Image courtesy of Musée des Arts d’Afrique et d’Asie de Vichy
Monday, October 12, 2015
Despite its rugged terrain, the Himalaya chain, which spreads over five countries (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet), is home to sixty-five million people. While the range’s massive size (more than 2,500 kilometers long) has been instrumental in preventing China and India from directly influencing one another, the “Roof of the World” is a place where internal interactions have developed and where both unique and hybrid cultures have sprung up because of migrations and the adaptation of regional traditions to local ecosystems. The little-known art of the Himalayan peoples reflects the diversity of the area particularly well. Himalaya Tribal, an exhibition in its final weeks at the Musée des Arts d’Afrique et d’Asie de Vichy, is a fine introduction to the creations of these peoples and features magnificent objects that tell the stories of origin myths, seasonal festivities, and funerary and magical rites. Highlights of the exhibition include a magnificent Bhairava mask from the Kathmandu Valley, a striking Magar shaman’s suit of armor, a protective figure from the Terai Valley, and a smiling Tibetan citipati mask.