Submitted by admin on Fri, 07/12/2013 - 16:06
This curious avant-garde building combining a traditional Japanese tori gate with modern glass architecture and concrete wave patterns houses the impressive art collection of the Albanian-American Dhimitër Boria (1903-1990). Boria emigrated from Albania when he was 17, attending art school in Detroit before working in Hollywood in an early animation studio and as silhouette artist. Boria became a photographer for the US Army in 1942, and after the war continued working as a photographer for the UN and US Army, travelling widely in Europe and Asia. It's in this period that he started to collect Japanese and later other Oriental art. Some 400 artefacts are now exhibited in this purpose-built museum named after his mother.
The exhibition kicks off in the cellar with several oriental carpets, but the prize artefacts are upstairs, where you'll find pottery, jewellery, textiles and furniture from 17 countries across Asia. Look out for the Tibetan tanka cloths, the Indian Hindi and Buddhist statues, the silver lobsters and chickens, and the fabulous Indonesian (and even some African) masks. Some but not all exhibits have English-language captions, though the museum has the best (and only) website of any Albanian museum. It's a good idea to phone ahead to confirm the museum is open.