Yesterday I had a rendez-vous at the German Generalkonsulat which is located across town from us in the 16th arrondissement. Two metro rides and a short hike later we were thoroughly security-checked and relieved of our cell phones, before sitting down to conduct business through a plate glass window. Everything was very well organized – what else, we all have a Prussian bureaucrat lurking in our hearts, right? – and we were back on the sizzling sidewalks in a flash.
It was so hot that we had to deploy our true and trusted sightseeing method of visiting were the shadow might lead us. Nevertheless, we soon had hallucinations of a colorful cow and oversized red lacquer candy, and a veritable jungle contained in an upstairs greenhouse. I even had double vision there for a minute.
Slowly and sweatily we made our way through Avenue Malakoff, across Avenue Foch, around Place Victor Hugo along Rue Boissière, across Avenue Kléber and Place Marlène Dietrich. We passed a few embassies, a Russian Cultural Center, a whole row of tile stores, a multitude of workshops, ateliers, and galleries, and numerous beautiful buildings. Step by labored step we worked our way closer to the Seine, where we hoped to find a shaded café terrace with a cool drink and a view of the Eiffel Tower, maybe. Just as we approached Place d’Iéna, we noticed the striking corner building housing the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet. Not knowing what a Guimet is when it’s home, we decided to check out the museum. WOW!!
We were especially fortunate to experience the magnificent temporary installation in the rotunda under the cupola called “Carte Blanche à Shouchiku Tanabe”, giving a free hand to Shouchiku. Tanabe Shouchiku III [small bamboo, 3rd of this name] is a fourth generation Japanese bamboo artist. Next year he will be renamed Tanabe Chikuunsai IV [bamboo cloud, 4th of this name]. Please click on the link above and look at the 17 images of his amazing ‘traditional’ weavings, there is also a short bio. To my mind, he is already a bamboo cloud master!
The museum offers a further four floors of mesmerizing exhibits. We spent hours absorbing as much as possible until exhaustion forced us to leave all these treasures behind and finally go for that drink.
There are thousands of artifacts on display centering on what we now call Afghanistan, China, India, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Pakistan & Tibet, plus subgroups of the Himalayas, you will also find special sections on textiles, porcelains, glass, religion, et cætera. All I can say is, should you find yourselves in Paris, don’t miss the Mnaag!
Lions were popular during the ages, often used as tomb guardians. As were dogs, apparently.
and more fantastic creatures as well.
And then there are the horses, so many beautiful horses.
A Tibetan ink drawing was intriguing, not just for its own merit, but because of an annotation on it. Who left that little note, I wonder?
Lastly, I’ll leave you with the remarkable image of a contemporary artist, Liu Dan, who drew the sunflower below in the Chinese tradition of monochrome ink on paper. The monumental head of the flower contains a microcosm of landscapes. With his sunflower, Liu paid homage to van Gogh. He finished his work with a transcription of a letter van Gogh wrote to his brother upon leaving for the Provence in 1888:
“My dear Theo, I’m going to Arles. I’ll write when I arrived there. I hung some of my paintings on the wall so you won’t forget me.”