Happy Lunar New Year!

Red Envelope - Year of the Horse

Happy Lunar New Year! It’s Year 4712, the Year of the Horse.

Pick up a snazzy red envelope this weekend at the Asian Art Museum during our free Target Sunday. The envelopes contain discount admission tickets good for a future visit. We’ll have a limited quantity on hand, so get them while you can! Then enjoy our day of Lunar New Year festivities, including acrobatics by Red Panda Acrobats.

Can’t make it? Keep an eye out for us at the Chinatown Community Fair or visit us at the museum on Feb 15 or 16.

Horses in Ancient China

The Year of the Horse is fast approaching. What did the horse mean to people in the old days?

In ancient China, the horse provided fast transportation for noble and high ranking families and served a military function. This may be why the horse is associated now with leadership, freedom and energy. Chinese enthusiasm for horses dates back thousands of years, and as a result the museum contains many lovely examples of horse sculptures. Here, we take a really close look at some favorites.

Horse, Tang dynasty (618-906 CE), approx. 700-800 CE. B85S1.

Glazed with amber, green and white in the sancai (three-color) tradition, Tang ceramics of this type show splattered and dripped glazes full of energy and life. Here, the different and textures are used to highlight the bridle, mane and the horse’s flesh. Sancai colors are typically achieved using a combination of copper, iron, cobalt and manganese in a lead glaze.

Horse (detail), Tang dynasty (618-906 CE), approx. 700-800 CE. B85S1.

Horse (detail), Tang dynasty (618-906 CE), approx. 700-800 CE. B85S1.

Many horse figurines have been found in Tang dynasty tombs, and they are prized by collectors all over the world today. It follows that the figures are often heavily restored, sometimes invisibly so. This radiograph of a Tang dynasty horse figurine from the museum collection shows pins from old repairs in the legs and hooves.

Horse (X-ray), Tang dynasty (618-906 CE), approx. 700-800 CE. B85S1.

Horse (X-ray), Tang dynasty (618-906 CE), approx. 700-800 CE. B85S1. Image processing by Courtney Helion

Look closely at this composite X-ray, and you can see reinforcing metal pins in each hoof, as well as major repairs in the back facing leg. This horse may look flawless on the outside, but she has seen a lot of changes!

The Blood-Sweating Horses of the Ferghana Valley

Horse heads, Western Han dynasty (206 BCE-9 CE), approx. 206-100 BCE. B76P14 and B76P15.

Horse heads, Western Han dynasty (206 BCE-9 CE), approx. 206-100 BCE. B76P14 and B76P15.

These two elegant red horse heads could be modeled after the famous Ferghana horses, sometimes called ‘blood sweating horses ‘(汗血馬) or ‘heavenly horses’ in Chinese literature. This unique breed – now extinct– is believed to come from the ancient kingdom of Dayuan in the Ferghana valley (modern day Uzbekistan). According to legend, these fast, powerful horses– whose red color was thought to be caused by sweating blood—were bred from heavenly stock and could even carry the rider to immortality.

According to some stories, in the second century BCE Han dynasty the Chinese Emperor Wudi sent an envoy and gifts westward into the Ferghana valley, hoping to acquire some of the heavenly horses. The Dayuan ruler refused, and ultimately the Chinese invaded. The Chinese defeated the Dayuan, and thus Emperor Wudi came into possession of some ‘heavenly horses’, receiving a small number each year as tribute.

What made these horses red?

There are a few theories concerning why the Ferghana horses to appeared to sweat blood. Some modern researchers believe that a parasite (the nematode, Parafilaria multipapillosaI), still common on the Central Asian steppe, is the cause. Others think that it is due to tiny blood vessels under the skin bursting after strenuous galloping and exercise. Blood would mix with the sweat around the horse’s neck, creating a pink foam.

The two horse heads from the museum’s collection do not sweat blood (so far), but owe their distinctive red color to the use of pigment made from red iron oxide (Fe2O3), also referred to as hematite. Under X-ray fluorescence analysis, both horses show very similar chemical profiles. Iron is the major element, with smaller quantities of titanium, zinc, mercury, manganese, and lead. Iron, mercury, and manganese all create reds and purples, and have been in use since ancient times. Titanium and zinc, used to make white, probably indicate later restoration.

Horse heads under ultraviolet light, Western Han dynasty (206 BCE-9 CE), approx. 206-100 BCE. B76P14 and B76P15.

Horse heads under ultraviolet light, Western Han dynasty (206 BCE-9 CE), approx. 206-100 BCE. B76P14 and B76P15. Image by Courtney Helion.

To reveal areas of previous restoration the horse heads were viewed under ultraviolet light. Restoration paints often appear as a velvety purple under ultraviolet light (as on the bridle, on the upper horse).

Read more about these horse heads at our online collection.

Bibliography:

Winter, John. East Asian Paintings: Materials, Structures and Deterioration Mechanisms. London: Archetype Publications, 2008. Print.

Imperial China: The Art of the Horse in Chinese History: Exhibition Catalog. Lexington, KY: Kentucky Horse Park, 2000. Print.

Gettens, Rutherford J., and George L. Stout. Painting Materials: A Short Encyclopedia. New York: Dover Publications, 1966. Print.

All-too familiar catastrophic art

Lower garment and shoulder cloth depicting the tsunami of 2004

Lower garment and shoulder cloth depicting the tsunami of 2004, 2006-2007, by Mila Sungkar (Javanese, born 1960). Silk. Acquisition made possible by Mr. and Mrs. M. Glenn Vinson, Jr.

Seven years ago the museum acquired a remarkable textile from the Indonesian island of Java. Made by the artist Milla Sungkar, the cloth depicted her reaction to the devastating tsunami of 2004. After seeing images of the completely inundated province of Aceh in North Sumatra, and hearing about the more than 170,000 people killed by the tsunami, she expressed her grief in a batik textile depicting the catastrophe.

Lower garment and shoulder cloth depicting the tsunami of 2004

Lower garment and shoulder cloth depicting the tsunami of 2004, 2006-2007, by Mila Sungkar (Javanese, born 1960). Silk. Acquisition made possible by Mr. and Mrs. M. Glenn Vinson, Jr.

Nine years have passed since Aceh and neighboring regions in South and Southeast Asia were ravaged by that earthquake and tsunami. Yet images like the one depicted on this textile are still familiar. In the years since Aceh, we have seen the devastation from the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011, and more recently, from typhoons in the Philippines. In November of 2013 Typhoon Haiyan (known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines) became the strongest cyclone ever to hit land in recorded history. Over 6000 people died in the Philippines alone, and thousands more were left injured and homeless.

As has become all too clear, global warming is a factor in the increased intensity and frequency of super storms. A few days after the typhoon, in a remarkable speech at the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw, the Philippine delegate Naderev Saño spoke for the people of his country and around the world urging global leaders to take substantive and meaningful action on global climate change. He spoke with tears streaming, still not knowing the fate of all of his own friends and relatives. Milla Sungkar conveyed her anguish through art; Naderev Saño through this speech.

Let us hope they are heard.

Bell Ringing Reflections

Another year has gone by, and as always, we (literally) rang in the New Year in style with our annual New Years Eve Bell Ringing ceremony. The event has been a member and staff favorite for 28 years.

Bell Ringing 2013

The end-of-year ceremony has its roots in a Buddhist temple practice that happens daily, each morning and evening. In present-day Japan, it is customary to ring the bell 108 times on New Years Eve to correspond with the number of evil desires we suffer from on earth. Ringing the bell 108 times rids us of our evil passions and purifies us for the upcoming year (the number differs in Korean tradition; in that ceremony, ringing 33 times symbolizes the Thirty-three Heavens, the Trâyastriṃœa, where the Buddhist guardian Indra resides).

Bell Ringing 2013

The bell we use for the ceremony was made in Japan in 1532 by Daiji Temple in Tajima province. Our current belfry was constructed in 2002. About two weeks before each ceremony, our museum prep team brings the bell and belfry up from art storage and carefully installs them in Samsung Hall, where they remain on view for about three weeks.

When I started working at the museum about six years ago, I couldn’t believe the museum allowed visitors to strike a 16th century bell. But I’ve since realized how special a moment it is to be together with friends and family (and sometimes with a complete stranger), looking back over the past year.

Bell Ringing 2013

Reverend Gengo Akiba from Soto Zen Buddhism in North America has led the ceremony for the past ten years. The ceremony includes a purification ritual and Heart Sutra chanting. It is a solemn and sincere moment, and even young children seem to understand the purity of it (and there were many young ones this year).

Bell Ringing 2013

My favorite moments are when the group meets at the bell, shares good wishes with smiles and turns to ring the bell. And of course, afterward there is the inevitable scrambling to get selfies in, posing for the perfect shot with the bell. And in the rare moments when there is no one to claim the next turn at ringing the bell, people goodheartedly step in to ring it for everyone.

Bell Ringing: Getting the sweetest ring

Bell ringing tips

The New Year approaches, bringing my favorite program to the museum—our traditional Japanese New Year’s Bell Ringing Ceremony. It’s hard not to be compelled to take part in a feel-good ceremony aimed at curbing the 108 mortal desires (bonno), which, according to Buddhist belief, torment humankind. It’s kinda like a twist on the time-honored practice of adopting a New Year’s resolution. I’ve worked at the museum for 16 years, and I have made a point to participate every year, often encouraging family and friends to join me.

Most people forget how truly unique this program is. I can’t think of any other art museum that actively encourages visitors to take a swing at an artwork. It’s the one time when the typical museum “Do not touch” admonishment does not apply.

But it’s important to remember that the bell is more than 480 years old. Like all ancient things, it should be treated gently and with respect. When you do so, you’ll be rewarded handsomely. Struck at the right spot, and with the right energy, the bell makes a magical sound. You can literally feel it reverberate over your body and hear a pleasant humming whisper in your ears.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed many participants—probably wanting to make sure universe is paying attention—take a mighty swing that results in a loud clang that rattles the body, especially the eardrums. It also rattles the sensibilities of the museum’s conservation team, the experts responsible for making sure the artworks in the collection stay in top shape for future generations to enjoy.

For the wannabe Babe Ruth bell-ringing-type of participant, I share a thought from one of the first ceremonies that I participated in years ago when the museum still resided in Golden Gate Park: The Buddhist priest officiating the event—eager to avoid having her body and Buddhist sensibilities rattled—offered some tips to the assembled masses on the proper form for ringing the bell. She suggested that they consider striking the bell in a way that elicited a tone that echoed a loving mother calling her child home. She asked a fidgety young boy in the crowd for his name. “William,” he replied. She said, “William, what sounds better?” and then screeched loudly “WILLIAM!” She followed it with a sweet, singsongy “Willliammm.” The crowd—and William—got the point, and when it was their turn, did their best to produce a gentle and harmonious sound from the bell that felt good all over—especially for the conservators.

Newly on View: Shinohara “Boxing Painting”

Shinohara's boxing painting

Boxing Painting, Feb. 16th, 2009-A, 2009, by Ushio Shinohara (Japanese, b.1932). Acrylic on canvas. Gift of Collette and Peter Rothschild.

There’s something new in the Japanese art galleries. Take the escalator to the second floor, turn right, and then right again through the door—you’ll see a large abstract painting of irregular circles and drip-lines, created by punching a canvas with boxing gloves dipped in paint. Beside it is a big hanging scroll in ink on paper depicting Daruma, the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism.

Bodhidharma (Daruma), 1911, Nakahara Nantenbo (Japanese, 1839-1925). Ink on paper.

Bodhidharma (Daruma), 1911. By Nakahara Nantenbo (Toju Zenchu; Japanese, 1839-1925), Meiji Period (1868-1912), Hanging scroll; ink on paper. Museum purchase.

Why are these two side by side? What unites them is the forceful application of paint or ink—so forceful that in each case the medium splashes and splatters around the site of impact. Separated by 100 years, both works celebrate the uncontrolled, messy edges of art-making.

It might be interesting to know that both Ushio Shinohara, the New York-based artist whose “Boxing Painting” is on the right, and the Zen monk Nakahara Nantenbo, who painted our Daruma, often create (or created) their work in front of live audiences. The performative aspects of these works—the drama of the paint or ink hitting the surface, the spontaneous pattern that emerges in that moment, and the suspense of seeing the artists’ next moves—are as important here as the finished product.

View the video installed on a tablet next to Shinohara’s “Boxing Painting” to get a feel for the power, rhythm, and velocity of the artist’s attack on the canvas. You can also view this movie trailer that features Shinohara and his wife.

 

Our Japanese New Year Bronze Bell — Believe It or Not

Buddhist bell, 1532, Tachibana Kyubei (Japanese). Tajima province, Japan. Bronze. Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of William Goodman.

Buddhist bell (detail), 1532, Tachibana Kyubei (Japanese). Tajima province, Japan. Bronze. Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of William Goodman.

Our mountmaker, Vincent Avalos, shares some fun trivia about installing our 500+-year-old bell. Believe it or not!

The little knobs on the bell that look like asparagus shoots are probably actually stars.

The wedge-shaped ebony tenons you see are called nuki, but as far as I know they have nothing to do with pacifiers.

The nuki are essentially decorative. Long steel bolts inside the beams are what give the structure its actual integrity.

Each year that we put the belfry together, the elm gets a little more warped, making it a harder to get the beams into their respective joints.

If you stand inside the bell while it rings, you can make out the sound of “good morning” in Japanese: OHAYOU!

If we’ve all had our Philz coffee, no one bothers us, and we can remember how to put it together, we can get the bell up before noon. But this is almost never the case.

The original belfry was made of giant fir beams that would injure about one preparator a year… usually a back injury.

By the original belfry’s last days, it had become severely warped and twisted, making the final structure visibly lopsided.

One year (after we had installed the belfry), the mochi pounders for the New Year ceremony decided the bell was in the way and somehow just pushed the whole set-up across the room. You’d have to ask Director of Education, Deb Clearwaters, how many mochi pounders it took to move a 2,100-pound bronze bell.

All jokes aside, here’s a time lapse video of how we installed the bell one year:

Proximities 3: Import/Export

Paper Bag Project, by Imin Yeh (1983). Handmade paper bag. Courtesy of the artist.

Paper Bag Project, by Imin Yeh (1983). Handmade paper bag. Courtesy of the artist.

I’ve come to name my computer files related to the third and final Proximities exhibition P3. I get a little kick invoking Playstations (PS4, the it gamer gift for 2013), Terminator movies (T3, from 2003), and the holiday blockbuster season that is usually cluttered with franchises and their sequels. There’s a second Hobbit film that just hit theaters—H2 (also the shorthand for a junior size Hummer). You certainly won’t mistake this art exhibition, Import/Export, for a cinematic extravaganza, but the show focuses on the material and immaterial aspects of the international ventures that those entertainments very much are.

The inspirations for the artworks in this show reflect the ironies and menacing multi-pronged connections behind objects like the PS4. This piece of hardware, designed and manufactured by Sony, a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation, is a staple brand at the all-American Best Buy retailer (which also sells in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, and China). The software is code produced by outsourced offshore coding in any number of countries. Similarly, many major movie studio titles, particularly those with loads of special effects, are currently huge international productions, with multiple CGI companies in different countries working simultaneously to erase stunt wires or to render digital ice crystals.. The economic implications are intriguing – note the a flurry of controversy when a California-based effects house lost its shirt by underbidding its services for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.

In the Western season of stuff, it’s fascinating to look at product labels that reveal the site of manufacture. No big surprises there—I just checked and my Uniqlo down jacket was, as expected, made in China. But can this information actually communicate to me anything about China, this product’s country of origin? Can this article of clothing literally bring me in physical contact with another place? It might be easy for some people to ignore the implications—Do I really want to know if I purchased a shirt that came from the collapsed Bangladesh sweatshop? And what would I do if I did?

The artworks on view in this exhibition question aspects of raw material, factory production, craftsmanship, value, outsourcing, and the circulation of objects and ideas. I’ve approached the Proximities series with the intent of using different lenses to look at its themes. The shows have presented very different profiles, from colorful (P1), to audibly boisterous (P2), and hushed elegance (P3). The elegant profile of P3 may seem surprising considering the subject of import and export. Perhaps a more expected tone would resonate with Andreas Gursky’s 99 Cent photograph from 1999—an irresistibly iconic image of global capitalism and all it’s insidiously kaleidoscopic eye candy—or Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of landscapes ravaged in the service of industry, which, like Hudson River paintings, depict ‘progress’ as luminous and grandiose.Amanda Curreri works

In contrast, the works in Import/Export are monochromatic, prosaic, and abstract in form and meaning. The lighting is moody, and, as Byron Peters’s image of the open sky reveals, the space maintains a quiet grandiosity that feels almost contemplative. Like being in a hall of mirrors, we can see ourselves quietly reflected throughout the gallery space as we engage in breathing, looking, and hopefully rethinking scenarios of production and consumption .

The gargantuan nature of the worldwide system of making and consuming is too unwieldy for neat pronouncements. The environmental, social, physical, and psychological implications are things to ponder, but difficult to reconcile. The goal here is not resolution. The show might be an inconclusive conclusion, but there’s something thrilling about how these artists process the fray into something thoughtful—and strangely beautiful.

Happy Holidays!

 

Proximities 3: Import/Export opens today. For an insider’s perspective, come to the Proximities Evening Event where the curator, Glen Helfand, will be giving an in-gallery talk.

Wrapped up in History

Wrapping cloth (bojagi) with goose motif, approx. 1900. Korea. Embroidered cotton on silk. Gift of Mrs. Chung Hee Kim, 1993.4.

Wrapping cloth (bojagi) with goose motif, approx. 1900. Korea. Embroidered cotton on silk. Gift of Mrs. Chung Hee Kim, 1993.4.

Imagine the lives of Korean women in the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), a time when strict Confucian society denied women access to education and intellectual pursuits and confined women physically to their own quarters in the household. By day, the housewives carried out their designated tasks: cooking, cleaning, caring for their families. But at night, women gathered the remnants of fabrics to sew and connect with each other, making wrapping cloths known as bojagi. Hyonjeong Kim Han, the Asian Art Museum’s curator of Korean art, describes sewing bojagi as a way for female artisans at the time to “express their pent-up creativity and their deepest desires for their loved ones.”

Bojagi are traditional Korean wrapping cloths, colorful square or rectangular compositions pieced together out of scraps of silk, cotton, hemp or ramie left over from other garments. Bojagi, which are used to cover everything from bedding and tables to food dishes and precious Buddhist sutras, date back to the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE–668 CE), but the tradition really flourished during the Joseon dynasty. The wrapping cloths were decorative and practical, but they also had religious and symbolic uses: the women who made bojagi at the time infused their hopes and dreams for their families, friends and themselves into the cloth as they sewed.

Wrapping cloth (bojagi), approx. 1950-1960. Korea. Silk with patchwork design. Acquisition made possible by Korean Art and Culture Committee, 2005.73.

Wrapping cloth (bojagi), approx. 1950-1960. Korea. Silk with patchwork design. Acquisition made possible by Korean Art and Culture Committee, 2005.73.

As Youngmin Lee, a contemporary bojagi artist, explains, “The word bo means ‘wrapping happiness or fortune.’” Bojagi helped mothers maintain ties with their daughters, who typically moved in with their husband’s families upon marriage and would rarely see their own families again. “While the women are making bojagi,” Lee says, “they are thinking of their daughters’ happiness, trying to express their love.” Lee is featured in an educational video on bojagi that will be screened at the museum in December.

Daughters often used bojagi until the cloths wore out, and would then make new ones to pass on to their own daughters.

As with so many beautiful functional objects made anonymously by women throughout the ages, bojagi was not recognized as an art form until recently. The Asian Art Museum has played an instrumental role in changing that perception: Dr. Kumja Paik Kim, who preceded Hyonjeong Kim Han at the museum and was the first curator of Korean art in the United States, began acquiring bojagi for the museum’s permanent collection.

“Until 20 years ago, bojagi were not considered an art form because it was purely functional,” Hyonjeong Kim Han says. “Dr. Kumja Paik Kim discovered the beauty of bojagi and regarded it artistically.”

Wrapping cloth (bojagi), 1950-1960. Korea. Patchwork silk. Gift of Mrs. Ann Witter, 1998.57.

Wrapping cloth (bojagi), 1950-1960. Korea. Patchwork silk. Gift of Mrs. Ann Witter, 1998.57.

The Asian Art Museum has more than 30 bojagi pieces, the largest collection of any museum in the United States.

Visitors can see two primary types of bojagi on display: gung-bo, made of lavish silks, were created for royal court use and were often luxuriously embroidered, while min-bo, made and used by common people, were generally patched together and look a bit like modern abstract paintings. Bojagi for weddings and other special occasions were elaborately ornamented.

The museum’s exhibition In Grand Style: Celebrations in
Korean Art during the Joseon Dynasty features a wedding bojagi, traditionally used to wrap the customary gift of a wooden goose presented by the groom to the bride’s mother, who would pair the symbolic goose with a complementary wooden goose. “The bojagi wrapped the two geese, symbolizing the unification of bride and groom and the two families,” Hyonjeong Kim Han explains.

Today bojagi are not only collected by museums but have been revived as an expressive art form by contemporary artists within and outside Korea. “It was a dying art form until recently, but now people realize how precious and beautiful this tradition is,” says Lee, who grew up in Korea and lives in the East Bay. “I think it’s amazing that I can feel the artistic sense of ancient Korean women when I make bojagi myself.”

Wrapping cloth (bojagi), approx. 1900-2000. Korea. Silk. Gift of Chung Hee Kim, 2009.10.

Wrapping cloth (bojagi), approx. 1900-2000. Korea. Silk. Gift of Chung Hee Kim, 2009.10.

The Korean women who created these treasures without recognition at the time are now, many years later, receiving it. The women might not have imagined that their pieced-together wrapping cloths would one day be treasured parts of museum collections, much less inspire artists a century later and far beyond Korea’s shores.

Holiday Gift Guide

Enjoy some art and get your holiday shopping done too! The Asian Art Museum offers all kinds of items that are perfect for kids and adults alike. Feel good knowing that all purchases support the museum’s educational programs and exhibitions, as well as the individual artists and their communities.

Check out our gift guide for a sampling of what you can find:

Zen Out

Buddha BoardBuddha board: Based on the Zen concept of living in the moment, paintings created on Buddha boards last just a moment or two. Using water, you can write or paint on the special paper, watch the image darken and then slowly fade away. Each Buddha Board comes with a brush and water tray. $12.95–$34.95

Korean Tea HankookKorean tea by Hankook Tea Company: Choose from more than 10 flavors, ranging from light green teas to full-bodied doo mool jaksul cha to the fragrant herbal teas of persimmon leaf.  The founder of the tea company, Yang Won Suh, was appointed the 34th Grand Master of Traditional Korean Foods by the Republic of Korea, awarded for superior production of hwang cha and matcha.  $10–$20

Homey Goodies 

Hand Carved Chops Stone SealsHand-carved chops. Created by the museum store’s resident artist Jun Pei Cui, these beautiful soapstone seals are a truly unique gift. Each hand-carved seal represents its owner through the use of a name, a phrase or an image. Cui is available Saturday and Sundays from 1–5 p.m. to help select and design the seal for recipients. $30 and up

Raised Bell Cup Set KwangJuYoRaised bell cup set: Korean ceramic company KwangJuYo reinterprets traditional Korean ceramics with a modern twist in this cup set from the Weolbaek (Moon white) collection. These cups are traditionally given in pairs as wedding gifts. Set of two porcelain cups in a wooden gift box. $70

Asian Art Museum cookbooksCookbooks. We carry over 60 cookbooks that span the entire continent. Learn to make dishes that range from comfort foods to innovative delectables. No matter the skills of the chef, there is a book for every budget.

Korean Jewelry BoxKorean jewelry box. Imported from Korea for In Grand Style, these jewelry boxes feature exquisite mother-of-pearl inlay. They open to reveal four small drawers. Available in six elegant designs. $100 (Member’s Price: $90)

Playful Toys

Stuffed Rhino DollStuffed rhino doll. The stuffed rhino doll resembles one of the most treasured objects in the museum’s collection. More than 3,000 years old, the bronze rhinoceros vessel is among the most celebrated ancient Chinese bronzes in the world. $25

Princess Sunyong DollPrincess Sun-yong doll. This limited-edition princess doll is designed by Bay Area artist and Asian Art Museum docent Pauline Tsui. The doll is adorably dressed in bright pink traditional Korean clothing (hanbok) with an embroidered carrying pouch that you can tuck her into. For ages 3 and up. $45

Wood Robot FigureWood robot. Designed in Korea, this all-natural figure will entertain children and adults alike. Crafted from four types of wood, the figure has a linseed oil finish that highlights the natural colors and grains of the material. We’ve got plenty of other gifts great for kids. $25 (Members price: $22.50)

All Around Appeal

Store-Tied RocksTied Rocks by Shizu Okino. Bay Area artist Shizu Okino combines the natural beauty of river stones and the intricate patterns of bamboo woven in traditional Japanese basket motifs to create Tied Rocks, unique gifts sure to please both traditionalists and contemporary fans. $25–$95

Luna Lee albumLuna’s New Solo Album. Korean YouTube sensation Luna Lee debuts her solo album featuring the gayageum, a zither-like string instrument.  The album features original songs as well as notable covers of classics by Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan. $12.98 (Members Price: $11.68)

See something you like or still looking for just the right thing? Come in and peruse our full selection. We’ve got wonderful wares as diverse as their price tags. The store is open during regular museum hours and doesn’t require paid admission – just let them know you’re there for some retail therapy. Happy holidays!