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Rite & Ritual


Rite & Ritual — Ceremonial Art across Cultures will be on view at Mingei International Museum in Escondido through October 16, 2010. The exhibition focuses on the beauty and meaning of objects used for familial, tribal, and community events in traditional cultures: birth, childhood, initiation, marriage, death and festivals and in various religious expressions among the world’s peoples: Shamanism, Shinto, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism.
Mingei means “art of the people” and invites the viewer to discover beauty in the commonplace, the daily, and the useful. This exhibition is rooted in the useful, but the objects featured here reach a step beyond the ordinary into the realm of tribal, societal, and civic rituals and ceremonies. Among them are imposing masks and dance drums and rattles from Africa feathered festival head-dresses from Brazil, ceremonial tools, a ceremonial stone chair, and an exquisite ceremonial dagger of carved wood and worked metal.
Visitors will be greeted by two painted and gilded guardian figures from Bali. They’ll find a monumental clay horse from southern India, a five-tiered Peruvian retablo with at least 1,000 figures depicting a Holy Week procession and a Chinese temple drum. Among the objects used for family rituals are five dowry chests and a nineteenth century American crazy quilt. Another family rite is displayed in the Museum’s windows — a papier maché Mithila wedding party from India’s Bihar state. A 19th century American memorial wreath, fashioned from human hair is also on display.
The diverse objects gathered for the exhibition are vital creative expressions from many cultures. Their beauty and power can delight, intrigue and awe. These objects invite viewers to look with fresh eyes at their daily routines; at the major and minor ceremonies and rituals in their lives; and at the objects they use for them. Rite & Ritual – Ceremonial Art Across Cultures was curated by museum director Rob Sidner and designed by Jerry Maloney, installation coordinator/exhibition designer.

Mingei International Museum is located at 155 West Grand Avenue in downtown Escondido. Hours are 11am-4pm Thursday through Saturday. Second Saturday hours are 11am-8pm featuring family programs during the day and free admission between 4-8pm. La Jolla Bank sponsors complimentary admission on the first Thursday of each month. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors, youth (6-17), students, and active duty military with ID. (760/735-3355, www.mingei.org)




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