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Prehistoric Spirals: Earthenwares from Thailand
<p>Red painted spirals swirl in distinct patterns across the surfaces of these vessels, testifying to the sophisticated material and aesthetic cultures of northeastern Thailand more than two thousand years ago. Their makers belonged to a loose network of settlements specializing in bronze and ceramic production. Tragically, the region has been heavily looted in recent history. The &#8230;</p>

Falcons: Art of the Hunt
<p>Swift, fierce, and loyal, falcons have been celebrated for their exceptional qualities in ancient Arab and Persian poetry. Millennia ago in Egypt, they were closely associated with Horus, the god of the heavens. At the royal courts in Syria in the early eighth century, falcons were groomed and trained to become skillful hunters. The art &#8230;</p>

Animals in Bronze
<p>Whether imaginary or real, animals are a recurring decorative element of ancient Chinese bronzes. One of the more enduring animal forms is the taotie, a stylized monster motif with symmetrically arranged eyes, ears, horns, snout, and jaw. Despite its one face, it usually has two bodies that end in coiled tails. Early in the Bronze &#8230;</p>

Bronze Age Casting
<p>The ability to make bronze tools, weapons, and ritual vessels was such a significant advancement in world civilization that it lends its name to an entire era: the Bronze Age. The skill and resources needed to fabricate bronze were in place in ancient China by 1700 BCE, over a thousand years later than in Egypt, &#8230;</p>

Musical Encounters along the Silk Road:
Gao Hong, pipa, and Issam Rafea, ‘ud
<p>Enjoy these soothing, sophisticated duets on Chinese and Arab lutes, improvised by virtuosos Gao Hong on the pipa and Issam Rafea on the ud. Their musical conversations highlight the expressive magic of two instruments that share common roots but are rarely heard together.</p>

This Day in Freer History: March 21, 1907
<p>The most beautiful view of my life On March 21, 1907, on his second trip throughout Asia, Charles Lang Freer penned a letter to his business partner, Frank Hecker. There is much in Java thats disappointing but its all owing to the Dutch, he opined. Writing from Batavia (present-day Jakarta) on the island of Java, &#8230;</p>

The Liangzhu Culture
<p>In June 2006, archaeological excavations near Hangzhou, in Zhejiang province, led to the identification of the largest and earliest walled city in ancient China. Located south of the Yangzi River, the enormous settlement has been named Liangzhu after the modern site where evidence of the culture was first discovered in the early twentieth century. Following &#8230;</p>

Liangzhu Jade Bi
<p>Thousands of jade bi, too large to be worn as jewelry, have been unearthed in elite burial sites associated with the Liangzhu culture. Variations are apparent in the size of the disks, the quality of the stone used, the level of workmanship, and the finish of the bi, yet their meaning, purpose, and ritual significance &#8230;</p>