Exhibition: Pagodas In Quebec

Christopher Benfey writes: ‘A taste for Asian things is often associated with Commodore Matthew Perry’s “opening” of Japan in 1853-1854, and the subsequent vogue, among French Impressionist painters and American architects, for the beguiling asymmetries and exquisite workmanship of a half-imagined East. But a horizon-expanding exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, a historic hub of international trade, shows that the prodigious appetite for Asian luxury goods—graceful porcelain jars, gilded folding screens, shimmering lacquered chests, colorful Indian bedspreads—began centuries earlier, in a Pacific pivot that long preceded Commodore Perry and President Barack Obama, and with startling aesthetic results. Spanning the seventeenth to the early nineteenth century, the show brings together nearly one hundred objects in every medium imaginable, including feathers and seashells, from four continents.’

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