INDIGO, TURQUOISE, COBALT & LAPIS LAZULI

The color blue evokes mystery, beauty and allure. It can express the intense exhilaration of a blue sky day, yet also suggests the pit of despair, as in singing the blues.  For ages humans have mined the gems turquoise, lapis lazuli and cobalt and manipulated them to re-imagine the world in glass, enamel, ceramic glaze and striking adornment.  Indigo is a fabled plant that since ancient times has dignified and enriched hand-made fabric and paper.  TRUE BLUE celebrates these four natural materials and their combination with human emotion, technical skill and the spark of creativity. This exhibition of objects from Mingei’s permanent collection will feature a broad variety of media from many different cultures.

Objects in the exhibition will include:

  • Jewelry and adornment from the American Southwest, Tibet, Ladakh in Northern India, Central Asia and Africa.
  • Glass by anonymous craftsmen and by renowned contemporary American artist-craftsman Dale Chihuly.
  • Indigo garments and other textiles from Japan, Indonesia, Guatamala, Mexico and countries of Africa.
  • A traditional American wedding basket by acclaimed contemporary artist craftsman Billie Ruth Suduth.
  • An ancient Egyptian Mummy Mask in blue faience.

Curator: Rob Sidner
Collection Source: Mingei International Museum

I thought I’d spotted a crystal ball the other day while walking up the Museum’s stairs. As I entered the gallery to get an up-close view, I wondered if there would be the hologram of a fortune teller inside.  Of course there wasn’t one because this was not Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. It was the  recently opened exhibition TRUE BLUE—Indigo, Turquoise, Cobalt and Lapis Lazuli, and the “crystal ball” was a sizeable orb of lapis lazuli, made in Afghanistan in this century, the sole purpose of which is to delight the eye.

from Martha E’s blog post, CUT, CARVE, PUNCH – A PAPER ATTACK
Oct 16, 12

A small grouping in the exhibition TRUE BLUE displays several examples of Mexican papel picado (punched or perforated paper) as well as paper images used for brujeria (witchcraft).  I’ve loved paper cut outs since I first watched my grandmother cut a string of paper dolls.  When, as a grownup, I bought some brilliantly colored, Chinese opera character paper…