A Saturday with no schedule is a good day for getting in the car and going to places earlier bookmarked for a lengthier stop during a busy week. All that was needed was to get the children settled happily with their video games and laptops and ample food, then it was onward to Massachusettes for the adults.
Massachusettes has much to offer by way of sights and sounds. A favorite stop is the Norman Rockwell Museum. The Shrine of the Divine Mercy can be found there as well as numerous other tourist and locals must-sees. This day, however, was meant for an altogether different place. In the midst of all the New England fare is a shop called Asia Barong Antiques (the calling card says Finest in Asian Furniture, Sculpture & Art for Your Home & Garden). We had passed it by each time we headed this way but we knew that a visit here would take up quite a bit of time and no children in tow.
A giant two-faced Buddha head greets customers but it isn’t the only large thing on the premises. One of the first things that catches the eye is an Indonesian rice barn. Just before you can marvel at how it was even shipped in, you spot a couple of cast iron gates leaning against a wall. A carved medusa-like head leads you closer to the front door and you realize the “hair” is partly made up of the tree’s roots and that the face was carved from the flat of the stump (very clever!). Walking ahead to the entrance, you just know that inside will be treasure upon treasure and when you do open the door, there is no room for disappointment.
Cabinets, tables, chairs, all sorts of Buddhas in all sorts of poses greeted us. A Chinese bridal bed, complete with its own alcove and windows sat further in. There were musical instruments, prayer flags, puppets–just too many things to be recounted here. We went up a flight of stairs to see what else might be offered and a Chinese ancestral painting might have found its way into our vehicle. As we had no notion of who it was or what the history behind it was and no one could tell us what the Chinese characters above the painting said, we thought it best to move on to the garden pieces (that may be another topic to explore in a future blog, by the way).
Once outside, we spotted carved doors, stone fountains, foo dogs, and even frogs. Other than the rice barns, there were also gazebos and even more gates! Asia Barong Antiques has a website (asiabarong.com) but there’s nothing like seeing the pieces right in front of you.
It seems strange to be exploring an Asian shop now that I’m here in New England, but who can resist investigating what a giant Buddha head in Great Barrington, MA, has in store?
I know I should be including an illustration with today’s entry, but I couldn’t resist posting the picture of two frogs.