Posted: Friday, October 9, 2015
The exhibition Kongo: Power and Majesty (on view through January 3, 2016) culminates with an astonishing display of fifteen N'kisi Nkondi Mangaaka power figures—the result of an eight-year research project that began with the Metropolitan's acquisition of its own example in 2008. On permanent display at the entrance to the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, this work is presented for the first time with fourteen of the greatest examples drawn from international collections in Berlin, Leipzig, Liverpool, Mainz, Manchester, Paris, Rome, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, Tervuren (Belgium), and Zug (Switzerland), as well as American institutions in Dallas and Detroit.
Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2015
As conservators and conservation scientists, we are responsible for the technical examination of works of art here at the Met. When Matt Saba, an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Islamic Art, asked us to work with him to investigate the original function and decoration of a tenth-century relief panel (fig.1), we were thrilled to undertake the necessary detective work. As a result of our investigation, we learned that the panel was once part of an architectural element, but also that the partially surviving polychrome decoration was applied after the panel was removed from its original context and repurposed.
Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Two years ago, during my time as a visiting scholar in the Met's Department of Scientific Research, I took advantage of the opportunity to spend time in the Museum's galleries. I had been particularly fascinated by the small but extremely interesting gallery dedicated to the archaeological excavation of Nishapur, Iran (gallery 452), the objects of which were of high aesthetic quality and displayed incredibly skillful craftsmanship.
Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Now on display in gallery 464 are two Indian textile fragments from the late seventeenth century that feature a repeating pattern of poppy flowers. Due to the fragility of the textile's border and the need for extensive conservation work, this installation marks the first time these textiles have been on display since they entered the Metropolitan Museum's collection in 1982.
Posted: Monday, August 17, 2015
What do you do when you have a Renaissance masterpiece in a truly cheap, junky, modern frame? You travel to Florence and have a handcrafted copy made of an original one.
Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015
What began as a casual conversation between Marco Leona, David H. Koch Scientist in Charge of the Met's Department of Scientific Research, and Carol Stringari, Deputy Director and Chief Conservator of the Guggenheim Foundation, has grown over the past ten months into an unprecedented collaboration aiming to advance the role of science within curatorial and conservation-based scholarship at both institutions. The partnership—described in detail on the Guggenheim's blog—has established a framework for scientific research within the Guggenheim conservation studio by creating a position for the first scientist on staff and granting access to the Met's fully equipped chemical laboratories and advanced analytical instrumentation. Conservators and scientists from the two museums are currently sharing resources, identifying projects of mutual interest, and jointly studying objects in their respective collections.
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2015
This album contains ten dazzling pages of calligraphic samples written by Shaikh Hamdullah ibn Mustafa Dede, one of the most celebrated Turkish calligraphers. Designed and assembled with great sensitivity to the creation of directional visual energy, the album's complex borders of marbled and dyed papers honor, wrap around, and frame magnificently fluid calligraphic samples. Each page is constructed with a structurally similar layout: large, horizontally placed thuluth or muhaqqaq script serve as headings, while lines of a smaller naskh script are set below, running either horizontally or diagonally. On some pages, small floral medallions are painted in gold, each petal containing green, blue, and red dots, with organic glazes of orange-red pin pricks impressed in clusters of three.
Posted: Friday, June 5, 2015
During the earliest stages of conceptualizing the Sacred Traditions of the Himalayas exhibition, on view through June 14, I went through the Metropolitan Museum's holdings and came across a stunning body of jewelry that came to the collection in 1915. As the Department of Asian Art is celebrating its centennial this year, I was excited to have the opportunity to present the very first Himalayan works to come into our collection—the first of many works acquired beginning exactly one hundred years ago.
Posted: Friday, May 22, 2015
Archaeological objects and works of art in museum collections are not only treasured for their aesthetic qualities, but are also repositories of invaluable information, often concealed at a first sight, about the civilizations that created them. Among the many beautiful pieces in the collection of the Met's Department of Egyptian Art, it is interesting to note one modest stone fragment (fig.1), the scientific investigation of which has provided a clue that could solve a long-time debate among Egyptologists and historians of technologies: the use of high-performance abrasives.
Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015