Art of Adornment: Southeast Asian Jewelry from the James and Elaine Connell Collection
October 20, 2012–August 3, 2014
Our bodies are moving canvases; the ornaments we wear are seen from different angles, in bright sun and evening shadows, at simple gatherings and fancy events. While jewelry often proclaims the wealth and status of its owner, each object can also tell other stories. These are stories of the cycle of life—engagements, weddings, births, deaths. Jewelry can function as a talisman, encapsulating our wishes for protection or hopes for prosperity.
This remarkable selection of jewelry is from the James and Elaine Connell Collection. After donating their collection of Thai ceramics to the Asian Art Museum in 1989, the Connells began collecting jewelry, selecting rare objects from a wide range of Southeast Asian cultures. The pieces of jewelry come primarily from Indonesia but also include examples from the Philippines, Malaysia, and Burma.