Monday, February 27, 2006
Elephants on Parade
Every six months or so, the Asian Art Museum takes a small room between the Korean and Japanese galleries, and turns it into a curated "theme" room with so far not very interesting results.
Previously, the theme was Shadows and Masks: Performance Something-or-Other.
Presently the room is devoted to mostly East Indian representations of elephants.
I don't usually covet objects in museums particularly, but this elephant rug is an exception.
There is a great West Coast science-fiction writer named John Varley whose future tales are set after superior aliens arrive on Earth to communicate with intelligent life. However, that category consists of whales and dolphins. Humans are regarded as ants, who are quickly forced into outer-space exile in underground shelters on the moon.
It was probably just an oversight on Varley's part, but my version of the tale would include elephants along with whales and dolphins as earth's wise, beautiful, intelligent life.
In India, elephants have long been worshiped, decorated, and even turned into warriors.
Though there's absolutely nothing Asian about it...
...I still longed to see a large blow-up of the great "Dovima with Elephants" photo, one of my favorite images in the world.