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“The Power of Myths and the Grace of the Gods”, by Dr. Bruno Gentili

On Wednesday 6th March at 6.30 pm, a conference will be held on the ancient textile art of Laos, called “The Power of Myths and the Grace of the Gods” by Dr. Bruno Gentili, member of the “Italia-Asia” and “Cultural Paths” cultural associations. A scholar and collector of antique non-European art for over 25 years, he has a predilection for antique textiles and jewels of various countries and ethnic groups of Southeast Asia, Japan, Indonesia, Borneo and Bhutan, as well as a number of African ethnic groups, and is interested in ancient Himalayan and Southeast Asian sacred and ethnic art.
For centuries in Laos, textile art has played the important and irreplaceable role of “cultural treasure” of the ethnic groups who live there. Laotian textiles tell us about the ancient myths and gods, the spirits of the earth and the daily life of these peoples. In Laos textiles have always been an extraordinary universal art form, for everyday and family use, serving to define the identity of the numerous peoples who have lived alongside each other for centuries in this land, united by ancient traditions and millenary religions. The textiles are an extraordinary testimonial to the craftsmanship and creativity of generations of resourceful and patient Laotian women, who through the centuries have handed down from mother to daughter, with passion and perseverance, an ancient and precious knowhow, a precious heritage of textile, decorative, symbolic, magic, religious and cultural competencies that is so rich and varied as to make it unique and unrepeatable in the whole of Southeast Asia.
Bruno Gentili
Born in Milan in 1949
After completing both technical and humanistic studies – in particular Philosophy and Economic History – he held management roles in an important European industrial group.
For over 25 years he has studied and collected non-European antique art, with a predilection for:
–         antique textiles and jewels of various countries and ethnic groups of Southeast Asia, Japan, Indonesia, Borneo and Bhutan, as well as a number of African ethnic groups
–         Himalayan and Southeast Asian antique sacred and ethnic art.
He teaches (lecturer in Art History) at the “Università della Terza Età” (Universities of the Third Age).
He is a member of the “Italia-Asia” and “Cultural Paths” cultural associations.
He has held conferences with displays of his own collections on a number of Asian cultural themes, for the “Italia-Asia” association, in conjunction with the Museo Arte e Scienza of Milan, for FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano (Italian Environment Fund” and for CAI – Club Alpino Italiano (Italian Alpine Club).
He has recently published an article on the subject of Laotian textiles in the cultural journal “Quaderni asiatici”.

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