Exploring Sight and Sound and Architectural Spaces in Asian Art

The latest installations of Asian art explore allusions to music in Chinese painting, as well as the role of architecture in South Asian painting.

Sight and Sound in Chinese Painting

A gallery installation with a rectangular, covered display case in the foreground that holds three artworks. To the left, two paintings hang on tan walls with a panel of text in between them. In the background, dark gray walls feature framed paintings and two display cases with musical instruments.

The engrossing visual world depicted in many Chinese paintings often contains references to sound, whether music, singing, or leaves rustling in the wind. Artistic representations of instruments like the zither (qin) and the flute (changdi) illustrate the perennial importance of music in Chinese culture, long valued as a ritual and court activity as well as a means of personal expression and self-cultivation.

Architectural Spaces in South Asian Art

A gallery installation with framed paintings on walls and on platforms and other objects in glass covered display cases throughout the space.

South Asian painters included architectural spaces in their works to serve varied purposes. Some of the buildings shown are real locations, such as the Taj Mahal, while others are imagined yet illustrate types of architecture, spaces, and materials found in different parts of the vast Indian subcontinent. The 18th- and 19th-century paintings on view represent public and private areas at courts throughout India, evoking the grandeur of royal spectacles or the pleasures of quiet moments. 

This display is on view in the museum’s second-floor Asian art galleries through May 2024.