Sparrows in Floss and Gold Thread

China is the world’s oldest civilization, and its art dates back all the way to 10,000 B.C. And it has never had to go to the lengths that Western art has: The Chinese haven’t signed urinals or splattered canvases with elephant dung. But they have produced masterpieces, a selection of which are on display at the Norton Museum of Art. “Flowers and Birds of the Seasons: Chinese Paintings and Textiles” exhibits ancient Chinese tapestries that depict sparrows, flowers, and idyllic scenes from nature, like a clear sky, that are a source for meditation. The art is fashioned from materials that might be the basis for Lady Gaga’s next outfit: silk floss and glimmering gold-wrapped threads. There are 16 textile panels and paintings in all, and they date from the 17th and 19th centuries. They’re real treasures.

“Flowers and Birds of the Seasons” runs through July 18 at the Norton Museum of Art (1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach). Admission costs $12 or less, and gets you into the whole museum, not just the art gallery. Call 561-843-1281, or visit norton.org. P
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.; Sundays, 1 p.m. Starts: June 1. Continues through July 18, 2010

 
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