Artists often borrow from each other, and each time they do they contribute to the deep history of an idea or piece. This necklace is from a series called Jasper’s Variations—a tribute to contemporary painter Jasper Johns. William Harper borrows the crosshatched pattern in the center medallion from Johns’s Between the Clock and the Bed (1981), which itself was inspired by a 1940–42 self-portrait by Edvard Munch with the same title.
The various charms are based on Hindu or Buddhist tantric scriptures, which deal with meditation, sexual techniques, and other rituals. Harper emphasizes the creative bond he feels with Johns by incorporating their names, side by side, in the center of this piece.
Nine Tantric Amulets for Jasper Johns
- length: 24 in. (61 cm)
© 1994, William Harper
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Frances and Sydney Lewis
- Mediums Description
- gold cloisonné enamel on fine silver with 24k, 22k, 18k, and 14k gold, pearls, garnet, tourmaline, and peridot
- Figure – fragment – hand
- Animal – insect – butterfly
- Homage – Johns, Jasper
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI