Jades at WAM
Post #906 • November 13, 2006, 10:48 AM • 3 Comments
Worcester, MA — Two central Massachusetts donors bequeathed collections of Chinese jades to the Worcester Art Museum during the 1990s, adding to its already appreciable holdings of such works. Consequently, Mountain Harvests: Chinese Jades and Other Treasured Stones at the WAM may be the largest exhibition of its kind on display in America at the moment. They don't inspire criticism so much as drooling. Semiprecious stones that would be difficult to carve with modern tools, much less bow drills, transform under the artisans' hands into objects so intricate as to defy technical explanation. Some of the larger stones represent whole dioramas of Taoist-inspired nature scenes, complete with figural narratives. Did you know that you can carve quartz? You can, apparently, resulting in stone sculptures as clear as water. Although there are some older jade circles and ceremonial knives, most of the objects hail from the Qing, the dynasty in which this art reached its pinnacle. The assertive patterns within the stones play against the stylized illusionism of the carving, inspiring a kind of visual double-entendre, and the commensurate delight.