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upcoming exhibitions

Art in a Time of Chaos: Treasures from Six Dynasties China, 3rd – 6th Centuries

Organized by China Institute Gallery and the Nanjing Museum
Opening Fall 2016

The Six Dynasties period, from the 3rd to 6th centuries, was one of the most dynamic periods in Chinese art history, akin to the European Renaissance in the impact it had on artistic creativity and the celebration of individual expression. Over the past twenty years, archaeological excavations have unearthed extraordinary works of art, forever altering scholarly understanding of this chaotic, four-hundred-year period of political upheaval, geographical division and civil strife. Not only was the Six Dynasties period a pivotal link in the historical timeline between the Han and Tang dynasties, but it is increasingly recognized for having laid the foundation for Chinese artistic standards, genres, subjects, and important themes that continue to define Chinese art today.

This exhibition will present the artistic innovations and achievements evidenced by recent archaeological findings from both the Southern and Northern Dynasties across four major disciplines: ceramics, sculpture, calligraphy and painting. Each of these disciplines provides a different glimpse into daily and ritual life during this time. Through instability came great artistic innovation, resulting in the emergence of enduring subjects, genres, and themes. This exhibition will highlight these lasting elements of Six Dynasties art, allowing visitors to see and better understand the trajectory of Chinese art that continues to today.

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Celadon vessel in a shape of beast, Western Jin dynasty (265-317)


Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens

Organized by China Institute Gallery
Opening Fall 2017

Mountains, in Chinese legends, are the pillars that hold up the sky. Mountains were seen as places that nurture life. Their veneration took the form of rituals, retreat from social society, and aesthetic appreciation through art of their vast beauty– some of the many ways that nature played and continues to play a defining role in Chinese culture. Indeed, mountains can be seen as a backbone for Chinese cultural and artistic expression, having inspired forms and traditions across place and time.

This exhibition will present the geography, history, culture, life, and art that is associated with or derived from mountains. Consisting of three sections: The Lofty Mountains: The Famous Mountains of China 高山仰止, will introduce the geography, history, legends, and cultures that are associated with famous Chinese mountains; The Pure Sound of Landscape: The Mountains and Chinese Landscape Aesthetic 山水清音, will introduce the renowned Chinese landscape painting aesthetic and how it influenced contemporary photography; and The New Landscape Photography 新山水摄影, will showcase photographers using photography and post-photographic visual affects to express their thoughts on the role of mountains in society. This exhibition will present over 60 photographs by more than 20 contemporary photographers, including Wang Wusheng 汪芜生, Lei Zhenliang 雷振梁, Sun Jingqiang 孙晋强, Lu Hao 卢浩, Yao Lu姚璐, Taca 塔可, Yan Zhangjiang 颜长江 and Xiao Xuan’an 肖萱安.

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Disciples of Buddha and Fairy Maiden Peak, taken at Peak Lying on the Clouds June 2004, 8 A.M., Wang Wusheng


Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit and Afterlife Objects from Xuzhou

Organized by China Institute Gallery and
Xuzhou Municipal Museum
Opening Spring 2017

In 201 BCE, the first emperor of the Han Dynasty knighted his younger brother as the first king of the Chu Kingdom, which was centered in Peng Cheng, today’s Xuzhou, in northern Jiangsu Province. Ruling under the emperor’s protection, and given special exemption from imperial taxes, elites in this Kingdom enjoyed a lavish and luxurious lifestyle. Twelve generations of kings lived, died, and were buried in sumptuous tombs carved into the nearby rocky hills. Over the years, many tombs were looted. In 1995, several un-looted tombs were excavated, revealing contents that testify to the Chu kings’ affluence, as well as their beliefs on immortality and the afterlife. One of the most stunning finds was an elaborate jade sarcophagi burial suit, assembled from hundreds of pieces of jade, a precious stone adored by Chinese people since the Neolithic period as an auspicious material that could ensure immortality. This exhibition will feature one such jade suit, outstanding examples of jade carvings, and other tomb contents highlighting how these powerful and wealthy kings prepared for death and envisioned their afterlives to-come, allowing for a fascinating glimpse into life in ancient China.

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Jade Mask with Gold Thread, Western Han (206BC – 24AD)