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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Wu

NYC Asia Week 2016

The 2016 NYC Asia Week took place from the 10th to 19th of March. This was my 9th consecutive Asia Week and I am still impressed with all the offerings and things to do.

For those not familiar, Asia Week is an annual event held in Manhattan, with satellite events in Brooklyn and Newark. Hundreds of Asian Art lovers descend upon the city to participate in the various lectures, gallery openings, museum exhibition and auctions. The participants include over ten museums, five major auctions houses, and over 40 dealers.

I was able to stay in midtown Manhattan from the 10th to the 15th at the Shoreham Hotel. I highly recommend the hotel for its locations and deals. If you purchase four nights, the fifth is free! They are also a five-minute walk north of Christie’s and located between two subway lines. There is a also a Five Guys Burger and Katsu-Hama restaurant right next door - I think I ate at Katsu-Hama four of the six days there!

Highlights of my Asia Week include going to four consecutive opening night parties starting at Bonahm’s and then the New York Asian Art Fair, Sotheby’s and finally Christie’s. It was a great opportunity to mingle with the auction specialists and colleagues in the field such as dealers, academics and writers.

You can only spend so much time at the auction previews, so I did make some quick stops to the various museums in the city. One of my favourite destinations is the Rubin Museum of Art. They specialize in classical and modern art from the Himalayan region and just reopened their newly renovated Buddhist shrine room. The Rubin is always my go-to-place prior to important meetings in the city. I actually spent a good amount of time relaxing at the museum prior to my lecture at the Asian Art Fair.

Another museum I stopped by was the Asia Society to see the exhibition “Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan.” The show featured over thirty top-quality Buddhist sculptures from the Kamakura Period (1185-1333). These figures included monks, guardians, Buddha's, and were complemented with reliquaries, scripture and paintings.

On display at the top floor of the Asia Society were Asian Art highlights from the Mr and Mrs John D Rockefeller collection. I was able to take a photo of this exceptional Famille Rose Meiping Vase with Yongzheng six-character mark and of the period (1723-1735) (collection #1979.189). The pattern of peaches, pomegranates and loquats is extremely rare to begin with, and typically found on bowls or dishes during that time period. This is one of the few examples where the pattern is found on a vase. The meaning of the symbols include longevity for the peaches and fecundity for the pomegranates. The use of famille rose enamels to decorate the vase was an early 18th Century invention. It allowed for a greater colour palette and a much softer tones for porcelain decoration.

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