Asia Society

You’ve still got until June 20 to visit the “Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art” exhibit at the Asia Society Museum (725 Park Avenue, at 70th Street, NYC). I went a couple weeks ago, but I’m thinking of going again tomorrow night (word to the wise: the museum offers free admission on Fridays 6 to 9 pm). Even though I was “anticipating big things” (see previous post), the show itself is pretty small, but this is not to say that it’s unimpressive. Walking through just a few rooms you see art from ancient India to modern Japan. Like a good pilgrimage, a visit to this exhibit is a journey through time and space. You see sculptures, paintings, rucksacks, maps, and a real monk’s walking stick. The maps were my favorite. Whether it’s an 18th century painting from Nepal marking the holy places of the Kathmandu Valley or an older mandala charting the inner-route to enlightenment, the maps remind you that in order to get anywhere in this life, you’ve got to move. Pilgrims have instinctively understood this truth forever, and I can’t stop wondering: How many miles are on that monk’s staff?