This exhibition was inspired by James Cone’s book The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Cone says that one can not understand the cross unless they understand the lynching tree. This focuses on the humanity of those suffering; the humanity remains after torture or murder. Most of the works in this exhibition were shown in New York City in 1935 in two separate exhibitions. At that time the organizers hoped to put an end to lynching. Eighty three years later many in this country have forgotten the more than 4000 lynchings that took place all over United States. With so many Black Americans in prison, living in poverty and having their voting rights stripped away, it is useful to revisit some of the suffering experienced. Knowledge is the first step toward healing.
In the Main Gallery: The story of the poet Lady Wenji is a sad and haunting one.She was kidnapped by nomads and spent 12 years in captivity. During that time the poetess bore two children to the nomad chief. When she was finally ransomed she had to leave the two children behind. Lady Wenji lived at the end of the Han Period. During the Tang Period poems were found said to be her work. In the Northern Song Period another poet wrote the eighteen “songs”. One thousand years after the abduction, in the Ming Period, a beautiful scroll of the eighteen scenes was created accompanied by the poem for each scene.
Episode 13 poem, The Departure:
My children pull at my clothes, one on either side;
I cannot take them with me, hut in leaving them behind, how I shall miss them!
To return home and to depart in sorrow; my emotions are mixed.
Now I must abandon my children in order to return home.
Across ten thousand miles of mountains and rivers, I shall arrive at our border stations.
Once having turned away, forever there shall be no news from my children.
With tear-stained face I turn toward the setting sun;
All day long I have stood there, looking to the south and then to the north.
Met Publication of Song Dynasty Scroll: Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute, The Story of Lady Wen-chi.A Fourteenth Century Handscroll in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Robert A. Rorex and Wen Fong.New York, New York Graphic Society, 1974. Poem by Liu Shang. Translation by Robert A. Rorex and Wen Fong.
This exhibit occupies the entire space of the upper gallery. The first floor is dedicated to telling the story of the development of the Buddhist mandala over a period of time in a series of caves at Ellora. The groupings of Buddhas, Bodhissatvas and other figures was worked out in caves such as these and Ellora is the most compete record. The second floor includes the remarkable Cave 16 of Shiva that was completely excavated from a rock hill. It is the largest such temple in existence. After viewing the Buddhist caves, the viewer will notice similarities since some of the workman moved on from the Buddhist to the “Hindu”. The second part of the second floor show Jain art and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with the tirthagathas. It is remarkable that the devotees of three great Indian religions were able to coexist peacefully at Ellora and share in the stylistic developments and the artisans.
In the main building, view the Shanameh exhibit at the entrance. This exhibit continues into the Japanese Building opposite the entrance to the main museum with the romance of Zal and Raduba.
On the north end of the main building is the mosque exhibit moved from the previous museum.
The teleport board will allow one to teleport to the Bodhisattva exhibit in Mieum. This exhibit was moved from the old Museum of Sacred Art to this permanent loction when the old museum closed. It is the most visited of the museum exhibits.
There is a upper gallery where a new exhibit is being prepared. More on that soon.
A new exhibit is in preparation with the working title of “Picturing Literature”. There also is a new working name for the museum: “Museum of Sacred and Profane Art”. Please check back in the next couple of months for an update and a site.