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Introduction | Exhibition review by Gary Gach | The Doris Duke Collection


Asian Art Museum, San Francisco October 23, 2009 - January 10, 2010

Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam & Burma, 1775-1950, is the first exhibition of its kind to use a systematic approach to present artworks from this region and period. The exhibition features more than 140 artworks drawn exclusively from the museum’s collection, which is one of the largest and most important collections of nineteenth century Siamese and Burmese art outside of Southeast Asia. About two-thirds of the works on view were donated from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Southeast Asian Art Collection, though other donors have also been generous. The exhibition displays  ornately carved furniture, lavishly decorated miniature shrines, gilded statues, elaborately illustrated manuscripts, colorfully detailed paintings, and mirrored and bejeweled ritual objects. The Asian Art Museum organized Emerald Cities and serves as the exhibition’s exclusive venue.

(click on small images for large images with captions)


Manuscript of excerpts and illustrations

Crowned figure

Alms bowl

Scenes from the epic of Rama

Seated Buddha


Ten Previous Lives
of the Buddha

Scene from the Nimi Jataka

Prince Vessantara

Holy monk Phra

Lidded offering

Manuscript with scenes
from the Ramayana

Headdress for Rama

Headdress for Sita

Shadow puppet
of Hanuman

Shadow puppet
of Hanuman

Mythical bird-man

Mythical bird-man

Mythical wild goose

Gold bowl with garudas
and celestials


Mirror on stand

all text & images © Asian Art Museum, San Francisco


Introduction | Exhibition review by Gary Gach | The Doris Duke Collection | exhibitions