Catalogue from the exhibition The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka held at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) from December 9, 2018 to June 23, 2019.
The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka accompanies the first comprehensive survey of Sri Lankan art organized by an American museum. This catalogue showcases thirty-nine objects in LACMA's rarely displayed permanent collection - one of the finest and most extensive in the U.S.- which are included in the exhibition. It also includes two introductory essays, one by Donald Stadtner presenting an overview of Buddhist practice in Sri Lanka, and one by Lakshika Senarath Gamage on the art of the Divided Kingdoms period. The image of a bejeweled isle, first invoked in ancient accounts of Sri Lanka's precious gems, inspired numerous literary descriptions of the island’s wealth and tropical beauty. The Jeweled Isle includes precious decorative objects fashioned from gold, silver, and ivory, as well as 19th-century photographs documenting Sri Lanka's extraordinary monuments, scenery, and flora. Several artworks convey the importance of sacred sites and relics in Sri Lankan Buddhist practice, while rare images of Hindu gods attest to the long and constant interaction between Sri Lanka and South India. Exquisite ivories, textiles, and furnishings further reflect nearly four centuries of European colonial presence in Sri Lanka and the dynamic interaction between local and foreign visual traditions. The exhibition presents a timely exploration and celebration of a geographically complex, ethnically diverse, and multicultural South Asian hub.
Published by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, 2018
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