asia society

Renowned Indian classical choreographers/dancers Madhavi Mudgal and Leela Samson came together on stage to share their experiences of Odissi and Bharata Natyam at Asia Society New York. Photo by Elsa Ruiz. For more information, visit:

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This is kind of late, but I finally had the time to finish editing and uploading this video up on YT for you guys! :)

During opening weekend I visited the Asia Society Museum in NYC to see for myself the wonderful gold artifacts from the Philippines that depict our rich heritage and precolonial history prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. In old Spanish texts from Francisco Alcina, the most well known chronicler of the Bisayans to Antonio Pigafetta, the scholar who joined Ferdinand Magellan when they first landed in our shores, the mention of gold was very much prevalent throughout the islands. Our ancestors, from the slaves to the nobility, wore gold, most being passed down from generation to generation as bahandi, or heirlooms. From gold necklaces, bracelets, rings, armlets, to even sashes, belts, and the hilts of their daggers were made of gold. Their religious objects from bowls to figures of deities were also intricately designed and made of gold. They would often bury these gold objects so the dead person can wear them in the afterlife. It was also a form of acceptance in the afterlife as among the Bisayans according to Francisco Alcina in his 1668 records, the god of happiness and of Saad, the resting place of the souls, once upon receiving the soul from the primordial sea goddess Magwayen on a bangka, he would ask them a question. Surrounded by the ancestors he would ask if they were that certain person who died. However if the soul did not have with them any gold or bahandi, they would not recognize them. From records we know that the Spaniards often ransacked known burial sites for the purpose of taking these gold buried with the dead.

To see the gold artifacts yourselves as well as textiles from local designers I invite anyone who can come to NYC and the Asia Society Museum to come and take a step back in time. 

The exhibit runs from September 11 2015 - January 3, 2016 and is located at:

725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021 

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Coal + Ice is a documentary photography exhibition featuring the work of 30 photographers from China, the United States, Canada, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Norway, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, whose work, brought together here, visually narrates the hidden chain of actions triggered by mankind’s use of coal.

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On September 19th, President Elbegdorj visited Asia Society in New York City and gave an all encompassing speech about Mongolia. The speech is meant for the Western crowd and is a guide to the culture, history and economic forecasts for the English speaker.

Some of the themes that the President of Mongolia touched upon were: 

- Universal Rights

- Foreign Aid

- Climate Change

- Corruption

- State Development

Some of the notable quotes: 

-When speaking about his first tasks as a minister in Mongolia, President Elbegdorj focused on “cleaning our house”

- “Once we used our horses to go around the world, now we will use your Boeings”

- “Nomadic life is an environmentally friendly life" 

The complete video is above and set off a series of news stories. On the same day, the President also gave an interview to Reuters which covered reports about the tri-city Tavan Tolgoi IPO and the 2 year license suspension. The video can be found here

The ornate set for “Recycling: Washi Tales” is designed by Kyoko Ibe, using “washi” - recycled handmade paper. The set, which takes several days to build, will be the backdrop of a performance of four tales from different periods in Japanese history. See the impressive world that Ibe has created during a performance tomorrow, March 24 at 8 PM and Friday, March 25 at 8 PM. An additional workshop with the performers will be held on Saturday, March 26 at 1 PM. Follow the link in our bio for more information about the performance and ticketing.

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Rabindranath Tagore. Untitled (Striding bird), 1928. Collection of Rabindra Bhavana

Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), a transformative figure in the modern cultural history of India, is remembered as a poet, playwright, musician, and philosopher, and is also recognized around the world as the first non-European recipient of a Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. This striking image was included in an Asia Society exhibition in 2011.

The Royal Thai Embassy and Asia Society presented a night of Thai classical dance (Khon) and Thai puppetry at Asia Society New York on Oct. 3, 2013. Photo by: Elsa Ruiz. Watch the complete performance here:

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U-Ram Choe’s ‘Guardian of the Hole’ at the Asia Society Museum (by asiasociety)


When Gold Blossoms: Indian Jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection opens tomorrow at the Asia Society, Hong Kong Center. The 180-piece exhibition offers a glimpse into Indian’s rich cultural history, focuses on Southern Indian jewellery, particularly for deities and women.

The fascination of this collection lies not only in the delicate designs and luminous gems of the jewellery, but also in the experience of the pieces which is a deeply personal one. Objects in this collection interact with the wearer. They are both shaped by, and shapers of experience.

The collection will show at its final destination in Hong Kong after touring around the States. It is hoped to educate Westerners, Asians, as well as modern Indians the Southern Indian’s age-old cultural values.

Take inspiration from the deeply spiritual jewellery collection for our S/S 14 Macro trend Next Nature.

Paper artist and designer Kyoko Ibe uses recycled handmade paper - or “washi” - to set the scene for four different tales from different periods in Japanese history in the performance piece “Recycling: Washi Tales.” The delicate and intricate set takes several days to create. See the finished product during a show on Thursday, March 24, at 8 PM, and Friday, March 25 at 8 PM. A workshop with Ibe and other performers will be held on Saturday, March 26 at 1 PM. Click the link in our bio for more information

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Optical Allusions: Modernist Art Refracted Though Iran’s Mirrored Shrines

In a hybrid language where East meets West, and Pop and Op come filtered through the sublime patterns of the mirrored glass shrines of Shiraz, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian creates her dazzling refractions.

The artist, now living in her native Iran after years in the States, took classes at Cornell and Parsons, befriended the Abstract Expressionists, studied with Milton Avery, and collaborated with Warhol. 

Seeing the Shah Cheragh Shrine in Shiraz, which she visited with Robert Morris and Marcia Hafif in 1966, was transformative for Farmanfarmaian. A champion and collector of local fok art, she forged a personal language that infuses traditional forms of reverse-glass painting with geometric and gestural abstraction.

Now around 90, Farmanfarmaian maintains an active career. A show of her recent work just opened at Haines Gallery in San Francisco. She also has five pieces in Iran Modern, at the Asia Society in New York. One is  a small mirror she exchanged as a gift  with Andy Warhol.

Read more in “Ten Tough Women Artists Who Stand Up to the Bad Boys,” at 

From Top: Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Untitled, 1977, mirror, reverse-glass painting and plaster on wood. COURTESY ZAHRA FARMANFARMAIAN. PHOTO JOSHUA SAGE. Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Untitled, ca. 1975–1976, mirror, reverse-glass painting, plaster, and wood. PRIVATE COLLECTION.