WELCOME BACK. I have been truly heartened to see museums reopen and begin to bring visitors back in safe, if limited, ways. I recognise how challenging it has been to live with continued uncertainty, and hope that our readers and their loved ones are safe and well.
For the November–December 2020 issue, our 300th edition and the last of our 50th anniversary year, I am delighted to present superb articles on Himalayan art, including the lead article on the Zhiguan Museum of Fine Art in Beijing. This private museum houses one of the most important collections of Himalayan art in the world, encompassing thangka textiles and paintings, as well as sculptures from Gandhara, northern India, Pakistan’s Swat District, Kashmir, Nepal, Tibet and Chinese imperial statues. Dedicated to the preservation, promotion and research of Himalayan art, the museum strives to strengthen the community of museums, private collections and educational institutions, both in China and internationally.
In collaboration with the Palace Museum in Beijing, the Zhiguan Museum presented the first comprehensive exhibition on Himalayan art in China, titled “The Light of Buddha”, in October 2018. It assembled 112 exquisite sculptures from the former imperial collection at the Palace Museum, the Zhiguan Museum of Fine Art and other private collections in China. Dating from the 4th to the 15th century, these sculptures illuminate the development of Tibetan art in the larger context of Himalayan art. The Rubin Museum of Art in New York also presented a special exhibition, “Treasures from the Zhiguan Museum”, from March 2019 to March 2020.
Looking to the future, the Zhiguan Museum’s founder, Mr Li Huang Wai, stated that the museum is dedicated to hosting and organising exhibitions and seminars to promote Himalayan art and academic exchange. He will continue to enrich the breadth and excellence of the collection.
I would like to congratulate Rose Kerr, our contributing editor, on the new bilingual edition of her Song Dynasty Ceramics. This beautiful book highlights some 126 objects from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s magnificent collection in discussing China’s Great Age of ceramic production (960–1279). Ceramics from this era have always been prized, by both Asian and Western collectors, for their purity of form and glaze and their inventiveness of decoration. This long-awaited survey is illustrated with many of the very finest examples of Song ware in the Western world. Rose has travelled to China annually and has brought together in this book the fruits of her research, much of it now published for the first time in both English and Chinese. To learn more about the book, please visit www.cabookpublishing.hk.
Finally, I would like to draw attention to the Saleroom News article by Robert Bradlow, “A Tumultuous Year and the Global Landscape of Online Sales”, in which he provides a fascinating insight into how the auction business has been affected by the global pandemic this year, and how auction houses have successfully adapted their online offerings: apparently a true turning point in the global online sales of Asian art.
Another year has quickly passed, and I would like to thank all of our authors and advertisers for their contributions during this difficult year. Let me now take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and New Year, and hopefully better times in 2021.
Please click here to view the contents of this issue.