This DVD comprises four programs made in conjunction with special exhibitions on the art and cultures of China, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Japan; three of the programs look at ancient art. They explore an array of subjects: architecture, landscape gardening, archaeology, music, poetry, storytelling, and sculpture.
The Art from Asia DVD compilation includes the following titles, which are also available as individual films on VHS:
- Beyond the Yellow River: Recent Discoveries from Ancient China
Complementing the exhibition The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology: Celebrated Discoveries from the People's Republic of China, the film focuses on important archaeological discoveries of the last forty years that have provided new insight into Chinese culture from 5000 BCE to the tenth century CE. Examples of sculpture, ritual implements, decorative arts, jade burial suits, and monumental bronzes are presented, along with archival footage of archaeological sites. The program is narrated by Amy Tan, with additional commentary by specialists.
- Art of Indonesia
Weaving together Old Javanese poetry, sculpture, stunning landscapes, music, and performances by traditional artists, this film—shot on location in Java and Bali—introduces viewers to the myths and symbols that have permeated Indonesian culture for more than a thousand years.
- Sacred Art of Angkor
Cambodia's sculpture and temples are noted for their beauty and monumental scale. This film provides a historical overview and architectural context for Cambodian sculpture, ranging from massive sandstone carvings representing gods and mythological guardians to small, refined bronzes used for ritual purposes.
The dual way of the Daimyo culture of feudal Japan combined the arts of war and the arts of the pen. This film examines the paradox of the warrior/aesthete through a survey of Daimyo arts—namely, architecture, landscape gardening, poetry, calligraphy, painting, the tea ceremony, Noh theater, and kendo (swordsmanship). Daimyo's unique blend of martial and aesthetic excellence was central to the shaping of Japanese culture, and its effects are present even today.
All programs are closed captioned.