Since we started planning for Secrets of the Silk Road, almost every powerpoint presentation I’ve seen has been festooned with pictures of camels. We’ve spent many a coffee break needling over whether or not the camels peppering the latest powerpoint were Bactrians or Dromedaries. Bactrian camels have two humps! Surely, you knew that already. At [...]
The Penn Museum’s Exhibits Department has been developing the interactive features for the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibition opening February 5th! Watch this video for a sneak peek into the exhibition and click here to see photos of the department at work.
The sands of the Taklamakan Desert are forming at the Penn Museum! See how the Xiaohe burial grounds are being transported to the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibition.
The iconography of Xuanzang, and its history, is quite fascinating. Bearing the typical shaved head of a Buddhist monk, Xuanzang is depicted in our painting with a large backpack of sutras, a canopy over his head (with a hanging incense burner) and holding a scroll in his left hand and a fly wisk in [...]
The transmission of Buddhism from India to China via the Silk Road and the consequent role that Buddhism has played in shaping Chinese culture inextricably ties the histories of the two nations together. However, while many in China are aware of India’s historical past, they are not as in touch with the accomplishments of modern [...]
With the violence and religious extremism that has indelibly shaped the contemporary world’s perception of Afghanistan, it often goes unremembered that the region for centuries flourished as a cultural crossroads of trade and Buddhism along the Silk Road. Thirty kilometers (about nineteen miles) from the Afghan capital of Kabul, under layers of unexcavated earth, lays an [...]
Pullover wool dress, ca. 5th-3rd century BCE. Excavated from Tomb No. 55 of Cemetery No. 1, Zaghunluq, Charchan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. © Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum. This is one of the objects coming to the Penn Museum in the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibition in February 2011. I am trying to [...]
In my last post I introduced a Japanese painting currently hanging in the Director’s office, here is the basic information about the piece: Title: Buddha with Sixteen Benign Deities (Shaka juuroku zenshin) 釈迦十六善神 Period: Late 17th – Early 18th century Material: Ink and Color on Silk Provenience: Japan Artist: Signed Shuho What is going on [...]
Once the western oasis town that connected the Silk Road routes encircling the Taklamakan Desert, the city of Kashgar is re-emerging onto the global scene as a peculiar focus of Beijing’s “special economic” devotions. Located in the Xinjiang Autonomous region in northwest China, Kashgar is approximately 4400km from Beijing and sits at the edge of [...]
The Director’s office sees all kinds of visitors. From curators and researchers to board members and potential donors, there is a diversity of interests and topics that get addressed over light cocktails and finger foods. For this reason we have been trying to create a focal point in the room that relates to a particularly salient exhibit or [...]