallery of ancient artifacts, preserved through the millennia.
Four-Hundred pound ritual drums, pounded from bronze by Dong Son artists exemplify the creative vitality of a country, which basically had it’s doors held open for visitors. The 2,000-mile coastline, in combination with a narrow interior – sometimes less than 40 miles across – has made Vietnam quite vulnerable throughout history.
Chinese influence, reflected by the metalwork, shifts with the rise of Fu Nan in the Mekong Delta. They brought a blend of Buddhist and Hindu teachings, which manifests in portrayals of Vishnu, Ganesha and Shiva, three highly adored hindu gods.
Ms. Tingley has brought the far corner of Southeast Asia to America, and the exhibition is an important step in the destruction of country boundaries, and the desegregation of culture in the world.