March 21, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU's Kessler Collection Contains Pottery, Textiles from East Asia


VALDOSTA -- Jeannette and Charles Kessler recently donated a number of items collected during their extensive travels in East Asia to Valdosta State University’s Archives and Special Collections. This includes three pieces of Ban Chiang pottery, one that is over 1,650 years old, one that is over 2,000 years old, and one that is over 3,000 years old; a trunk filled with woven antique textiles from Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, and other countries; and more than 60 photographs taken of the people of Tibet, collectively referred to as the “Faces of Tibet.”

“These items are dramatic and unique,” said Deborah S. Davis, certified archivist, director of VSU Archives and Special Collections, and chairwoman of the Library Art Committee.

Twenty-two items from this collection will remain on display on the second floor of VSU’s Odum Library through the end of March. Both the campus community and the general public are encouraged to view the exhibit during library operating hours -- noon to 2 a.m. Sunday, 7:45 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Regarding the “Faces of Tibet” portion of the collection, Charles Kessler said, “Tibet is a land with spectacular scenery. However, during my visits, I found the people of Tibet just as spectacular and chose to concentrate my photography on them. There is only one photograph without people in the exhibit.” He flew to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in May of 1999, hiring a car, driver, and guide and stopping along the drive to photograph the people. “Their faces were fascinating,” he said. He returned the following February to photograph the people and festivities of the Tibetan New Year and was able to witness Buddhists gathering to worship at Jokhang Temple, the most sacred temple in Tibet.

“Jeannette was a teacher and Charles was an accountant who worked and then traveled in East Asia in the 1980s to 2000s,” according to information provided by Davis. “Their valuable and large collection represents an exciting gift to VSU Archives and Special Collections.”

In addition to the Kessler Collection, the Odum Library currently has two other collections on display. The Lamar Dodd Collection is housed on the north side’s first floor and features 20 paintings and prints from a variety of significant 20th century and a few 19th century artists. The Ross Rosenberg Collection is housed on the north side’s second floor and features 15 very big paintings and drawings and sculptures.

Also hanging inside the library, in the hub gallery area on the north side’s second floor, is Amalia Amaki’s “For the Love of Books,” which was created in memory of William H. Mobley IV, who supported Odum Library through book donations over the years. The pieces from the Kessler Collection are in the same area.

Odum Library “has by far the largest art collection in the university,” Davis said. In October 2011, VSU celebrated the kickoff of Art in Odum, an initiative that resulted in the library becoming more than just a run-of-the-mill library but a destination promoting education through the unexpected.

For more information about the Art in Odum initiative, contact Deborah S. Davis, certified archivist, director of VSU Archives and Special Collections, and chairwoman of the Library Art Committee, at (229) 259-7756 or, or visit
For more information about the Lamar Dodd Collection, visit
For more information about the Ross Rosenberg Collection, visit
For more information about the Amalia Amaki piece, visit

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