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Asian art fair displays treasures of the East
Tim McDevitt, The Epoch Times

NEW YORK - In the Seventh Regiment Armory, at 67th Street and Park Avenue, soft Chinese flute music filters down through golden fabric panels draped from above. Elegant oversized floral displays line the carpeted walkways, and everywhere in sight is a feast of Asian art splendor. Upon entering, a life-sized figure of Maya, the mother of the Buddha, greets all visitors with a warm and demure smile. The 3rd century sculpture comes from the area that is now known as Pakistan.

With enchantment and tranquility, the International Asian Art Fair is celebrating its tenth year of showcasing the fine arts of the East. About 60 exhibitors in finely decorated booths are offering Chinese, Tibetan, Korean, Japanese and Indian artifacts from the 3rd century B.C. to the 21st century.

In addition to Maya, other religious sculptures make a prominent showing. Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and monks in meditation hail from China, Tibet, India, Cambodia and beyond. They range from the elegant and powerful 11-headed Khmer Goddess from the Wiener Gallery, New York, to the simple carved wooden Buddha of the Ming Dynasty from A & J Speelman Ltd. of London, which conveys the sublime grace of the Buddha in a quiet smile and is simply adorned with a tiny gleaming gem placed in the Buddha’s forehead. The Ming Dynasty Buddha is priced at $30,000.

The variety of art works is quite amazing- from tiny antique Chinese snuff bottles, Tibetan prayer mats, large-scale Japanese scroll paintings, and Sri Lankan watercolors, to hand-carved furniture and contemporary photography.

The majority of exhibitors are from London (as are the fair organizers, Brian and Anna Haughton) and New York, while others are from Asian galleries around the globe.

Asia week is also extending beyond the 67th Street armory to several other galleries. The Fuller Building on East 57th Street contains a dozen special exhibitions, and further downtown at the 69th Regiment Armory on 26th Street mostly smaller scale works can be found.

If you are in the collecting crowd there is ample opportunity at all the shows. At the 67th Street Fair the prices overheard, or sometimes posted, were mostly in the tens of thousands. The highest price I heard mentioned was $250,000 for a Cambodian sandstone figure of the Indian god Vishnu, from the Jonathon Tucker/Antonia Tozer Gallery of London.

There are also two additional exhibits on display. “Heavenly Earth” is a collection of contemporary ceramics from the Museum of Arts and Design. Also on display are the Oscar-winning costume designs by Tim Yap, from his work on the film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

The International Asian Art Fair continues through Wednesday. For more information call 212-472-0590.

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