Art: Old & New Asia

Two of the year's finest exhibits of Asian art crossed paths in Washington last week. Together, they made a striking contrast of old & new:

¶ For art lovers interested in classic rarities, the National Gallery's show of Japanese art was the one to see. The Japanese government itself sponsored the exhibition, selected 91 of Japan's most cherished paintings and sculptures from the 6th century to the 19th. They were all masterpieces, all precisely naturalistic and all as traditional as tea. On opening day, 25,000 people crushed into the National Gallery to see a regal, 8th century statue of the...

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