Living Color: The Metropolitan Museum Nina Mussa: Wiegand B

For my Living Color Experience I chose to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the Scholar's garden which is the Astor Court. In my project I addressed many key questions about the legacies maintained in this exhibit and the traditional ideals emulated here.

A board of stickers at the entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

What did your experience entail?

Walking in, everything is spread out in and a court yard sits in the center. A small waterfall is placed to the left of the entrance and the constant flow of the current can be heard throughout the exhibit. Adjacent to the waterfall, a tall temple/ gazebo structure is surrounded by rocks and small trees. On the right of the entrance, there's a small walkway that has panels of information. At the end of the room, is another suite that contains traditional chinese furniture that I didn't find held much importance to the value of the exhibit.

The Back, Open Concept, Room

How is the legacy of ancient china seen in this 15th century space?

Taoist ideas of Yin and Yang, Unmanifest Tao and Wu-wei, were the most prominent legacies that shone through the exhibit. Yin and yang was embodied because the water and the immovable rocks exemplifed the complementary polarities of yin( dark, void, soft, yielding, wet, cool) and yang (bright, solid, hard, unyielding, dry, hot), a conceptualization of the world that underlies much Chinese thought and art. Yin and Yang is finding a balance and that is embodied here because each element present is countered with something equally powerful. There's a harmonious arrangement of contrasting elements. Unmanifest tao shone through because one of the principles of Chinese garden design is the use of wall and openings to create the illusion of space beyond space. Unmanifest tao is what you cannot see but you know is there which is perfectly displayed here. And finally, wu-wei and nature were embodied here because a small waterfall is strategically placed which symbolizes things taking their natural course. It's a tie to nature along with the fact that streams/ water are commonly associated with Taoism

The Entrance of The Metropolitan Museum Of Art

Why do modern New Yorkers find the space appealing?

New York City is very fast paced and the garden gives enables them to take a moment and reconnect with themselves and take a moment to slow down. The thought of taking a breath from the over polluted bustling streets to sit down and listen to the soothing sound of water in the background is appealing to a New Yorker because the opportunity isn't granted often.

Busy New York is Obscenely Fast Paced Compared to The Serenity of The Garden

Why does this appeal tell us about the legacy of Confucianism (the study) and Taosim (the garden)?

This appeal proves to us that the serenity and order of the Taoism and the Confucian way of life is exemplified in this garden and represents key ideals about both beliefs. The water present in the garden was a classic symbol of wu-wei and Taoist believes as it is saying that life flows continuously and that you should just go with it. Everything working together displays the harmony of the space representing the ideal Confucian society. Confucius' main goal was to have everything work together for one greater good or towards one goal which is happening here; everything has it's own role in society which directly relates to rectification of names. This means that things should conform to what they are called and be called accordingly. In this sense, the water brings a sense of calmness as it represents life goes on, while the rocks represent China's mountains. Each element present is representing something and is part of a greater goal.

Flowing River Represents Taoist Concepts


Created with images by MsSaraKelly - "Times Square Crossing" • Tim Green aka atoach - "River Kennal 1"

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