Temple, Palace, Mosque
The opening of the new Southern Asian and Persian Art Galleries at The San Diego Museum of Art will commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the accession of the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection. This inauguration marks the culmination of a twenty-year-long effort on the part of the curators and administration to dedicate adequate resources and display space to what now is recognized as the Museum’s most significant collection.
Under the leadership of a new curatorial team, the Museum is reconfiguring its gallery spaces to accommodate the major expansion from a 332-square-foot gallery on the second floor to the 1,330-square-foot, three-gallery space on the first floor off the John M. & Sally B. Thornton Rotunda. These galleries will be contiguous with the East Asian galleries, thereby allowing visitors to experience the wealth of cross-cultural artistic connections that occurred historically among these geographical regions of Asia.
The curatorial vision is to present in the first space the arts associated with Southern Asian temples,– Buddhist, Hindu, or Jain – from Afghanistan to Southeast Asia. The second space is dedicated to the arts appreciated in palace settings and royal collections from regions throughout India and Iran. The third gallery is for works of art made for those who worship at mosques.
This innovative mode of presentation of Southern Asian and Persian arts is organized according to the types of architectural spaces with which they are associated. This approach also crosses sectarian and national boundaries, integrating works from a variety of traditions and time periods that are linked together by the ways in which the people interacted with them in their original contexts.