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highlighted exhibition


One Man's Search for Ancient China: The Paul Singer Collection

January 19-July 7, 2013


The small apartment of psychiatrist-turned-collector and scholar Paul Singer (1904-1997) once held more than 5,000 objects he assembled over seventy years. Singer's bequest to the Sackler created one of the largest and most significant Chinese archaeological collections in the United States. This exhibition of Singer's gift looks at his legendary life and how important archaeological discoveries have shed new light on both his acquisitions and ancient China.


events | programs 




Stopping the Sun

Saturday, January 12, 2 pm

Freer, gallery 13

Award-winning storyteller Laura Simms relates humorous, startling, and poignant tales of the life of the Buddha and his disciples in the exhibition Enlightened Beings.








Beautiful Writing: Arabic Calligraphy

Saturday, January 12; Sunday, January 13, 2 pm

Sackler sublevel 2

After viewing a demonstration of Arabic calligraphy and touring examples on view in Roads of Arabia, participants return to the ImaginAsia classroom to learn to write in Arabic.






around the mall

gallery talk
Friday, January 18, 12:30 pm
Meet at the information desk, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Carol Huh, Freer|Sackler assistant curator of contemporary Asian art, takes an in-depth look at a selection of works in the exhibition Ai Weiwei: According to What?




The Military Eye: War, Aesthetics, and the Ethics of Aerial Surveillance

Screenings and discussions explore how aerial photography has affected the perception and evolution of warfare. Presented in conjunction with Shadow Sites.



Lessons of Darkness

Friday, January 11, 7 pm

Werner Herzog's controversial documentary surveys the wreckage left in the wake of the Gulf War.


film and panel discussion

Images of the World and the Inscription of War

In Person: Thomas Y. Levin, Princeton University; additional panelists TBA 

Sunday, January 13, 2 pm

Chilling photographs that American aircraft unwittingly took of Auschwitz during World War II are the starting point for this cinematic essay on the use and misuse of photographic evidence.



Temple Potters of Puri 

by Louise Allison Cort and Purna Chandra Mishra

$65; available at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery shop or 202.633.0494

Back in 1979 to 1981, before becoming curator of ceramics at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, Louise Cort lived in the town of Puri, Orissa, in eastern India. While there, she observed a community of potters working for the Jagannatha Temple. This group is responsible for creating red earthenware pots used to cook the daily meals presented to the gods of the temple; each pot can be used only once. The potters enjoy special status as temple servants, and their community has a rich history. Cort's book Temple Potters of Puri, written with Purna Chandra Mishra, includes a DVD of the potters at work and celebrating their annual festival, Kurala Panchami.





Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Film tickets are not available through Ticketmaster.


Meyer Auditorium seating chart 


Members of the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries may reserve a limited number of free tickets to designated public programs by contacting Jen Ryan, Membership Coordinator, in the Friends Office. Email: ryanj@si.edu

Image credits (top to bottom): Plaque in the form of addorsed dragons; China, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Spring and Autumn period to early Warring States period, 6th-5th century BCE; Bronze with gold foil; H x W x D (overall): 13.1 x 9.5 x 0.1 cm; Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, RLS1997.48.4508. Image of storyteller Laura Simms; courtesy of artist. Photo of ImaginAsia calligraphy activity by Stephen Eckerd. Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995/2009; Image courtesy of the artist Ai Weiwei. Film frame from Lessons of DarknessBook cover of Temple Potters of Puri.  

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Smithsonian: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery | 1050 Independence Avenue SW | Washington | DC | 20560



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