Global Lives of Objects

USD $34.95



ISBN: 978-1-913875-32-9

248 pages

254 x 229 mm, (9 x 10 in)

150 colour illustrations

In association with the National Museum of Asian Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.

May 2023


A richly illustrated volume that features 33 short essays, each taking a single object as a starting point to unravel complex, interconnected histories.

“Global Lives of Objects’ shines light on lesser-known Asian masterpieces”—Wylie Wong, International Examiner

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In celebration of the centenary in 2023 of the National Museum of Asian Art, Washington, DC, this new volume explores a range of artistic, historical, and technical exchanges that shaped the arts of Asia and late nineteenth-century America, through the juxtaposition of object based, localized micro-histories. Written by curators, scientists, conservators and other museum staff, this multifaceted work explores issues of the circulation of materials, objects and technology which have long predated the contemporary period. This approach encourages readers to appreciate well known masterpieces as well as lesser known and unpublished works from a new perspective and focus on networks of artistic, cultural and historical connections that shaped their meaning and significance.

This publication is a thought-provoking, engaging and accessible volume that will appeal to those with an interest in the arts of Asia, from Turkey to Japan and in all media, as well as those readers with an appreciation for late nineteenth-century American art.

Author biographies

Authors: Massumeh Farhad is the Ebrahimi Family Curator of Persian, Arab, and Turkish Art, Chief Curator, and the Senior Associate Director for Research, National Museum of Asian Art.

Sana Mirza is Head of the Scholarly Programs and Publications Department, National Museum of Asian Art.

Table of Contents

  • Preface by Chase F. Robinson, director
  • Introduction by Massumeh Farhad and Sana Mirza
  • 1 Itinerant Trajectories by Ellen Chase and Soon Kai Poh
    2 Casting the Hidden Knife by Donna Strahan
    3 Following Smoke Trails by Joanna M. Gohmann
    4 Cultural Entanglements by Antonietta Catanzariti
    5 A Bittersweet Consolation by Najiba H. Choudhury
    6 A Traveler’s Well-Traveled Object by Keith Wilson and Janet Douglas
    7 Painting at the Crossroads by Jennifer Giaccai
    8 A Divine Assembly by Emma Natalya Stein
    9 On the River by Stephen Allee
    10 Praying in a Dream by Frank Feltens
    11 Afterlives of a Prince by Frank Feltens
    12 Noblesse Oblige by Simon Rettig and Janet O’Brien
    13 Jizō Under the Microscope by Andrew Hare and Jiro Ueda
    14 Made for a Mongol Queen by Simon Rettig
    15 On the High Seas by Sana Mirza
    16 Evolving Identity by Blythe McCarthy and Louise Allison Cort
    17 Frolicking Dragons from China to Japan by Jan Stuart
    18 A Sybil Comes East by Massumeh Farhad
    19 An Eye to the Future by Massumeh Farhad
    20 A Grand Gift by Jan Stuart
    21 Aesthetic Intersections by Sol Jung
    22 Imagined Journeys by Debra Diamond
    23 A Portrait’s Secret Uncovered by Jennifer Giaccai
    24 A Persian Journey Box by Simon Rettig
    25 Sumptuous Surroundings by Diana Greenwold
    26 Staging the Chinese Immigrant Experience by Kerry Roeder
    27 Finding the Global in the Local by Kerry Roeder
    28 Shining Examples by Diana Greenwold
    29 For the Love of Ceramics by Lisa Fthenakis
    30 Mapping the Journey of a Lifetime by Kit Brooks
    31 Emptiness in Excess by Frank Feltens
    32 Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Kit Brooks
    33 Sent a Letter by Carol Huh
  • Contributors
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Index
  • Image Credits