Museum Object Info Paper
What do a statue, figurine, and pair of earrings got in common? On September 6, 2012 I visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art to study Asian works of art. It was my first time at the museum. I was to see how the works of art would be displayed in the museum setting versus how they were originally intended to be used or seen. I could not believe how many different pieces of art they had on display from many different cultures. After looking at and reading about many works of art, there were three that caught my interest: The Jizo figurine, Avalokitesvara statue and Pambadam earrings. These are all sacred and held spiritual value and are highly worshiped in their culture, which is what they have in common. (MIA placard)
Pambadam earrings are a work of art from India that is dated from the 19th-20th century. (MIA placard) The artist is unknown. These earrings are solid gold with the dimensions being 2 ¼ x 2 x 2 1/8in. (MIA) Each earring is the size of a golf ball. They have several balls of all sizes, attached with an abstract design and various geometric elements on the balls, including spheres, cones, and arches. (MIA) The front was the face of a snake detailed with eyes and a body that arched between the large circle balls.
In South India, snakes are worshiped as emblems of procreation and fertility. (MIA) They are worn by women who had and wanted babies. (MIA) They are found in three areas of India and are linked to symbolism and religion as well as identity. (MIA) The purpose was to be worn by women to display prestige and as an aid to fertility. (MIA) Instead they are displayed as a pair behind glass. The understanding and appreciation changes completely. They now just look like a pair of strange earrings. They show no moral value and no spiritual purpose. I believe the ethical issue is severe by displaying this object.
Avalokitesvara is a sculpture from China, Northern Chou dynasty. (MIA) This is a...