Two new exhibits explore aspects of Asian culture


The San Diego Museum of Art will feature 14 objects from Xiangtangshan (pronounced “shahng-tahng-shahn”) and three related Northern Qi works of art as the only West Coast venue for the exhibition “Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan,” open Feb. 18 to May 27.

The show traces the historical origins and tragic destruction of one of the earliest and most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in China. Visitors will experience an immersive digital recreation of the caves.

Earlier this year, it was introduced at the Smart Museum at the University of Chicago, and then went on view at the co-organizing institution, the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Museum. It will close after its final stop in San Diego.

Also on exhibit through May is a traveling collection of fashionable textiles, “Dyeing Elegance: Asian Modernism and the Art of Kuboku and Hisako Takaku.” This show is on display outside of Japan for the first time at The San Diego Museum of Art.

Artist Kuboku Takaku (1908-1993) and daughter Hisako Takaku perfected the ancient technique of wax-resistant dyeing to create textile paintings, of which 71 obi (a sash), kimono, and other objects will be shown.

Takaku’s work merged Japanese subjects with cubist and modernist styles, and he was the only textile artist who effectively transitioned from the Fine Arts circles of the 1930s through 1960s into the world of high fashion for Tokyo’s elite.

His daughter Hisako is now one of the last living artists to preserve the knowledge of this painstaking dyeing technique. Her obi and kimonos continue to be among the most chic and sought-after in Japan.

If you go

What: ‘Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan’ and ‘Dyeing Elegance: Asian Modernism and the Art of Kuboku and Hisako Takaku’

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday,

noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: The San Diego Museum of Art,

1450 El Prado in Balboa Park

Admission: $4.50-$12

Culture & Cocktails: 6-10 p.m. Feb. 23

Phone: (619) 232-7931