Kite flying is a favorite pastime of thousands of enthusiasts. If you're one of them, or just intrigued, bring your youngsters to the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena this afternoon where Suzie Oh, a specialist in Asian language programs for the Los Angeles Unified School District, will be conducting a workshop in the art of Korean kite making from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Materials are furnished, and you will take home the finished kite. Everything is free, including admission to the museum, on the third Saturday of each month.
"Kite flying is traditional in Korea," Oh explained. "Families send them into the sky on New Year's Day, and again on the Chinese New Year, which is January 29."
Also on the day's program is James McNulty, who will be displaying his fireworks art. These are collages of the wrappers found on packages of fireworks. If you are old enough to remember when it was legal to purchase a variety of fireworks, including Roman candles, skyrockets, pinwheels, lady crackers and torpedoes, you'll recall the labels which, according to brand, showed black cats, zebras, whales, ducks, woodpeckers and rockets amid landscapes of various colors, prints and textures. McNulty creates art from these wrappings. The artist will also be setting off a display of fireworks which, alas, are the safe and sound variety that provide a glittering and noiseless pyrotechnic display. After all, the staccato popping of firecrackers would be a discordant backdrop for Hawaiian poet Garrett Hongo, who will be reading some of his poems.
A Quiet Setting
While children's chatter will create a happy cacophony in the museum today, its spacious central patio is normally a quiet setting that has the serenity of an Oriental garden. Visitors pause to admire the koi--Japanese carp, majestic in their brilliant colors of gold, orange and white. The leaves have fallen from a rain tree, but there are flowers on the Chinese magnolia. Two giant Foo dogs guard the entrance to a staircase leading to a balcony, and a late Ming bronze figure of a Buddhist deity known as the patron of children is seated on a stone bench. On occasion, a passerby will place a flower in his hands.
Within the museum you may view lacquer, bronze, wood, ceramic, gold, silver and ivory works of art from Central Asia, Pakistan, China, Korea, Japan, New Guinea and Hawaii. Through Sunday, there is a collection of miniature paintings on display from the collection of Harriette Von Breton on display--more than 50 paintings and drawings depicting episodes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana.
The Pacific Asia Museum, which was founded in 1971, offers a wide range of educational and cultural activities focusing on the arts and cultures of Asia and the Pacific Basin. Among the countries represented in workshops, demonstrations, musical performances, films and major exhibitions are China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Australia, New Zealand and southeast Asia.
Exhibits, Lecture Series
This year, major exhibitions at the museum will focus on the arts of China and Japan. In addition to exhibitions, the museum also will offer a Spring Guest Lecture series covering decorative arts of the Far East presented by leading scholars. Among future exhibits are Chinese Monochrome Porcelains of the Ch'ing Dynasty, opening May 2, which includes some 40 examples of pottery made during the reign of the emperors of the Ch'ing dynasty (1644-1911), and on September 2, an exhibit of the China trade--paintings, ceramics, silver, navigational instruments, maps and ship models illustrating America's relationship with China during the latter part of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Pacific Asia Museum is located at 46 N. Los Robles Ave. in Pasadena, one block north of Colorado Blvd. All-day parking next door is $1. Admission on other than the third Saturday of the month is $2 for adults, $1.50 for seniors and students, children under 12 are free. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Information: (818) 449-2742.