Vanishing Beauty: Asian Jewelry and Ritual Objects from the Barbara and David Kipper Collection

Vanishing Beauty: Asian Jewelry and Ritual Objects from the Barbara and David Kipper Collection

It started really with a gift that our life trustee Barbara Kipper promised
to the Art Institute of jewelry and ritual objects from across Asia. She wanted to collect from people who
were not in the mainstream. Here we are getting objects that are
much more from marginalized people, the original inhabitants of tribal
nomadic people. The Art Institute of Chicago has a great
collection of Asian art and Barbara and David Kipper’s collection somehow cover a different range; these are everyday objects very much used in daily ritual
and festivities. The objects in the exhibition range from
the Himalayas to the remotest parts of Asia, across Central Asia all the way to
the forests of Indonesia. The power of stones, the power of these objects— the
amulet cases, the crowns— they’re all part of the world where jewelry had a
role. It was a signifier of who you were in society. It helped define your tribal affiliation
or the importance of jewelry from an economic perspective to give a young
woman her independence. The visual power of the objects lead
to ask questions and it’s through that process of inquiry, when something has
captured us and made us say, “Wow what is this?” that then we learn. So I find
these objects to be incredibly powerful educational objects in that they can
lead us to really important questions about culture, about the role of ornament
in our lives, and at the same time capture our imagination in terms of what
humans are actually able to produce through the act of creativity. You can actually see so much more of
people’s life in these daily objects. I think that we we are really doing
something new and meaningful in a museum Music plays….


  1. Hello! I was wondering if you could provide the title/artist(s) for the music played at the beginning of this video (from 0:00 – 0:32) as well as the music played in the Vanishing Beauty gallery? Thank you! 🙂

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