Taoist Gallery Walk
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
21 Prospect Street
The Year of China hosted a special Taoist Gallery Walk that included exhibitions on display at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology and RISD Museum of Art. This walk was free and open to the public.
The walk began at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Manning Hall, 21 Prospect Street, with the exhibition, Taoist Gods from China: Ceremonial Paintings from the Mien. Visitors had the opportunity to explore rare Taoist ceremonial paintings from the Museum's collection dating to the 17th century and talk with curator Thierry Gentis.
The Mien, one of the many hill-tribes who inhabit South China, North Vietnam, Laos and Northern Thailand, have adhered for centuries to an early southern school of Chinese Taoism. This ancient Taoist tradition, differs significantly from the Taoist practice found in most parts of China, although it still exists in some parts of Taiwan and among a few Chinese communities in Southern China. In this early Taoist tradition, paintings play a central role in religious practices and serve as the abode of the gods.
Next, participants visited the RISD Museum of Art at 224 Benefit Street to view exhibition From the Land of the Immortals: Chinese Taoist Robes and Textiles. Populated with Immortals and Taoist symbols of the cosmos, these garments and textiles burst with the energy of fine craftsmanship and the complexities of religious iconography. From the “peaches of immortality” to the recurring symbols of the hare mixing the “elixir of immortality” (moon) and the three-legged crow (sun), motifs in the textile medium are interpreted in the context of Taoist cosmology and ritual practice.
Exhibition co-curators Kate Irvin, curator and department head of the RISD Museum’s Costumes + Textiles department, and RISD Associate Professor History of Arts + Visual Culture Paola Demattè, then spoke about the exhibition and answered questions.
Both exhibits were on display through April 22, 2012.
Taoist Gallery Walk