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It's the base of a hookah made in 17th century India

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by , 07-10-2020 at 11:25 AM (45 Views)
      
   
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It's the base of a hookah. A water pipe that can bring peace of mind after just a few puffs. Do yourself a favor. Watch the video below. It'll take less than a minute and a half. C'mon! You can spare that tiny bit of time to get calm.

The narrator, Forrest McGill, is a curator at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Knowing the pandemic would close its doors, the museum asked him to pick a favorite object in their collection for an online video — something that, as he puts it, would let viewers "dream of a benign, well-ordered world."

McGill didn't want to choose something obvious - a Buddha, say. There are loads of Buddhas around. And so he selected the hookah base, with its inlays showing a Paradise Garden.

"Master metal workers transmuted silver, brass and zinc alloy into art for the centuries," McGill says. Benign wild animals — tiger, deer, peacocks — live there (I loved in the video the slow wagging of the tiger's tail, the way the deer nods his head.) "Even the wild beasts seem peaceful," McGill adds.



The museum's Creative Media Producer added soft music and bird sounds, and had the camera move at such a sloooow pace. You need to look at the video to see and hear all that. (I know, I'm nagging, but if you scrolled past the video above, I'll give you another chance and post it here a second time. Really. Press play this time.)

Here's the last thing. I asked Forrest McGill what it is about so much Asian art that makes it so soothing. He demurred. The curator said he could put together an exhibition of Asian works that was as fierce as the serene ones. And to prove it, he sent this 2-inch treasure.

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