Past Exhibitions

Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens
山艺术:中国摄影家的镜像

February 8, 2018 - August 18, 2019

In Chinese legend, mountains 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 with a defining role in Chinese art and culture.

Art of the Mountain will consist of three sections: Revered Mountains of China will introduce the geography, history, legends, and culture that are associated with Chinese mountains and will include photographs by Hou Heliang, Kang Songbai and Kang Liang, Li Daguang, Lin Maozhao, Li Xueliang, Lu Hao, Zhang Anlu, Xiao Chao, Yan Shi, Wang Jing, Zhang Jiaxuan, Zhang Huajie, and Zheng Congli. Landscape Aesthetics in Photography will present Wang Wusheng’s photography of Mount Huangshan, also known as Yellow Mountain, to reflect the renowned Chinese landscape painting aesthetic and its influence. New Landscape Photography includes the works of Hong Lei, Lin Ran, Lu Yanpeng, Shao Wenhuan, Taca Sui, Xiao Xuan’an, Yan Changjiang, Yang Yongliang, Yao Lu, Zeng Han, Gao Hui, and Feng Yan, who express their thoughts on the role of mountains in society.

Major exhibition support for Art of the Mountain has been provided by Masahiro Hashiguchi. Art of the Mountain is also made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support has been provided by: Confucius Institute Headquarters; Shirley and Walter Wang; Gayle Ong and James Chin; Marie and Shau Wai Lam; The Rosenkranz Foundation; Dame Jillian and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler Foundation for the Arts, Sciences and Humanities; Miranda Wong Tang; Laurie Jue-Ying and David Ying; and other individual and institutional funders.


Organized by China Institute Gallery

Curators:

Willow Weilan Hai, Jerome Silbergeld, and Jiang Rong

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The Art Newspaper
  • China Daily
  • China Press
  • Sing Tao

Related Programs:

  • Curator's Lecture (Part 1): Jerome Silbergeld. "Painting, Photography, Geography: Chinese Traditions of Silk and Paper Mountains" (February 8, 2018)
  • Curator's Lecture (Part 2): Jiang Rong. "New Shanshui Photography: Chinese Landscape Photography with a New Dimension" (March 21, 2018)
  • 5th Annual Orchid Pavilion Gathering: Willow Weilan Hai. An Afternoon of poetry, music, and art (March 10, 2018)
  • Symposium: "Photography and China". Speakers included: Willow Weilan Hai, Jerome Silbergeld, Joseph Chang, Jonathan Chaves, Xia Zhongyi, Jian Rong, Stanley B. Burns, Jim Megargee, Mia Yinxing Liu, Vicki Goldberg, Lois Conner, Yang Yongliang, Jiaxuan Jim Zhang, and Robert Pledge (September 22, 2018)
  • Performance: Chen Tao and 7s Art Group Inc. "Silk and Bamboo (sizhu): Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with Chinese Music" (September 29, 2018)
  • 6th Annual Orchid Pavilion Gathering: The Artist Talk. Willow Weilan Hai, Guo Zhen, LanDing Liu, Lin Yan, & Robert C. Morgan. (March 16, 2019)

Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou
楚王梦:玉衣与永生,徐州博物馆汉代珍藏

May 25–November 12, 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 lifestyle. Twelve generations of kings lived, died, and were buried in sumptuous tombs carved into the nearby rocky hills. Since the mid-20th Century, nearly hundred tombs were excavated, revealing contents that testify to the Chu kings’ affluence, as well as their beliefs in immortality and the afterlife.

One of the most stunning finds was an elaborate jade burial suit, assembled from 4,246 pieces of Khotan jade, the most precious stone adored by Chinese people since the Neolithic period as an auspicious material that could ensure immortality. This exhibition features the jade suit, and other tomb contents that highlight how these powerful and wealthy kings prepared for death and envisioned their eternal afterlife to come.

The Lead Sponsors of this exhibition, its catalogue, and related public programs are Liu Dan and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. Additional support is provided by Confucius Institute Headquarters; Masahiro Hashiguchi; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Dame Jillian and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler Foundation for the Arts, Sciences & Humanities; Laurie Jue-Ying and David Ying; members of China Institute’s Friends of the Gallery; and other Exhibition Sponsors.

Exhibition Video:


Organized by China Institute Gallery and Xuzhou Museum. Exhibition directed by Willow Weilan Hai

Curators:

Li Yinde

Exhibition Traveled To:

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO December 16, 2017–April 1, 2018

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Artdaily
  • Fox 5 News
  • Sing Tao
  • Sinovision

Related Programs:

  • Curators Lecture: Li Yinde. "Discovering Shizishan: Archaeology in the Chu King's Mausoleum" (May 25, 2017)
  • Lecture Series: "The Glories of the Han Dynasty". Speakers included: Michael Nylan, Susan Beningson, Lillian Tseng, and Valerie Hansen (September - October 2018)
  • Lecture: Keziah Chan. "From Han Emperors to Jewelry Connoisseurs: Unveiling the Mysteries of Jade" (October 10, 2017)

Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks from Six Dynasties China, 3rd–6th Centuries
乱世绝响:六朝艺术,三至六世纪

September 30, 2016–March 19, 2017

The Six Dynasties (220–589 CE) was a significant and transformative era in Chinese art history despite three centuries of turmoil. In recent decades, archaeological excavations have yielded extraordinary works of art from the Six Dynasties period. They have prompted a reconsideration of the impact of this era on the full sweep of Chinese art history. This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue highlight works selected from the collections of the Nanjing Museum, the Nanjing Municipal Museum, and the Shanxi Museum. It brings together under one roof objects from both southern and northern China in a broader examination of this period’s artistic achievements through the major mediums of celadon ceramics, sculpture, calligraphy, and painting to reveal the cultural life of the Six Dynasties.

The Lead Sponsors of Art in a Time of Chaos, its catalogue, and related public programs are the Henry Luce Foundation and Liu Dan. Additional support was provided by Confucius Institute at China Institute; E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; Jeong Ok and William Carey; New York Council for the Humanities; members of China Institute’s Friends of the Gallery; and other individual donors. Accommodation support was provided by the Holiday Inn Financial District.

Exhibition Video:


Exhibition organized by China Institute Gallery in collaboration with the Nanjing Museum, Nanjing Municipal Museum, and Shanxi Museum.

Curators:

Willow Weilan Hai, Annette Juliano, Gong Liang, Shi Jinming, and Bai Ning

Exhibition Traveled To:

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii, April 28–August 21, 2016

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Antique Week
  • Asian Art Newspaper
  • The China Press

Related Programs:

  • Curator's Lecture: Willow Weilan Hai and Annette Juliano. "Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks from Six Dynasties China, 3rd - 6th Centuries" (September 30, 2016)
  • Symposium: "Rethinking the Six Dynasties, 3rd - 6th Centuries". Speakers included: Bai, Ning; Willow Weilan Hai; Hu, Axiang; Annette Juliano; Keith N. Knapp; Morris Rossabi; Sören Stark; Song, Tao; Stephen F. Teiser; Zhang, Fan; Zhou, Xiaolu (October 1, 2016)
  • Literature of the Six Dynasties Period: A Ben Wang Lecture Series (October 2016)
  • Chinese New Year Lecture: Susan L. Beningson. "Celebrating the Rooster" (January 18, 2017)
  • Orchid Pavilion Gathering: Willow Weilan Hai. "Why Six Dynasties?" (March 4, 2017)
  • Asia Week Lecture: Willow Weilan Hai. "Why the Seven Sages?" (March 15, 2017)
  • Asia Week Lecture: Nicholas Wilson General Manager of Porcelain Department, China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd. (March 16, 2017)

Mao’s Golden Mangoes and the Cultural Revolution
毛的金芒果与文化大革命

September 18, 2014–April 26, 2015

During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), China experienced a political “mango-fever.” In 1968, after receiving mangoes as gifts from the visiting Pakistani foreign minister, Mao Zedong sent the fruit to the Worker-Peasant Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Teams. His gift coincided with a turning point when the Cultural Revolution changed from a student-dominated movement to a worker- and peasant-led movement. Mangoes, an unfamiliar fruit at that time in China, became a temporary political symbol of Chairman Mao’s benevolence and love for the people. Illustrations and photos of mangoes appeared in publications, paintings, posters, and badges, as well as on everyday objects such as mirrors, quilt covers, and enamelware. Wax mango models were displayed in glass vitrines to express reverence for Mao’s gift, along with the circumstances of the mango gift printed in red on the cases. By showcasing over eighty mango-related objects, this exhibition explored the interaction of material culture and politics during this period.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the generous support of China Institute Friends of the Gallery and Sponsors of the Exhibition.


Organized by the Museum Rietberg Zürich; the China Institute Gallery showing of the exhibition was expanded to include loans from the Collection of Judy Manton and an anonymous private collector.

Curators:

Alfreda Murck and Alexandra von Przychowski

Exhibition Traveled To:

Rietberg Museum, Zurich, Switzerland, February 15–June 16, 2013

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Alfredo Murck, “Mao’s Golden Mangoes: The Intersection of Fruit, Art, Passion, and Propaganda” (September 18, 2014).
  • Lecture Series (April, 2015): Zhijian Qian, “Fragmentary Memory: Visual Reflection of the Cultural Revolution in Works of Artists Born in the 1960s;” Carma Hinton , “The Posthumous Life of Chairman Mao;” Dorothy Ko, “Fashion and Gender in Mao’s China;” Jane DeBevoise, “ Art and the Cultural Revolution: A conversation with Zheng Shengtian.”
  • Film Series: “The Cultural Revolution on Film” (October 15–November 19, 2014). Films about the Cultural Revolution were produced by both Chinese and Western filmmakers. Experts in the field of Chinese and cinema studies introduced each film. Movies included: Two Stage Sisters (1964); Morning Sun (2003); The Drugstore and the Football Incidents (1975); Though I am Gone (2006); and Sacrificed Youth (1986). Speakers included: Richard Peña, Carma Hinton, Nancy Jervis, Weili Ye, and Renqiu Yu.

Inspired by Dunhuang: Re-creation in Contemporary Chinese Art
敦煌灵感:当代中国艺术的再创

December 14, 2013–June 8, 2014

This exhibition was organized by China Institute Gallery and curated by Willow Weilan Hai, Director of China Institute Gallery, and Jerome Silbergeld, the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese Art History and Director of the Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University.

Like the old masters before them, modern and contemporary luminaries, such as Zhang Daqian (1899–1983), Zhang Hongtu, Liu Jude, Liu Dan, Yu Hong, and others, have sought inspiration from Dunhuang’s ancient sculptures and murals. This exhibition presented the breathtaking accomplishments of their painstaking efforts with works that capture the experience of Dunhuang in powerfully transformative ways. With its carefully curated groups of paintings, calligraphy, sculptures, photographs, and mixed media installations, this exhibition encompassed a variety of themes and forms. It was a pioneering exploration of the historical, literary, artistic, and conceptual nature of the inspiration and influence exerted by Dunhuang’s thousand-year-old tradition on contemporary artistic creation.

This exhibition was made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and by the generous support of the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation; and China Institute Friends of the Gallery.


Organized by China Institute Gallery and curated by Willow Hai Chang, Director of China Institute Gallery, and Jerome Silbergeld, the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese Art History and Director of the Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University.

Curators:

Willow Weilan Hai and Jerome Silbergeld

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Daily
  • China Press

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Willow Weilan Hai and Jerome Silbergeld, “Inspired by Dunhuang: Re-creation in Contemporary Chinese Art,” with Dr. Silbergeld’s talk entitled “Inspiration, Influence, Imagination: The Role of the Past in Chinese Art” (December 13, 2013).
  • Symposium: “Inspired by Dunhuang” (December 14, 2013). Speakers included: Mary Anne Cartelli, Mimi Gardner Gates, Karen Hwang, Annette L. Juliano, Alfreda Murck, Jerome Silbergeld and Susan Whitfield. 112-5. Lu Mei (陆楣), a participating artist, introduces his artwork during an interview in the Gallery. Renowned scholars presented papers on art, history, literature and religion to contextualize this year’s Dunhuang exhibition. The symposium also gave voice to several participating artists, Liu Dan, Wang Mansheng, Zhang Hongtu, Lu Mei, Sun Xuting, Emily Cheng, and Tian Fangfang.

Dunhuang: Buddhist Art at the Gateway of the Silk Road
敦煌:丝路佛光

April 19–October 6, 2013

Dunhuang, an oasis city on the edge of the Gobi Desert and the western gateway to China, is the home of one of the world’s most esteemed art shrines and cultural heritage sites, the Mogao Caves. This exhibition addressed art and ritual practices of the Northern (420–589) and the Tang (618–907) dynasties, featuring excavated art works, high relief clay figures, wooden sculpture, silk banners, and molded bricks. A group of treasured Buddhist sutras from the famous Cangjingdong 藏经洞 (The Library Cave) illustrated the story behind Dunhuang’s historic discovery. To re-create the sensation of visiting the caves, the exhibition reconstructed a cave from the eighth century, which contained a beautiful Bodhisattva of the Mogao Caves and a central pillar from the sixth century.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and by the generous support of the Asian Cultural Council; Blakemore Foundation; the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; the Henry Luce Foundation; and China Institute Friends of the Gallery.


Organized by Dunhuang Academy and China Institute Gallery. Exhibition directed by Willow Weilan Hai

Curators:

Fan Jinshi

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art
  • China Daily

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: “Mogao Caves at Dunhuang: The Power of Place,” Annette L. Juliano (April 19, 2013).
  • Orchid Pavilion Salon (June 19, 2013).

New “China:” Porcelain Art from Jingdezhen, 1910–2012
新瓷:景德镇的百年瓷艺,1910—2012

September 21–December 9, 2012

Jingdezhen, located in the northeastern region of Jiangxi Province, is known as China’s “Porcelain Capital” and has served as the major production center of Chinese export porcelain for over one thousand years. Due to the abundance of natural resources, centuries of technological development, and booming global demand, Jingdezhen cultivated an enormous industry of specialized and accomplished clay fabricators, glaze painters, and kiln firers. Since the Song dynasty (960–1279), merchants came from all over the world to commission beautiful ceramic ware from the skilled artisans of Jingdezhen. Featuring forty-seven sets of porcelain from this region from 1910 to 2012, the exhibition explored the authoritative influence of Jingdezhen on ceramic arts during the last one hundred years, introducing a special group of modern and contemporary artists who have revitalized Jingdezhen as the world’s ceramic market through their contemporary ideas and progressive techniques.

This exhibition, related programming, and catalogue have been made possible, in part, by the generous support of Gayle Ong and James J. Chin; Shanghai Yipinghui Culture Development Co., Ltd.; and China Institute Friends of the Gallery. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).


Organized by China Institute Gallery. Exhibition directed by Willow Weilan Hai.

Curators:

Lili Fang and Nancy Selvage

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Press
  • China Daily (web only)
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Lili Fang, “New ‘China’: Porcelain Art from Jingdezhen” (September 21, 2012).
  • Symposium: “New ‘China’: Porcelain Art from Jingdezhen” (September 22, 2012).

Theater, Life, and the Afterlife: Tomb Décor of the Jin Dynasty from Shanxi
生死同乐:山西金代戏曲砖雕艺术

February 9–June 17, 2012

Brick carving is a traditional folk art that was used to decorate architecture and adorn tombs. Excavations in recent decades have uncovered unique, theatrically-themed brick carvings from Shanxi Province, revealing a passion for theater and opera within the region during the Jin dynasty (1115– 1234). The tombs in Shanxi, adorned with beautiful, intricate brick carvings and other decoration, illustrated two kinds of popular entertainment: Za Ju 杂剧, formal performances of written plays; and San Qu 散剧, performances related to village festivals. With an entirely reconstructed tomb and nearly ninety items, the exhibition highlighted the intersection of brick carving and theater traditions and offered visitors insight into the ways ancient art patrons transferred the artistic joys of life into the afterlife.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation and China Institute Friends of the Gallery.


Organized by China Institute Gallery in collaboration with Shanxi Museum. Exhibition directed by Willow Weilan Hai.

Curators:

Shi Jinming

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art
  • China Press 侨报
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报

Related Programs:

  • Lecture Series (February–April, 2012): Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, “Theater, Life, and the Afterlife;” Xing Fan, “History of Chinese Drama;” Jeff Morgan, “Preserving the Ancient Pingyao City, Shanxi Province.”
  • Short Course: Hsin-Mei Agnes Hsu, “Art and History of China, Part I” (January 24, 2012).
  • Short Course: Ben Wang, “Classical Chinese Theater in Ming, Qing, and the Republic” (April 10, 2012).

Blooming in the Shadows: Unofficial Chinese Art, 1974–1985
暗影下绽放的花朵:中国的在野艺术,1974—1985

September 15–December 11, 2011

Contemporary Chinese art has taken the global art world by storm in the last decade through widely heralded museum exhibitions, well-read publications, and heavily attended art auctions. Even with all the attention, few exhibitions have asked the question of how— against the background of thirty-five years of Socialist Realism—this internationally-oriented artwork suddenly appeared and why it captured the attention of the international art market. This exhibition introduced the work of three unofficial Chinese art groups: the No Names, the Stars, and the Grass Society—all of which arose at the end of the Cultural Revolution and helped launch the avant-garde movement in China. The artists pursued creatively diverse paths to personal artistic freedom under the political circumstances of the time, producing works in the critical decade after the end of the Cultural Revolution leading up the Communist party’s 1985 decision to allow modern artistic practices.

This exhibition, related programming, and catalogue have been made possible, in part, by the generous support of Carolyn Hsu-Balcer and René Balcer; Edward A. Studzinski; and China Institute Friends of the Gallery.


Organized by China Institute Gallery. Exhibition directed by Willow Weilan Hai.

Curators:

Kuiyi Shen and Julia F. Andrews

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • Yishu Magazine 艺术

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Kuiyi Shen, “Blooming in the Shadows: Unofficial Chinese Art, 1974-1985” (September 15, 2011).
  • Symposium: “Blooming in the Shadows: Art and Culture at the Dawn of the Post-Mao Era” (September 17, 2011). Speakers included: Professor Jerome A. Cohen and Dr. Jane DeBevoise. China Institute presented a symposium with renowned scholars and artists speaking on history and law, art history, literature, and performance to contextualize this ground-breaking exhibition (Symposium information gathered from Asian Art Archive).

Along the Yangzi River: Regional Culture of the Bronze Age from Hunan
沿着长江:湖南的古代青铜器

January 27–June 12, 2011

The middle bank of the Yangzi River is one of the most significant cradles of Chinese civilization and is, today, a vibrant area for study of Chinese bronze culture. Several significant excavations over the past decades have facilitated the examination of undeveloped aspects of this culture through exquisite bronze vessels from the Hunan Provincial Museum. This exhibition explored regional culture along the Yangzi River in three parts: the development and characteristics of regional bronzes, their function and patronage, and their cultural connection to central China. By presenting more than seventy technically sophisticated Chinese bronzes, including animal-shaped ritualistic vessels, ornate percussion instruments, bells with intricate patterns, and finely decorated swords and axes, this exhibition revealed the fascinating story of this region.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts; and the generous support of Mary Lawrence Porter and China Institute Friends of the Gallery.


Organized by China Institute Gallery in collaboration with the Hunan Provincial Museum. Exhibition directed by Willow Weilan Hai.

Curators:

Chen Jianming, Jay Xu, and Fu Juliang

Exhibition Traveled To:

Shaw Ruddock Gallery, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, September 1, 2011–January 8, 2012

Media Coverage:

  • Holland Cotter, “Art in Review: Along the Yangzi River,” The New York Times, June 3, 2011.

    “Sometimes you walk into exhibitions in the China Institute’s two small galleries and you can’t quite believe what you’re seeing: unfamiliar examples of ancient art of a kind and quality you would otherwise have to travel deep into China to find. And even there you would be hard-pressed to see work so lucidly presented, and with so generous an amount of supporting scholarship.”

    “It’s also enchanting to look at, which is the bottom-line attraction of everything here, objects rich in detail, from the assertions and delicacies of linear surface designs to almost impossible subtleties of color and tone in patinas...The exhibition itself, once seen, has a long shelf life in the mind.”

  • “Along the Yangzi River: Regional Culture of the Bronze Age from Hunan,” Asian Art, March 2011.

    “This comprehensive exhibition focuses on ancient bronzes from the middle banks of the Yangzi River...and surveys the story of this regional culture in three ways: the development and characteristics of Hunan bronzes, their function and patronage, and their cultural connection to central China.”

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报

Related Programs:

  • Lecture: Jay Xu, “Along the Yangzi River” (January 27, 2011).
  • Lecture: Magnus Filkesjö, “Chinese Archeology and World Cultural Heritage” (May 19, 2011).
  • Short Course: Hsin-Mei Agnes Hsu, “Tombs with A View: A Short Course on Chinese Art and Archaeology” (January 11, 2011).
  • Short Course: Ben Wang, “Poetry of the South from the Bronze Age to Song” (April 5, 2011).

Woodcuts in Modern China, 1937-2008: Towards a Universal Pictorial Language
现代中国版画,1937–2008

September 16–December 5, 2010

Although China has a long history of woodcuts and printing, Chinese artists adapted the Western woodcut and oil-based printing technique in the early twentieth century in order to search for a simplified pictorial language that could resonate with the illiterate masses. This movement initiated the development of Chinese Communist art and also set the stage for modern Chinese art in a general sense. While past scholarly publications and survey exhibitions familiarized wider audiences with aspects of the modern Chinese woodcut movement, this exhibition, which featured sixty-eight pieces, presented a comprehensive overview of the beginnings and the development of this important art form during the modern period of Chinese history from the 1930s to the present.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support from the China Institute Friends of the Gallery.


Organized by China Institute Gallery in collaboration with the Hunan Provincial Museum. Exhibition directed by Willow Weilan Hai.

Curators:

Joachim Homann and Renee Covalucci

Exhibition Traveled To:

Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, December 2, 2008–April 26, 2009

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Renee Covalucci, “Woodcuts in Modern China” (September 16, 2010).
  • Lecture: Ralph Croizier, “Folk Art, Revolutionary Politics, and Market Economics” (September 28, 2010).
  • Short Course: Ben Wang, “Windows to a Culture: The Chinese Proverbs” (October 26, 2010).
  • Workshop: Yang Yu Bao, with lecture by Ben Wang, “Peking Opera Performance” (November 16, 2010).

Confucius: His Life and Legacy in Art
孔子:其人其艺

February 11–June 13, 2010

Although the arts of Buddhism and Daoism are well known, the study of art forms related to Confucianism is only just beginning. Confucianism, a philosophy based on the teachings of Confucius (551–479 BCE), pervades the customs of many Asian cultures from ancient times to the present day. We are left to wonder, however, who is Confucius? In this groundbreaking exhibition, intriguing aspects of Confucius and Confucianism were explored through material and visual culture, explaining his teachings and ritual practices. Nearly one hundred objects were selected from the Shandong Provincial Museum and the Confucius Museum in Qufu, Shandong, the hometown of Confucius, including paintings, bronzes, jade, books, costumes, stone carvings, and enamel vessels. In this first exhibition on Confucius in the United States, curators explored Confucius’ historical identity and his long-lasting influence on Chinese culture.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; and generous support of E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; Mary Lawrence Porter; and China Institute Friends of the Gallery.


Organized by China Institute Gallery and Shandong Provincial Museum. The exhibition is directed by Willow Weilan Hai, Director of China Institute Gallery, and co-curated by Lu Wensheng, Director of the Shandong Provincial Museum, and Julia K. Murray, Professor of Art History and East Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin.

Curators:

Lu Wensheng and Julia K. Murray

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Julia K. Murray, “Confucius: His Life and Legacy in Art” (February 11, 2010).
  • Lecture Series (February–May, 2010): Michael Nylan, “Two Early Authoritative Accounts of the Life of Confucius;” John S. Major, “Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism: China’s ‘Three Religions’;” Henry Rosemont, “Contemporary Confucianism: A Moral & Religious Global Vision for the 21st Century;” Thomas A. Wilson, “The Confucius of the Temple Cults.”
  • Workshop: “Confucius: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach” (November 11, 2009).

Humanism in China: A Contemporary Record of Photography
中国人本:纪实在当代

September 24–December 13, 2009

After traveling to twenty provinces and viewing nearly one hundred thousand photographs by one thousand photographers, the curatorial committee from Guangdong Art Museum selected approximately six hundred photos by 248 photographers, who were dedicated to presenting a visual truth about China during a period when notions of truth and reality were rapidly and radically changing. Thus the first major museum collection of documentary photographs, produced by the nation’s own photographers during the years 1951 through 2003, was assembled, offering a revealing glimpse into rural and urban daily life in China beyond the glossy veneer of the economic boom. Selected from the original exhibition, the one hundred photographs presented at China Institute were a study of daily life of anonymous and ordinary people, presenting neither ideological paragons nor moral admonitions, but rather the vitality and diversity of a nation.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, through the generous support from the China Institute Friends of the Gallery.


Exhibition originally organized by the Guangdong Museum of Art; re-organized for China Institute by Jerome Silbergeld and China Institute Gallery.

Curators:

An Ge, Hu Wugong, and Wang Huangsheng

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Press
  • Orientations
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Lecture: Jerome Silbergeld, “Multiple Lenses” (September 24, 2009).
  • Symposium: “China Seen by the Chinese: Documentary Photography, 1951-2003” (October 24, 2009). Organized by the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. Speakers included: Bridget Alsdorf, D. J. Clark, James Elkins, Eliza Ho, Richard K. Kent, William Schaefer, and Jerome Silbergeld.

Noble Tombs at Mawangdui: Art and Life in the Changsha Kingdom, Third Century BCE to First Century CE
马王堆汉墓:古长沙国的艺术和生活

February 12–June 7, 2009

In the 1970s, Chinese archaeologists in Hunan Province unearthed three tombs, dating back to the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE–8 CE), of the Marquis of Dai (Dai hou, 轪侯), chancellor of the Changsha kingdom, his wife Lady Xin Zhui 辛追, and their son. Over three thousand cultural relics reflecting the opulent life of this noble family were recovered from the site. This exhibition presented sixty-eight treasures from Mawangdui 马王堆, including silk costumes, wood carvings, bronze objects, lacquerware, jade ornaments, and seals, as well as sections of the Yang Sheng Fang 养生方 manuscript, a medical text that outlines various techniques of enhancing vitality and lengthening life. The artworks, portraying aspects of daily life ranging from food to cosmetics and fashion and from entertainment to healthcare and exercise, provided a fascinating picture of reverence for the afterlife imparted by the ancients more than two thousand years ago.


Exhibition organized by China Institute Gallery and the Hunan Provincial Museum; catalogue published by Yuelu Publishing House; copyright 2008 by Yuelu Publishing House.

Curators:

Chen Jianming

Exhibition Traveled To:

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California, September 19 to December 13, 2009

Media Coverage:

  • Ken Johnson, “Art Review: How the Upper Crust Lived, and Died, in Early China,” The New York Times, April 10, 2009.

    “Because they had escaped the notice of plunderers and because of the unusually well-preserved state of their contents, the tombs are considered among the major archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. Momentous as this sounds, the exhibition is not one of those astounding, blockbuster compendiums of shiny gold and jeweled treasures. Most of the material, including samples of fabric, lacquer ware, lamps, grooming implements and wooden figurines, is more remarkable for historical than artistic reasons. Scholarly specialists will be most appreciative.”

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art
  • China Press 侨报
  • Orientations
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • World Journal 世界日报
  • Xinhua News Agency

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Chen Jianming, “Noble Tombs at Mawangdui” (February 12, 2009).
  • Symposium: “Archaeology, Cosmology and Technology: The Culture and History of Chu” (May 10, 2009). Speakers included: Lothar Von Falkenhausen, John S. Major, Sarah Allan, Robert Murowchick, Colin Mackenzie, Robert P. Youngman, and Hsin-Mei Agnes Hsu. This symposium explored the significance of Mawangdui by drawing attention to the Yangzi region as a conduit for cultural exchange and innovation rather than simply a recipient of culture transmitted from northern China.

The Last Emperor’s Collection: Masterpieces of Painting and Calligraphy from the Liaoning Provincial Museum
末帝宝鉴:辽宁省博物馆藏清宫散佚明清书画

September 25–December 14, 2008

Painting and calligraphy have been a treasured part of the imperial collection throughout Chinese history since at least the fifth century. In the early twentieth century, China’s last emperor, Puyi, sold off and dispersed countless palace treasures. Since 1949, the Liaoning Provincial Museum has successfully reassembled a large part of that collection, ranging from the earliest masterworks of painting and calligraphy created in the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420) to works from the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). This exhibition included twenty-four works of Ming (1368– 1644) and Qing dynasty calligraphy and painting, all from the former imperial collection. It introduced the history of imperial collecting and examined the impact of imperial collecting on contemporaneous society. In addition, the exhibition gave insight into the imperial collection management system and illustrated critical standards used in the appreciation and recording of works of art.


Exhibition organized by China Institute Gallery and the Liaoning Provincial Museum; catalogue published by China Institute, New York, New York; copyright 2008 by China Institute in America.

Curators:

Willow Weilan Hai, Yang Renkai, and David Ake Sensabaugh

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • The Art Newspaper

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: David Ake Sensabaugh, “The Imperial Collection” (September 25, 2008).
  • Lecture: Willow Weilan Hai, “The Last Emperor and His Treasures” (October 7, 2008).
  • Symposium: “The Last Emperor’s Collection” (October 26, 2008). Speakers included: Pamela Crossley, David Ake Sensabaugh, Claudia Brown, and Nixi Cura. In this symposium, scholars discussed the history of the Imperial Collection during Puyi’s reign, Ming and Qing paintings in the Imperial Collection, and the establishment of modern art historical practices in China.
  • Workshop: “Unroll the Scroll: Behind the Scenes of the Last Emperor’s Collection” (December 16, 2008). This workshop provided an opportunity to see the scrolls in their entirety, without the cover of glass, and to appreciate China’s most revered artworks with the expert guidance of the curator.

Beijing 2008: A Photographic Journey 2008
走进北京:摄影之旅

June 12–August 17, 2008

From the fifteenth-century Forbidden City to the new titanium, egg- shaped National Opera House, Beijing offers visitors some of the world’s most stunning architectural views. The exhibition presented an architectural overview of this world famous city—the political, educational, and cultural center of China. Timed to coincide with the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the exhibition presented sixty photographs, including contemporary images by twenty Chinese photographers from the Beijing City Photographers Association. These photographers focused on famous landmarks in Beijing, such as the CCTV headquarters by Rem Koolhaas, the National Stadium (also called the Bird’s Nest) by Herzog & de Meuron, and Terminal 3 at the Beijing Capital International Airport conceived by Norman Foster, all designed by prominent architects. By displaying photographs dating from the 1930s, this exhibition also gave visitors insights into the historical context of the development of Beijing. 


Organized by China Institute Gallery and the Beijing Archive Bureau.

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art
  • China Press 侨报
  • Orientations
  • 新华社
  • 经济日报

Related Programs:

  • Lecture: Robert L. Thorp, “Historic Beijing in the 21st Century” (June 24, 2008).

Enchanted Stories: Chinese Shadow Theater in Shaanxi
老故事:陕西皮影艺术

January 31–May 11, 2008

The first shadow puppet exhibition in the United States, this exhibition presented rare shadow puppets dating to the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Approximately ninety translucent and dramatically colored puppets made of animal hide were presented thematically through famous Chinese legends and characters, such as A Journey to the West, Madam White Snake, and The Twice-Visited Netherworld. By showing these perfectly preserved shadow puppets on light boxes, the exhibition revealed the distinctive style and technical advancement of late Qing dynasty craftsmanship. As one of the most beloved forms of folk entertainment in China, the puppets and their fascinating stories explored the history and life of the Chinese throughout the centuries.


Exhibition organized by China Institute Gallery in collaboration with the Shaanxi Provincial Art Gallery.

Catalogue

Ed. by Wang Dingzhi and Xiu Jianqiao,Enchanted Stories: Chinese Shadow Theater in Shaanxi. New York: China Institute Gallery, China Institute, 2007.

Out of stock

Curators:

Chen Shanqiao, Li Hongjun, and Zhao Nong

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Press 侨报

Related Programs:

  • Lecture: Mary Hirsch, “Enchanted Stories” (January 31, 2008).
  • Performance: Chinese Theatre Works, “Shadow Theater Performance” (February 24, 2008).

Buddhist Sculpture from China: Selections from the Xi’an Beilin Museum, Fifth through Ninth Centuries
碑林藏佛教造像选萃

September 20–December 8, 2007

As the first China Institute Gallery exhibition dedicated solely to Chinese Buddhist art, this exhibition presented more than seventy magnificent stone sculptures, steles, gilt bronze objects, and clay votive tablets from the Beilin Museum 碑林博物馆, which houses one of the world’s most important collections of Buddhist stone sculptures. Many of the seventy-six objects in the exhibition were excavated in the last twenty-five years and were being exhibited in the West for the first time. By tracing the stylistic development from the Northern (420–589), through the Sui (581–618) to the Tang (618–907) dynasties, this exhibition illuminated important themes in Buddhist art and religion that had not been explored before, paving new paths for scholarship.


Curators:

Annette L. Juliano

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art
  • China Press 侨报
  • Orientations
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Annette L. Juliano, “Anatomy of an Exhibition: Buddhist Sculpture from the Beilin Museum” (September 20, 2007).
  • Lecture: “Picturing Heaven: Pathways to Paradise in Early Medieval China” (November 13, 2007).
  • Symposium: “Art and Practice: Buddhism in China from the 5th to 9th Centuries” (October 21, 2007).
  • Short Course: “Buddhism in Poetry and Painting” (October 9, 2007). * Information gathered from Asian Art Archive.

Tea, Wine and Poetry: Qing Dynasty Literati and their Drinking Vessels
诗酒茶情:清代制壶名家遗珍

March 24–June 16, 2007

China was the first country in the world to grow, produce, and drink tea. As interest grew throughout the centuries, a tea culture representing the philosophical and aesthetic views of China developed. As the first in-depth study of Yixing vessels within the context of individual artists, this exhibition reflected the rich tradition of Chinese tea culture. Yixing teapots, made from a highly prized clay from Yixing in Jiangsu Province, west of Shanghai, were among the many highlights. Featuring more than fifty works of ceramics, pewter, paintings, and calligraphies, as well as other media drawn from various collections, this exhibition introduced the concept of tea culture as a medium for cultural communication and highlighted the esteemed artistic and social environment of the literati, reflecting the academic and literary currents from the late Ming (1368– 1644) to the Qing (1644–1911) dynasties.


Traveling show organized by the University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong; catalogue copyright 2006 by University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong.

Catalogue

Soong Shu Kong, Guo Ruoyu, and Anita Wong, Tea, Wine and Poetry: Qing Dynasty Literati and their Drinking Vessels, ed. by Anita Wong. Hong Kong: University Museum, 2007.

Out of stock

Curators:

Guo Ruoyu and Soong Shu Kong

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • 参考消息

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Guo Ruoyu, “Tea, Wine, and Poetry” (March 24, 2007).
  • Short Course: “Reflections on ‘la Joie de Vivre’ in Classical Chinese Literature” (May 8, 2007).

Tea, Wine and Poetry: The Art Of Drinking Vessels at The International Asian Art Fair, New York
茶、酒、诗:饮具之艺术

March 23–March 28, 2007

Brian and Anna Haughton’s International Asian Art Fair was open from March 22 to 28, 2007. The fair, in its eleventh year, presented over fifty dealers from around the world, along with a special loan from the China Institute in New York. This exquisite exhibition featured highlights from the “Tea, Wine and Poetry: Qing Dynasty Literati and their Drinking Vessels,” which began March 2007 at China Institute.


Organized by China Institute Gallery

Related Programs:

  • Tea Time: “A Chinese Tea Tasting” (March 26, 2007).

Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art
书:中国当代艺术的再创

Part I: September 28–November 11, 2006; Part II: December 13, 2006–February 24, 2007

The book—as subject, inspiration, or artistic medium—lies behind some of the best-known works of the Chinese avant-garde. Since the 1980s, these artists have undertaken many book-related projects. The high frequency and impressive creativity of their projects demonstrate the important roles that books have played as sources for artistic imagination and visual vocabulary in contemporary Chinese art. More than thirty works from twenty-two prominent Chinese artists were presented at this exhibit, illuminating complex relations between traditional and diversified artistic approaches. This exhibition was the first serious examination of the influence of books in contemporary Chinese art and demonstrated how contemporary Chinese artists conducted artistic experiments to engage both China’s cultural heritage and modern concerns. Structured around three themes, the first section, “Reimagining Tradition,” included works that derive visual elements from traditional Chinese books and painting/calligraphy albums. The second section, “Negotiating History and Memory,” was more closely connected to the historical experiences of contemporary Chinese artists and examined the roles that books have played in education, globalization, and politics. The third section, “Displaying Books,” consisted of a few works that reflected the way books are “displayed” in public and private spaces.


Curators:

Wu Hung

Exhibition Traveled To:

• Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, August 9–December 2, 2007
• Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 25–August 31, 2008

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Press 侨报
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Lectures: Willow Weilan Hai, “Da Shanzi: A Contemporary Art Center in Beijing” (November 9, 2002); “Past in Reverse: Contemporary Art of East Asia” (November 13, 2002).
  • Symposium: “Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art” (November 4, 2006). Speakers included: Wu Hung, Philip K. Hu, Betti-Sue Hertz, Robert E. Harrist, Jr., Xu Bing, and Wen C. Fong. The symposium reviewed the way contemporary artists draw inspiration from a traditional theme and create new works that resonate with contemporary audiences, both Chinese and Western.
  • Short Courses: Philip Tinari, “Contemporary Chinese Art: Part 1” (January, 2001); “Contemporary Chinese Art: Part 2” (March, 2008).
  • Short Course and Symposium information gathered from Asian Art Archive.

The Beauty of Chinese Gardens
中国园林之美

June 28–August 12, 2006

The history of Chinese gardens can be traced back to the Zhou dynasty (1100–256 BCE). Qin Shi Huang (r. 221–210 BCE), who ruled China’s first united empire, built his famous hunting park as a symbol of this empire. From the seventh century onward, poetic elements increasingly became integrated into garden design. By the mid-seventeenth century, the art of creating private gardens reached its culmination. Based on a tradition spanning centuries, these gardens embodied a distinctive Chinese philosophy that emphasized harmony between humans and nature. The Institute’s exhibition used photographs to illustrate classical gardens found in the Suzhou and Shanghai regions of China. Taken by David Engel in the 1980s, the thirty-eight black-and-white photographs captured the unique architectural and aesthetic elements of private gardens in the lower Yangzi region. The serene and beautiful images offered visitors a striking glimpse into the way man-made architecture can be ingeniously fused with the natural environment.


Organized by China Institute Gallery

Exhibition Traveled To:

Boise Art Museum, Boise, Idaho, November 14, 2015–February 14, 2016

Trade Taste & Transformation: Jingdezhen Porcelain for Japan, 1620–1645
转换期间的贸易品味:景德镇的日本外销瓷

February 2–June 10, 2006

While the official, court-controlled kilns of Jingdezhen produced imperial products, many civilian kilns produced large quantities of ceramics for the overseas market. In the final decades of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the potters of Jingdezhen, known as China’s Capital of Ceramics, produced blue-and-white porcelain, called kosometsuke in Japanese, and an underglaze- blue and polychrome porcelain ware, known as ko’akae, for the Japanese market. These wares were used in the popular tea ceremony. Chinese decorative themes and manufacturing standards were transformed to accommodate traditional Japanese forms and aesthetics. Drawing from international and domestic collections, the exhibition showcased more than one hundred examples of this exported porcelain and explored the relationship of tea culture and trade between China and Japan.


Curators:

Julia B. Curtis

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Press 侨报
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • The Art Newspaper
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: by Julia B. Curtis, “Trade Taste and Transformation: Jingdezhen Porcelain for Japan, 1620-1645” (February 2, 2006).
  • Symposium: “Jingdezhen Porcelain for Japan” (April 23, 2006).

Masterpieces of Chinese Lacquer from the Mike Healy Collection
中国漆器:黑利藏品选萃

September 16–December 3, 2005

Invented during the Neolithic period (ca. 6500–1700 BCE), lacquer was an important art form in ancient China. The Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) experienced an exciting surge in the production of lacquer objects and vessels for domestic, imperial, and burial purposes and continued to demonstrate the highest quality of production through the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Often made of wood or layered fabrics, the core of lacquerware is built in the desired shape and then coated with layers of lacquer. These thin layers of lacquer could effectively prevent the wood core from rotting in heat and dampness. Lacquer could be decorated with various paint colors, carved, or inlaid with precious stones, shell, gold, or silver. This exhibition presented lacquer, one of the great decorative art traditions of China, in a chronological format and focused on the varied types of lacquer produced from the second to the seventeenth centuries.


Exhibition organized by the Honolulu Academy of Arts; catalogue published by Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii; copyright 2005 by Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Curators:

Julia M. White

Exhibition Traveled To:

• Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, December 19, 2002– April 27, 2003
• Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California, January 14–April 16, 2006

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art
  • Oriental Art
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Julia M. White, “Masterpieces of Chinese Lacquer from the Mike Healy Collection” (September 16, 2005).
  • Lecture: Francois Louis, “The Lustrous History of Chinese Lacquer” (October 18, 2005).

Providing for the Afterlife: “Brilliant Artifacts” from Shandong
为来世:山东省西汉王陵出土明器

February 3–June 4, 2005

“Recarving China’s Past: Art, Archaeology, and Architecture of the Wu Family Shrines,” a companion exhibition of Eastern Han dynasty material, was held at Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey, March 5–June 26, 2005

Shandong has long been recognized as one of the great centers of Han dynasty (206 BCE– 220 CE) art and is the source of some of the most intriguing and important recent archaeological finds. This exhibition provided much-needed insight and exposure to the important role of Shandong Province in the cultural history of China, as well as the fascinating religious and afterlife settings in ancient Chinese tombs. Selected treasures from Western Han (206 BCE–8 CE) imperial tombs, including bronze, ceramic, gold, and jade, were exhibited for the first time in the United States. The exhibition explored the concept of tomb architecture and burial items as an ensemble of “brilliant artifacts” (mingqi 明器) and attempted to place these extraordinary objects in their architectural, ritual, cosmological, religious, and cultural contexts.


Exhibition organized by the China Institute, in collaboration with the Shandong Provincial Museum; catalogue published by China Institute, New York, New York; copyright 2005 by China Institute in America.

Curators:

Susan L. Beningson and Cary Liu

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Press 侨报
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Susan L. Beningson, “Providing for the Afterlife: ‘Brilliant Artifacts’ from Shandong” (February 15, 2005).
  • Symposium: “The Afterlife in Han China: A Closer Look at the Meaning of ‘Brilliant Artifacts’” (April 24, 2005).

The Scholar as Collector: Chinese Art at Yale
过眼云烟:耶鲁大学藏中国艺术珍品

September 23–December 11, 2004

In 1982, the China Institute presented “The Communion of Scholars: Chinese Art at Yale,” a selection of masterworks of Chinese art from the Yale University Art Gallery. Twenty-two years later, a second exhibition, “The Scholar as Collector: Chinese Art at Yale,” reexamined the collection from the perspective of Chinese scholar-collectors and offered an opportunity to present some rarely displayed treasures. Scholars as collectors played a significant role in shaping the past by writing about what they collected. Featuring sixty items, including bronze, ceramics, paintings, and furniture, this exhibition explored the two worlds of Chinese culture: the realm of ritual and the tomb and the precinct of the scholar-connoisseur.


Exhibition organized by the Yale University Art Gallery.

Curators:

David Ake Sensabaugh

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: David Ake Sensabaugh, “The Scholar as Collector” (September 23, 2004).
  • Short Course: Ben Wang, “Scholars, Collectors, and Poets” (October 14, 2004).
  • Handling Session: Rose Kerr, “Scholar’s Art for Connoisseurs: Selections from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing” (October 6, 2004).

Gold & Jade: Imperial Jewelry of the Ming Dynasty from the Nanjing Municipal Museum
金与玉:公元14 — 17世纪中国贵族首饰

February 12–June 5, 2004

Drawn from the prominent collection of the Nanjing Municipal Museum, this exhibition presented over eighty pieces of jewelry from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), including hairpins, earrings, head ornaments, crown ornaments, bracelets, and pendants fashioned from jade, gold, and precious stones. Unearthed from the Ming dynasty tombs of nobles and officials, these objects established a firsthand standard for the dated jewelry of this period. The exhibition explored the complex political, social, and economic context that gave rise to the long-lasting dress code conventions in imperial China. The exhibition marked the first time these precious objects were exhibited outside of China.


Exhibition from the Nanjing Municipal Museum, condensed and reorganized by China Institute Gallery; catalogue published by Wenhui Chubanshe, Shanghai, China; copyright 2004 by Wenhui Chubanshe, Shanghai, China.

Curators:

Willow Weilan Hai, Jerome Silbergeld, and Jian Rong

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Press 侨报
  • World Journal 世界日报

Passion for the Mountains: 17th Century Landscape Paintings from the Nanjing Museum
故山青:南京博物院藏17世纪山水画

September 18–December 20, 2003

In the seventeenth century, the city of Nanjing, known in ancient times as Jinling 金陵, played an important role in what is considered the last great fluorescence of landscape painting in Chinese art. Jinling’s physical environment, as well as its complex social and cultural traditions, attracted and influenced many leading artists who visited or lived in the city. As a cultural center at that time, Jinling nurtured painting masters including the Eight Masters of Nanjing, whose work reflected contemporary customs and literati bearing. This exhibition explored the political context of the day and the artists’ passionate responses to their physical environment and social milieu. Considered the culmination of literati landscape painting, the Jinling style influenced generations of artists.


Curators:

Willow Weilan Hai

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art
  • China Press 侨报
  • Oriental Art

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Willow Weilan Hai, “Passion for the Mountains: Seventeenth Century Nanjing and Landscape Painting” (September 25, 2003).
  • Lecture: “Today’s Artist from Nanjing” (November 18, 2003).
  • Symposium: “From Ming to Qing: A Cultural Landscape in Transition” (December 6, 2003). Speakers included: Lynn Struve, Maxwell K. Hearn, Kim Besio, Sören Edgren, Wai-Yee Li, and Johnna Waley-Cohen. This symposium explored the dynastic transitions and political resistance that led to a flourishing of the arts when the Ming dynasty fell to the Manchus, and Nanjing, the Southern Ming capital, remained a vibrant cultural center.
  • Short Course: James Cahill, “Chinese Painting for Connoisseurs: Painting from the Seventeenth Century” (December 2, 2003).

Weaving China’s Past: The Amy S. Clague Collection of Chinese Textiles
编织中国史:凯莱格藏中国织品

January 29–June 7, 2003

Like painting and calligraphy, textile arts have long been appreciated by collectors and scholars of fine arts. This exhibition, assembled by collector Amy Sanders Clague, was organized around three major types of Chinese silk textiles: brocades, tapestries, and embroideries, ranging in date from the Song (960–1279) through the Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. The exhibition included Buddhist ritual items, decorations, banners, clothing, and throne covers. The items, some made with peacock-feather filaments and gold-embellished threads, depicted dragons in pursuit of flaming jewels, flying bats amid magnolias, Buddha flanked by white elephants, and other auspicious scenes.


Exhibition organized by the Phoenix Art Museum; catalogue published by Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona; copyright 2000 by Phoenix Art Museum.

Curators:

Claudia Brown

Exhibition Traveled To:

Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, February 19–June 10, 2000

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New York Times

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Claudia Brown, “Weaving China’s Past.”
  • Short Course: “A Survey of Chinese Textiles.”
  • Art Travel: “The Royal Ontario Museum’s Collection of Fine Chinese Textiles.”

Blanc de Chine: Divine Images in Porcelain
德化窑:白瓷美影

September 19–December 7, 2002

Known as “Blanc de Chine” in the West, Dehua ware, one of the most famous and important white-glazed porcelains, was produced in Dehua 德化 (meaning “Virtuous Cultivation”) in Fujian Province, as early as in Song dynasty (960–1279). Distinguished by its soft and lustrous appearance, Dehua ware was popular during the Ming (1368–1644) and the early Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. Featuring nearly eighty pieces from the fourteenth century through the early twentieth century, this exhibition presented sculptures of Buddhist and Daoist deities as well as animal sculptures, wine pots, bowls, scholars’ accessories, and unusual European pieces designed for export during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.


Curators:

John Ayers

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • The New York Times

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: John Ayers, “Blanc de Chine: Divine Images in Porcelain” (September 19, 2002).
  • Lecture: William R. Sargent, “The Export Porcelain of Dehua” (October 8, 2002).
  • Lecture: Kenneth Dean, “Local Culture in Fujian” (November 29, 2002).

Circles of Reflection: The Carter Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors
见日之光:卡特藏中国铜镜

February 7–June 2, 2002

Functionally used for more than cosmetic purposes, Chinese bronze mirrors embellished with detailed ornament were connected from early times to the royal courts. Imperial patronage resulted in ever-widening acceptance. Many mirrors were intended as gifts or regarded as tokens of affection. Others served political, religious, or mythical functions. Symbolically, the mirror was held in high esteem: as kin to the sun and the moon, its light penetrated to the depth of the human soul, as the symbol of the historian’s discipline. It was also a source of light and illumination in the netherworld. This exhibition featured more than ninety bronze mirrors, from pocket size to about fifteen inches in diameter, dating from the Warring States period (ca. 475–221 BCE) to the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), a span of roughly 2,500 years.


Exhibition organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art; catalogue published by Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio; copyright 2000 by Cleveland Museum of Art.

Curators:

Ju-hsi Chou

Exhibition Traveled To:

• Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, September 17– November 26, 2000
• China Institute Gallery, New York, New York, February 7–June 2, 2002

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Ju-hsi Chou, “Circles of Reflection: The Carter Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors” (February 7, 2002).
  • Lecture: John S. Major, “Cultural Reflection: Holding the Universe in Your Hand” (March 19, 2002).
  • Lecture: Suzanne Cahill, “The Moon Stopped in the Void: Daoism and the Literati Ideal in Chinese Bronze Mirrors of the Tang Dynasty” (April 2, 2002).
  • Short Course: Robert T. Murowchick, “Ancient Chinese Bronzes from the Xia, Shang and Zhou” (May 7, 2002).

Exquisite Moments: West Lake & Southern Song Art
精致的瞬间:西湖和南宋艺术

September 25–December 9, 2001

This exhibition offered a new approach to Southern Song (1127–1279) art by examining the historical and cultural contexts of Hangzhou as a geographically defined cultural and political entity. Lin’an (today’s Hangzhou), the capital of the Southern Song dynasty located near beautiful West Lake, was the center of a dynasty that largely looked inward. More than sixty works by Southern Song court artists were exhibited, such as paintings on circle fans and album leaves, handscrolls, and ceramics. Many of these works were created in Hangzhou, renowned for the natural beauty of its landscape, from West Lake to the surrounding mountains.


Curators:

Hui-shu Lee

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • The New Yorker
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Hui-shu Lee, “West Lake and Southern Song Art” (September 13, 2001).
  • Lecture Series (September–October, 2001): Robert D. Mowry, “The Falk Collection: A Memorial Lecture;” Bai Qianshen, “The Wan-go H. C. Weng Collection;” Susanne Lucas, “Bamboo: The Quintessential Chinese Plant.”
  • Symposium: “Southern Song Mind and Culture” (November 3, 2001). Speakers included: Wen C. Fong, Hui-shu Lee, Richard Edwards, Richard Barnhart, Maxwell Hearn, James M. Hargett, Eugene Wang, Ankeney Weitz, Mary Ann Rogers, and Robert Harrist. Leading scholars and experts in a variety of fields met to discuss the visual imagery created during the Southern Song dynasty. The creative output of this period was explored in the context of the cultural, religious, political, and geographic characteristics of a sophisticated region—the capital at Hangzhou and the West Lake environs.

Living Heritage: Vernacular Environment in China
古承今袭:中国民间生活方式

January 25–June 10, 2001

This exhibition featured over seventy photographs exploring the role of the traditional Chinese home, focusing on utilitarian and spiritual meanings, as well as social and economic organization. Using traditional principles of feng shui 风 水, in which locations of special floral and geometric wall patterns are believed to bring longevity and wealth, Chinese people arrange their homes and interiors to incorporate this living cultural heritage. The photographs, many of which were taken by Li Yuxiang between 1993 and 1999, focused on interiors and exteriors of domestic dwellings, some dating back to the fifteenth century. The photographs primarily were taken in five urban and rural regions in China: Shanxi, Wannan (south Anhui), Jiangnan (Jiangsu and Zhejiang), Minxi (west Fujian), and Hong Kong. In addition to the photography, a reconstructed traditional Chinese living room allowed visitors to see and experience traditional interior space.


Catalogue published by Nobel World Printing Co Ltd., Hong Kong; copyright 1999 by Yungmingtang, Hong Kong.

Curators:

Kai-yin Lo

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Kai-yin Lo, “Vernacular Environment in China” (January 25, 2001).
  • Lecture: Jacques Gies, “Le Musée Guimet: The Chinese Art Collection” (May 15, 2001).
  • Short Courses: “China Survey Series” (May, 2001). Speakers included: Myron L. Cohen, Maxwell K. Hearn, Madeleine Zelin, and Renqiu Yu. These sessions were designed for beginners and taught by authorities in the field.
  • Symposium: Ronald Knapp and Kai-Yin Lo, “House, Home, Family: Living and Being Chinese” (April 28, 2001).
  • Panel Discussion: “China’s Nationalities: Peoples within a People?” (February 1, 2001).

The Resonance of the Qin in East Asian Art
东亚艺术中的琴声

September 16–December 12, 1999

A shallow oblong box, typically with seven silk strings, the qin 琴 (zither) is thought to have been invented by legendary ruler Fu Xi 伏羲 and is still being played in China today after almost five thousand years. Initially an instrument played for entertainment, the qin evolved into a solo instrument played by scholar-poets to harmonize their souls and purify their minds. Along with painting, calligraphy, and Chinese chess (go), playing the qin was among the “four accomplishments” of scholar-gentlemen during the Song dynasty (960–1279). According to the literati, it took a special listener to fully appreciate and understand the musical and philosophical resonance of the qin. After being introduced into other East Asian countries, Japan and Korea, for example, the qin also became popular in those regions. This exhibition showed forty works from China and Japan, including paintings, calligraphy, woodblock prints, and sculptures, spanning two thousand years from the first to the nineteenth centuries.


Curators:

Stephen Addiss

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Oriental Art
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Stephen Addiss, “Arts of the Qin” (September 17, 2002).
  • Symposium: “The Resonance of the Qin” (November 12, 1999). Leading scholars of the qin discussed the role this instrument played in East Asian literature and performing arts.
  • Concert: “Silk Strings and Paulownia Wood-Music of the Qin, Komungo, and Koto” (November 12, 2002). Introduced by Kenneth Moore and Fredrick P. Rose.
  • Opera: Ben Wang and the Kunqu Society, “Seduction of the Qin” (December 2, 2002).

A Literati Life in the Twentieth Century: Wang Fangyu—Artist, Scholar, Connoisseur
二十世纪的文人:王方宇—艺术家 学者 鉴藏家

February 11–June 20, 1999

Within China, the literati were a select group of people who had the necessary intelligence and education to understand, interpret, and propagate the essential elements of the Chinese cultural legacy. Few people in the twentieth century represented the Chinese concept of the cultured elite as well as Wang Fangyu (1913–1997), who was an exemplary artist, scholar, teacher, collector, and connoisseur of Chinese art. Praised as a contemporary “eccentric,” Wang formed his own style of calligraphy as a modern vehicle of self-expression by blending the traditional legacy of Chinese art with the essence of contemporary movements. This exhibition contained over sixty items from the collection of Wang Fangyu, including paintings and calligraphy by Wang Fangyu, Bada Shanren, Qi Baishi, and Zhang Daqian, as well as rare books, seals, and other scholarly objects.


Curators:

H. Christopher Luce

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Press 侨报
  • The New Yorker
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Short Course: (April–June, 1999). Speakers included: J. Sören Edgren, Jason Kuo, Richard Barnhardt, Laura Einstein, Bai Qianshen, and Charles Chu. This course explored the different roles played by China’s educated elite and examined the literati-fostered aesthetic traditions that lasted well into the twentieth century.

Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Pamela R. Lessing Friedman Collection
鼻烟壶:佛瑞德曼藏品

September 16–December 13, 1998

During the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), the snuff bottle first appeared in China after Portuguese traders and missionaries introduced medicinal tobacco. Made to fit hands, the crafting of the snuff bottle required meticulous attention to function and miniaturized decoration to reflect the owner’s taste and status. Over the past three centuries, the Chinese snuff bottle has endured an evolution from personal object to art collector treasure, and is now often regarded as a unique objet d’art. This exhibition presented over 130 snuff bottles from the Pamela R. Lessing Friedman Collection, featuring bottles in a wide range of materials, including glass, porcelain, inkstone, jadeite, ivory, amber, gourd, coral, lacquer, copper, silver, and bronze, as well as excellent examples of inside-painting, carving, and glass overlay. The exhibition also explored the history of using snuff and snuff bottle production in China.


Organized by the Asian Art Coordinating Council, catalogue published by Pamela R. Lessing Friedman, Denver, Colorado; copyright 1990 by P. R. Lessing Friedman, Colorado.

Exhibition Traveled To:

Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, October 6–December 2, 1990

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Asian Art: The newspaper for collectors, dealers, galleries and museums
  • Oriental Art

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Pamela R. Lessing Friedman, “Formation of the Collection, and Meaning of Imagery on the Snuff Bottles” (October 9, 1998).
  • Lecture: John Ford, “The Aesthetic and Materials of Snuff Bottles through Connoisseur’s Eyes” (October 20, 1998).
  • Lecture: Lark E. Mason, Jr., “The Acquisition of and Market for Snuff Bottles” (October 23, 1998).

Scent of Ink: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Art
墨香:派帕中国书画藏品

February 5–June 20, 1998

This exhibition, organized by the Phoenix Art Museum and drawn from the Papp Collection, featured fifty masterworks of the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. These works explored the transmission of the canonical styles and ideals of Chinese paintings from masters to their students and followers. In addition, the exhibition provided an opportunity for newcomers and experts to understand the central aesthetic ideas, artistic formats, and brush techniques of this traditional Chinese art form. Throughout the exhibit, masterworks were singled out as perfect models to answer questions about the craftsmen, methods, and subjects unique to Chinese paintings. The paintings offered a compelling picture of the ways in which the central tenets and tendencies of Chinese painting were preserved through generations of artists.


Organized by the Phoenix Art Museum; catalogue published by Phoenix Art Museum; copyright 1994 by Phoenix Art Museum

Curators:

Claudia Brown, catalogue by Ju-hsi Chou

Exhibition Traveled To:

Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, September 3–October 10, 1994 Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, November 13, 1994–January 8, 1995

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker

Related Programs:

  • Short Course: Ben Wang, “Chinese Literati Painting” (April, 1998).
  • Movie: Wango [Wan-go] H. C. Weng, China: The Enduring Heritage, thirteen-part series (beginning April 1, 1998).

Power and Virtue: The Horse in Chinese Art
力量与美德:中国艺术中的马

September 11–December 13, 1997

The horse has occupied a unique place in the human imagination and in history for millennia as a symbol of power and progress in cultures throughout the world. In China, the horse played a determining role in the political and military arena since at least the sixteenth century BCE, when horses were first attached to chariots during warfare. Horses are known for their strength, beauty, and intelligence, and are endowed with an almost mythical potency in Chinese art and literature. Assumed to be a close relative of dragons in early Chinese thinking, horses were believed to consort with supernatural beings as they carried chariot drivers on fabulous journeys between heaven and earth. This exhibition included thirteen sculptures from the Han (206 BCE–220 CE) to Tang (618–907) dynasties, and sixteen handscrolls, hanging scrolls, and album leaves from the Tang to Qing dynasties, providing a look at the horse in its many guises and diverse symbolic functions.


Curators:

Robert E. Harrist, Jr.

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Robert E. Harrist, Jr., “Power and Virtue: The Horse in Chinese Art” (September 12, 1997)
  • Lecture: Morris Rossabi, “Han Horses, Mongol Mares and Ferghana Foals: The Horse in Chinese History” (October 28, 1997).
  • Symposium: “Examining Chinese Concepts and Depictions of the Foreign World” (December 6, 1997).

Adornment for Eternity: Status and Rank in Chinese Ornament
万世风华:中国古代饰物展

February 6–July 28, 1997

Throughout history, people in every society have had the desire to adorn themselves with jewelry and other objects made of gold, silver, jade, and other precious materials as statements of status, rank, power, and wealth. In China, personal adornments were first utilized to indicate status and rank, and evolved over the centuries to show beauty and wealth in both life and death. Drawn from the Mengdiexuan Collection, a private collection in Hong Kong, this exhibition presented 113 treasures, spanning 2,600 years, from the Shang (ca. 1600– 1100 BCE) to the Ming (1368–1644) dynasties. The belts, garment hooks, ornaments, and earrings provided a dazzling timeline of the evolution of social meaning and artistic appreciation of Chinese ornamentation.


Exhibition organized by the Denver Art Museum; catalogue co-published by the Denver Art Museum in association with the Woods Publishing Company; copyright 1994 by the Denver Art Museum

Curators:

Julia White and Emma Bunker

Exhibition Traveled To:

• The Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, October 15, 1994– September 3, 1995
• Eskenazi Limited (Oriental Art Gallery), London, England, October 10–December 16, 1995
• The Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, January 13–July 14, 1996

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Emma C. Bunker, “Marvelous Metals: Personal Adornment in Early China” (February 6, 1997).
  • Lecture: Julia M. White, “Dressing for Success: Personal Adornment in China” (April 18, 1997).
  • Lecture: Jenny F. So, “Buckling Up in Ancient China” (April 29, 1997).

The Life of a Patron: Zhou Lianggong (1612-1672) and the Painters of Seventeenth-Century China
鉴藏家的一生:周亮工与17世纪的中国画家

October 23–December 21, 1996

Zhou Lianggong (1612–1672) was an art collector and patron of singular energy and passion. He amassed an immense “private museum” comprised of hundreds of works by some of the most famous painters of his day, including works by unsung masters and minor artists whose careers Zhou almost single-handedly supported. His close friendship with leading artists of the era, and considerable efforts as a biographer and connoisseur of contemporary art, provided a rich view of the milieu in which seventeenth-century Chinese artists lived and worked. During this period, the native Ming dynasty (1368–1644) was defeated by the Manchu invasion, which threatened to disrupt existing Chinese culture and its foundations. This exhibition examined the role of patronage as an essential catalyst in the creation of Chinese art, particularly during times of instability. Moreover, the exhibition looked at the life, collection, and writings of Zhou Lianggong during this transformative era. Nearly eighty works were featured, including paintings, calligraphies, handscrolls, hanging scrolls, and album leaves, as well as text drawn from Zhou’s magnum opus.


Curators:

Hongnam Kim

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Hongnam Kim, “The Life of Zhou Lianggong” (October 25, 1996).
  • Lecture: Bai Qianshen, “Zhou Lianggong and His Circle of Seal Carvers” (October 29, 1996).
  • Lecture: Kathlyn M. Liscomb. “Support of Contemporary Painting in the Fifteenth Century” (November 12, 1996).

Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell and Partridge Feathers: Chinese Brown- and Black-Glazed Ceramics, 400-1400
兔毫龟背鸟羽:中国黑釉陶瓷

April 20–July 6, 1996

Chinese brown- and black-glazed ceramics were first made during the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE); dark- glazed wares evolved and developed during the succeeding centuries. They rank among the most impressive accomplishments of the potter’s art form. Associated with the increasingly popular practice of tea drinking, brown- and black-glazed wares reached their “Golden Age” in the Song (960–1279), Jin (1115–1234), and Yuan (1279–1368) dynasties. The influence of these wares extended to Japan, where they are still treasured and used frequently in the tea ceremony. The unusual title of this exhibition referred to the playful Chinese terminology for glazes on these wares. By showcasing nearly eighty rarely viewed objects, this exhibition examined China’s magnificent dark-glazed ceramics and traced their evolution from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, focusing on wares from its Golden Age.


Exhibition organized by the Harvard University Art Museums; catalogue published by Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts; copyright 1996 by Harvard University Art Museums.

Curators:

Robert Mowry

Exhibition Traveled To:

• Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, December 23, 1996–March 10, 1996
• Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, November 9, 1996–January 19, 1997

Media Coverage:

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Robert D. Mowry, “Chinese Brown- and Black- Glazed Ceramics” (April 30, 1996).
  • Lecture: John Ayers, “Patrons and Clients for Song Dynasty Ceramics” (May 17, 1996).

Calligraphy as Living Art: Selections from the Jill Sackler Chinese Calligraphy Competition
活着的书法:吉尔•赛克勒中国书法竞赛选萃

February 3–March 9, 1996

Calligraphy remains a vital art form in an increasingly modernized China. For instance, duilian 对联 (calligraphic New Year’s couplets) are considered an important part of the traditional decoration of the Chinese New Year. This exhibition consisted of works by winners of the Jill Sackler Chinese Calligraphy Competition, a biannual national competition held in China to promote the preservation of calligraphy. The works were created by people of all ages, occupations, and ethnicities within China, and were exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in 1994.


Curators:

Willow Weilan Hai, in conjunction with the A. M. Sackler Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker
  • The New York Times

Abstraction and Expression in Chinese Calligraphy
中国书法的抽象与抒情

October 14–December 21, 1995

Calligraphy is a revered art form, uniting language and aesthetics. It repeats and endorses traditional forms while fostering individual creativity. In the West, however, calligraphy is harder to comprehend. In this exhibition, the art of calligraphy was made accessible through an exploration of its expressive graphic beauty, an aesthetic that links contemporary Western art and traditional Chinese calligraphy. Drawn from the collection of H. Christopher Luce, this exhibition presented seventeen calligraphy works dating from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) to the twentieth century. By demonstrating how the expressionistic quality of Chinese brushstrokes has resonances with modern art, including imagery associated with artists such as Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline, this exhibition suggested that a similar aesthetic impulse may be shared by artists of different times and different cultures.


Curators:

H. Christopher Luce

Exhibition Traveled To:

• Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, November 21, 1996– March 23, 1997
• Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California, September 18– November 21, 1999

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: H. Christopher Luce, “Chinese Calligraphy Viewed as Modern Art” (November 21, 1995).
  • Lecture Series (November–December, 1995): Brice Marden, “Chinese Calligraphy: A Contemporary View;” Robert Harrist, “Beyond Abstraction: Ways of Looking at Chinese Calligraphy;” Marilyn Wong-Gleysteen, “The Calligrapher as Artist: Personal Expression in Chinese Writing.”
  • Short Course: Philip Gould, “Aesthetics East and West” (October 28, 1995).

Chinese Porcelains of the Seventeenth Century: Landscapes, Scholars’ Motifs and Narratives
17世纪的中国瓷:山水,文玩和故事

April 22–August 5, 1995

During the turbulent, war-torn years in the twilight of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), China’s scholar-gentry and merchant classes constituted a new market for porcelain that offered an aesthetic escape through serene landscape and scholarly-themed decoration. The interests and tastes of this scholar class, however, were very different from late Ming imperial style. The new patrons preferred elegant paintings of landscapes, images that represented official advancement and bureaucratic success, and narratives from ancient histories and novels. These subjects reflected the ethical and political concerns of highly educated groups. Showcasing more than sixty pieces of blue-and-white and polychrome porcelains, paintings, calligraphy, books, and seals, the exhibition illustrated how changing patronage dramatically affected decoration on porcelains in China during the middle decades of the seventeenth century.


Curators:

Julia B. Curtis

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The Art Newspaper
  • The New Yorker
  • The New York Times
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Short Course: “Linking 17th Century Ceramic Decoration with the Sources of the Chinese Literati Aesthetic” (April–May 1995). Speakers included: Julia B. Curtis, Bai Qianshen, Stephen Little, and Nancy Z. Berliner.
  • Lecture: Sir Michael Butler, “Collecting in Uncharted Waters” (April 21, 1995).
  • Short Course: Ben Wang, “Chinese Literati Painting” (April 8, 1995). 158

Animals of the Chinese Zodiac
十二生肖:庆中国新年

January 20–March 4, 1995

In the magic and mystery of the Chinese zodiac, each animal represents one year in a twelve-year cycle; the twelve animals — Mouse, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig — have served as inspiration for fine artists and folk artists throughout the centuries. Used to embellish everyday objects in the home or as decorations to celebrate special occasions, Chinese zodiac animal motifs represent hopes, dreams, and wishes for health, luck, and wealth. They also demonstrated the human desire to explore a relationship with the natural world and the universe. This exhibition welcomed the Year of the Pig, the last of the twelve-year cycle, displaying over fifty art objects that illustrated how folk beliefs and legends of the twelve zodiac animals permeate all aspects of Chinese life, including paintings, prints, paper cuts, jewelry, pottery, sculptures, papier-mâché, and textiles.


Curators:

Willow Weilan Hai

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Lecture: Kwan Lau, “Origins of the Chinese Zodiac” (January 24, 1995).
  • Lecture: Pun Yi with Master Tin Sun of Tin Sun Metaphysics Corporation, “Traditional Feng Shui: Chinese Geomancy and its Contemporary Popularity” (January 28, 1995).

As You Wish: Symbol and Meaning on Chinese Porcelains from the Taft Museum
如意:中国瓷器上的吉祥图案

October 23–January 15, 1994

Ritual objects, tableware, and household goods produced during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) were admired for their aesthetic and technical refinements. This exhibition presented sixty-four stunning examples of eighteenth-century monochrome, blue-and-white, and polychrome porcelains from the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, Ohio. Selected ceramics were chosen for the decorative motifs that conveyed the social, political, and cultural messages of the ruling class. At center stage were the symbolic meanings of colors, forms, narrative scenes, linguistic and visual puzzles, as well as puns embedded within the decoration of the objects. By reading and interpreting the variety of decorative elements, the exhibition explored the literary and artistic sources of images and symbols.


Curators:

David T. Johnson

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: David T. Johnson, “The Tafts of Pike Street: Observations on the Formulation of the Taft Museum” (October 21, 1994).
  • Lecture Series (October–December, 1994): Jan Stuart, “Adorning the Palace: Meaning in Chinese Imperial Porcelains;” Julia Curtis, “Politics and Decorative Schemes on Kangxi Porcelains;” Maxwell K. Hearn, “Painting and the Art of Ceramic Decoration;” Terese Tse Bartholomew, “Gods, Immortals and Generals: Auspicious Motifs on Porcelains.”
  • Special Collector’s Event: Anthony du Boulay, “The Taft Collection: Problems in Authenticating Kangxi Porcelains” (November 9, 1994).

At the Dragon Court: Chinese Embroidered Mandarin Squares from the Schuyler V.R. Cammann Collection
龙庭:中国的补子

October 20–December 22, 1994

In the early Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), an imperial edict ordered all officials of the Chinese court to display their military or civil rank via badges, known as Mandarin squares (buzi, 补子), on their official robes. To enhance these material symbols of power, graceful cranes, ferocious felines, mythical unicorns, and golden imperial dragons were intricately embroidered into silk squares or roundels. Each rank level had a particular symbol, the use of which was strictly regulated. Displaying over fifty Mandarin squares, officials’ robes, scrolls, and some paintings, this exhibition represented the finest craftsmanship in Chinese textile art and the culture of buzi in imperial courts.


This exhibition is jointly organized by Yale University Art Gallery and China Institute Gallery; catalogue published by Yale University Art Gallery; copyright 1994 by Yale University Art Gallery

Curators:

John Finlay

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Orientations
  • The New Yorker

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: John Finlay, “Rank, Status, and Mandarin Squares” (October 25, 1994).
  • Lecture: Theresa Reilly, “Mandarin Squares in Korea—Origins and Contemporary Uses” (November 3, 1994).
  • Lecture: Diane Mott, “Silks for Sultans—Rank and Status in the Ottoman Court,” (November 15, 1994).

Capturing a World: China and Its People—Photography by John Thomson
捕捉世界:约翰•汤姆森所摄的中国和中国人

March 26–June 11, 1994

Today, using a camera to record people’s lives is commonplace; but in the nineteenth century, the idea was revolutionary. John Thomson, a groundbreaking Scottish photographer, traveled to the Far East at the beginning of 1868, and used his camera to document the diverse people and places he encountered throughout China. Thomson traveled over four thousand miles burdened with glass plates, several large wooden box-type cameras, lenses, tripods, a complete chest of chemicals, and a portable light-proof tent that was big enough to house his entire darkroom paraphernalia. The Chinese he encountered in his travels often called Thomson a foreign devil. Nevertheless, he left China with over 1,200 glass negatives and went on to publish five related books of photography. This exhibition presented over seventy rarely-seen large-format, sepia-toned prints of Thomson’s works. The works were published with narrative text based on his writings, which recorded the customs, monuments, occupations, and appearances of ordinary Chinese people.


Organized by the British Council; catalogue published by the British Council in association with the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine; copyright 1991; text by The British Council; photographs by Wellcome Institute Library, London

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Short Courses: “Eastern Exposures, Western Impressions” (March– May, 1994). Speakers included: Will Stapp, Richard Whelan, and Lois Conner. This series explored the relationship between the history of photography and Western photographic documentation of China that has existed for more than a century.

Sending Away the Old, Welcoming the New
除旧迎新:中国新年展

February 5–March 5, 1994

In Chinese communities around the world, the Lunar New Year is considered the most joyful of all traditional festivals. Rooted in China’s agrarian past, the festival is celebrated throughout China and abroad, stressing renewal, hope, and good fortune for all. The celebrations bring the Chinese people together in the belief that the festival is a way of banishing misfortunes accumulated in the past. This exhibition introduced the richness, variety, and continuity of New Year traditions, showing an array of artifacts used during this auspicious time of year. By presenting the archival and the modern, including photography, traditional costumes, toys, clothes, and ritual and household objects used in China from the Han dynasty (206 BCE– 220 CE) to the present, the holiday was brought vividly to life.


Curators:

Karen Kane

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New York Times

Discarding the Brush: Gao Qipei, 1660-1734
弃笔:高其佩与18世纪的中国指画

April 17–June 12, 1993

Gao Qipei (1660–1734) was a groundbreaking artist in eighteenth-century China. Gao advocated the abandonment of traditional painting rules and conventions, such as using paint brushes, and he embraced the use of his hands. Gao used his fingers, nails, palms, and the backs of his hands to paint. Thus Gao created a range of sharp or rugged, sometimes crumbling, irregular, and unpredictable lines—initiating a virtual revolution in Chinese painting style. His method of painting strongly influenced later painters, including the minimalism of the Qing Individualists and the bird and animal paintings of the well-known Eccentrics of Yangzhou. This exhibition showed forty-one Gao Qipei paintings from museums in Liaoning Province, consisting of both hanging scrolls and album leaves.


Selections from the exhibition organized by the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; paintings on loan from the Liaoning Provincial Museum and the Shenyang Palace Museum in Shenyang, China; catalogue published by Snoeck-Ducaju & Zoon, Gent; copyright 1992 by Rijksmuseum Amsterdam / Snoeck-Ducaju & Zoon, Gent

Curators:

Klaas Ruitenbeek

Exhibition Traveled To:

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands, December 12, 1992– February 28, 1993

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Times Weekly News
  • The New Yorker
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Klaas Ruitenbeek, “Alternative Methods in Chinese Painting” (April 20, 1993).
  • Lecture: Joan Lebold Cohen, “Traditional and non-Traditional: Defining Chinese Art” (March 30, 1993).
  • Lecture: Gu Wenda and Zhang Hongtu, moderated by John Lebold Cohen, “Artistic Roots in Contemporary Chinese Brushwork” (April 27, 1993).

A Year of Good Fortune: Legends of the Rooster and Traditions of the Chinese New Year
鸡年吉祥:中国新年的传统

January 19–March 6, 1993

Yang 阳 (bright) is the universal force characterized by the sun, daylight, and males. The Chinese people believe that the rooster is an incarnation of yang because it crows at dawn. To celebrate the Year of the Rooster, this art exhibition, which focused on the rooster/chicken as an auspicious symbol, was assembled from works in both private and museum collections. The rooster/chicken motif can be seen from the sixth century BCE to modern times. Fifty-five objects were exhibited in various media, including ceramics, bronzes, textiles, embroidery, paper cuts, paintings, and wooden sculptures. Other objects shown were used to determine and ensure good fortune, such as jade ruyi 如意 and oracle bones.


Curators:

Willow Weilan Hai

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • World Journal 世界日报

Word as Image: The Art of Chinese Seal Engraving
字如画:中国篆刻艺术

October 21–December 12, 1992

Seal engraving, a special subcategory of Chinese calligraphy, is a highly regarded art form that dates back to the Bronze Age in China. Seals represent the signatures or a commendatory phrase of either the artist or collector. The seal is engraved in reverse on stone, jade, metal, or any other hard material and seal ink is used to impress a correct image on paper or silk. Most seals are engraved with a type of script, known as seal script or zhuanshu 篆书, that is widely used on ancient monuments. This exhibition explored the development and cultural significance of seal engraving by examining over seventy seals, impressions, calligraphies, ancient objects, and woodblock-printed books.


Curators:

Jason C. Kuo

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • World Journal 世界日报
  • 中国文物世界 Art of China (Some previous exhibitions were also published in this magazine.)

Related Programs:

  • Symposium: “Romance of the Stone: Chinese Seal Engraving” (December 5, 1992). Speakers included: Shen Fu, James C.Y. Watt, Jason Kuo, Wang Fangyu, and Qianshen Bai. Topics covered included the relationship between seals and paintings, seal forgeries in Chinese art, and modern pictorial seals.

Lamas, Princes and Brigands: Photographs by Joseph Rock of the Tibetan Borderlands of China
喇嘛、王子与强盗:约瑟夫•罗克的摄影

April 15–July 31, 1992

The thousands of photographs taken by the self-trained botanist Joseph Rock during his adventurous travels through the Chinese-Tibetan borderlands from 1922 to 1949 provide important historical, social, political, and religious records. In addition to their documentation of many lost traditions and their undoubtedly aesthetic and human appeal, these pictures also serve to immediately remind us of the long historical relationship between China and Tibet, a relationship that evolved on the frontiers where people met in war, trade, and pilgrimage and in the fields where the writ of their governments barely existed at all. This exhibition contained 125 photographs from Rock, presenting the people, cultures, and geography of these important borderlands.


Curators:

Michael Aris

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • China Press 侨报

Related Programs:

  • Lecture: S.B. Sutton, “Joseph Rock: In Praise of an ‘Amateur’” (April 15, 1992).
  • Symposium: “Frontier Tibetans: People of the Tibetan Borderland” (April 15, 1992). Speakers included: Matthew Kapstein, Samten Karmay, and Michael Aris.

Treasures of the Last Emperor: Selections from the Palace Museum, Beijing
末帝珍宝:北京故宫博物院藏品选萃

February 1–March 7, 1992

The popularity of The Last Emperor, an Academy Award-winning movie made in 1987, generated interest in the life of Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), and in the imperial era of China, when Puyi became the ruler in 1908 at the age of three. His Xuantong 宣 统 reign lasted for only three years before he was forced to abdicate due to political upheaval. Puyi was, however, permitted to live in the Forbidden City until 1924. Presenting approximately sixty objects, this exhibition revealed many facets of the imperial life of Puyi and offered a glimpse into the Qing imperial court, which represented the culmination of four thousand years of China’s royal dynasties. The items selected for this exhibition were used by Puyi during his tenure in the Forbidden City, including toys, court robes, jade seals, scholarly objects, eyeglasses, and a set of cocktail cups.


Curators:

Lawrence Wu

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • World Journal 世界日报 • 明报周刊

Related Programs:

  • Lecture: Pamela Crossley, “The Dragon Walks Home: The Relations Between Puyi and his British and Manchu Tutors” (March 4, 1992).
  • Movie: Bernardo Bertolucci, director, The Last Emperor (1987), (February 25, 1992).

Early Chinese Ceramics from New York State Museums
纽约州立博物馆藏早期中国陶瓷器

October 19–December 14, 1991

This exhibition, consisting of forty-eight earthenware and stoneware objects spanning six thousand years, traced the development of Chinese ceramics from the Neolithic period (ca. 6500–1700 BCE) through the end of the Song dynasty (960– 1279). Simple, yet striking, in form and decoration, these pieces were created to meet everyday demands for storage, pouring, holding, and transferring, from the very dawn of Chinese pottery-making to just before the major breakthroughs of mass production and underglaze decoration. Each bowl, urn, incense burner, and dish represented a slice of ordinary life in early China. All pieces were borrowed from the permanent collections of five upstate New York museums — Buffalo Museum of Science, Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University in Ithaca, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center in Poughkeepsie, and Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester — where high-quality examples of Chinese ceramics have been quietly assembled over the past one hundred years.


Curators:

Martie W. Young

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Dr. Martie Y. Young, “Chinese Imperial Wares of the Empire State” (October 17, 1991).
  • Short Courses: “Chinese Ceramics in an International Context” (October–December, 1992). Speakers included: Rosemary Scott, John Ayers, Julia Curtis, Robert Mowry, Anthony du Boulay, and Virginia Bower. The series, co-sponsored by the Oriental Ceramic Society with additional support from Christie’s New York, examined cultural exchange in international trade.

Ancient Chinese Bronze Art: Casting the Precious Sacral Vessel
中国古代的青铜艺术:礼器铸造

April 20–June 15, 1991

Ancient Chinese metalwork is unique. Unlike most other cultures, the Chinese did not hammer, forge, or rivet metals. They treated metals as liquids and cast objects using ceramic piece-molds. With forty-one outstanding examples of Chinese bronze art, this exhibition presented 1,500 years of casting technology from the Xia (ca. 2100– 1600 BCE), Shang (ca. 1600–1100 BCE), and Zhou (ca. 1100–256 BCE) dynasties, and explained the casting process, step by step, from making models with particular decorative patterns to constructing ceramic molds. Informative exhibition panels documented the results of recent discoveries in China. The panels guided the viewer to an appreciation of Chinese ritual bronzes as powerful aesthetic objects, products of a unique and evolving technology, and meaningful symbols of military power, political legitimacy, and access to heaven.


Curators:

W. Thomas Chase

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: W. Thomas Chase, “Materials Actual and Fake: The Bronze in Chinese Bronzes” (April 18, 1991).
  • Symposium: “Ancient Chinese Bronze: Art and Technology” (May 11, 1991). Speakers included: Robert Maddin, Chen Peifen, Chan Fang- mei, Robert Murowchick, and W. Thomas Chase.

1991 New Year Exhibition: Children in Chinese Art
1991中国新年展:中国艺术中的儿童

January 26–March 2, 1991

How have Chinese artists represented children, and how do children represent the world in their paintings? These were just two of the many interesting questions raised by looking at children as the subject of art and as creators of their own art in this special Lunar New Year exhibition. Part of the exhibition surveyed the depiction of children in Chinese art, with over thirty objects, including paintings, ceramics, jade, glass, and cloisonné dating from the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) through the twentieth century. The rest of the exhibition showed over one hundred recent works on paper by Chinese children, ages four to fifteen, who had won awards in China and exhibited their work internationally.


Organized under the auspices of the China Institute Women’s Association

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报

Related Programs:

  • Auction: China Institute Women’s Association, “Auction of Art Works by Chinese Children for the Benefit of the Soong Ching Ling Foundation” (January 30, 1991).

The Eccentric Painters of Yangzhou
“扬州八怪”画家

October 20–December 15, 1990

Filled with wondrous gardens, canals, and pleasure boats, southern China’s Yangzhou in the eighteenth century was a city of culture and commerce where rich salt merchants imitated the scholarly gentry by becoming patrons of the arts. Conscious of their low standing according to Confucian teachings, wherein merchants ranked below farmers and laborers, the wealthy salt merchants applied their fortunes to attract the talent of artists without imperial patronage, offering the artists an alternative route to financial stability. The prosperity of this region nurtured many innovative artists, who were later known as the Eccentric Painters of Yangzhou. Financial backing by wealthy patrons gave artists the freedom to break rules. This exhibition presented thirty-two artworks by thirteen artists who came to Yangzhou from other regions of China after having failed the imperial examination.


Curators:

Vito Giacalone

Media Coverage:

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Vito Giacalone, “The Eccentrics of Yangzhou” (October 30, 1990).
  • Lecture Series (November–December, 1990): Jonathan Hay, “Princes and the People;” Lawrence Wu, “Shi Lu: The Chinese Van Gogh;” Klaas Ruitenbeek, “Discarding the Brush;” Moss Roberts, “The Daoist Critique of Norm and Form.”

Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame: Later Chinese Glass
澄如水晶红如火:中国晚期玻璃器

April 21–June 16, 1990

This comprehensive exhibition brought together sixty-nine Chinese glass objects produced from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries during the Yuan (1279–1368) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. Although Chinese people have used glass since ancient times, glass flourished under the influence of imperial patronage and technology introduced by European glassmakers during the Qing dynasty. The Chinese combined Western technology and native Chinese art forms in the production of glassware; they explored a variety of decorative techniques, including the improvement of clarity and the creation of vivid imitations of jade, turquoise, porcelain, and other precious materials.


Curators:

Claudia Brown and Donald Rabiner

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Orientations
  • The New Yorker
  • 亚美时报

1990 New Year Exhibition: The Chinese Earth–Views of Nature
1990中国新年展:中国土地—自然观

January 23–March 3, 1990

In observance of the Chinese Lunar New Year — the beginning of a new agricultural cycle — this exhibition depicted the relationship between the natural environment and China’s traditional culture through the centuries. In order to achieve a harmonious relationship between heaven, earth, and man, Chinese people developed a variety of technologies and rituals to manage and communicate with the environment. Using artifacts from public and private collections from the Neolithic era (ca. 6500–1700 BCE) through the present, as well as illustrations from Chinese texts, the exhibition underscored how dependence on agriculture left its mark on Chinese culture and philosophy and how culture, in turn, influenced Chinese approaches to nature.


Curators:

Anita Christy

Related Programs:

  • Symposium: “The Chinese Earth.” Speakers included: Thomas Berry, Perter Perdur, Ronald G. Knapp, Baruch Boxer, James Reardon- Anderson, and Lester Ross. The symposium explored the history of the Chinese people’s relationship to their environment and examined the challenges China now faces, both from the ecological effects of millennia of cultivation and the exploitation of land.
  • Performance: The Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, directed by Tsuan-nien Chang, “Auspicious Springtime: A Concert of Chinese Folk Music” (March 3, 1990).
  • Performance: Muna Tseng, “Ways, Shrines and Mysteries” (March 3, 1990).
  • Movie: Chen Kaige, Director, “Yellow Earth (1984)” (March 3, 1990).

Views from Jade Terrace: Chinese Women Artists, 1300-1912
玉台纵览:中国女画家作品展 (China House Gallery Title: 玉庭院所观)

October 7–December 2, 1989

Chinese women artists were commonly seen in the upper-class households and entertainment districts of imperial China. From the Yuan (1279–1368) to the Qing (1644– 1911) dynasties, many Chinese women created works of art and received recognition for their achievements by their contemporaries. They were often the female counterparts of the professionals and scholar painters whose theories and practices dominated later Chinese painting. Most of these women belonged to the gentry, some even to royal families, or were courtesans who served gentlemen of the elite class. Some were wives or daughters of professional painters, and others were concubines, nuns, courtiers, or women with unknown biographies. Forty-five paintings were selected and presented at the China Institute, with works from Guan Daosheng, Ma Shouzhen, Xue Susu, Empress Dowager Cixi, and Miao Jiahui.


Exhibition organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art; catalogue published by Indiana University Press, Bloomington; copyright 1988 by Indianapolis Museum of Art

Exhibition Traveled To:

• Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, September 3– November 6, 1988
• Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, December 6, 1988– January 15, 1989
• Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, February 15, 1989–April 2, 1989
• National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, April 24, 1989–June 4, 1989
• Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, June 30, 1989–August 27, 1989

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Daily News
  • Sing Tao Daily 星岛日报
  • World Journal 世界日报

Related Programs:

  • Symposium: “Chinese Woman Artists” (October 21, 1989). Speakers included: Paul Ropp, Maggie Bickford, Marsha Weidner, Jin Gao, Vivian Tsao, and Huang Sunning.

China between Revolutions: Photography by Sidney D. Gamble, 1917-1927
革命之间:甘博摄影

June 29–September 9, 1989

Inspired by Christian values, intellectual curiosity, and a desire to help in the process of modernization, Sidney D. Gamble went to China in 1917 to work on the staff of the Peking YMCA. He spent a total of nine years in China between 1917 and 1932. During that time, he traveled extensively and recorded daily life with his typewriter and Graflex movie camera. Gamble’s photographic archive, containing over four thousand negatives, six hundred hand-colored slides, and thirty reels of 16-mm film, may be the most important visual documentation of China’s social life for these turbulent, transformative years. This exhibition featured eighty-one black-and-white photographs taken by Gamble and offered a vibrant and compassionate view of the people and customs of China between the fall of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) in 1912 and the beginning of the Communist Revolution.


Exhibition organized by The Sidney D. Gamble Foundation for China Studies and China Institute in America, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service; catalogue published by The Sidney D. Gamble Foundation; copyright 1989 by The Sidney D. Gamble Foundation for China Studies

Exhibition Traveled To:

Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, Canada, October 14– November 26, 1989

Media Coverage:

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

Mind Landscapes: The Paintings of C. C. Wang
胸中丘壑:王己千绘画

April 3–May 27, 1989

Born in 1907, C.C. Wang was praised as one of the best Chinese artists of his generation. A New York City resident for decades, he was also respected for his knowledge of Chinese painting, his teaching, and his private art collection. In his early years, Wang focused exclusively on the brushwork of traditional masters and developed mature brush painting skills, with little interest in composition or color. After decades of study in traditional Chinese and modern Western painting, he formed his own painting style using inked texture, random strokes, prominent and original color, unusual forms, and dramatic compositions. This exhibition featured thirty pieces of Wang’s landscape paintings, representing his four stylistic stages, from the 1930s to the 1980s.


Exhibition organized by the Henry Art Gallery at University of Washington, Seattle; catalogue published by Henry Art Gallery; copyright 1987 by Henry Art Gallery

Curators:

Jerome Silbergeld

Media Coverage:

  • Michael Brenson, “Review/Art; C.C. Wang and the Fruits of Perseverance,” The New York Times, April 28, 1989.

    “Although the retrospective is much smaller in New York, this is the only stop to include a selection of the artist’s personal objects. The brushes, brush rests, arm rests, ink boxes and taiku [taihu] rock define his roots in the literati tradition. The quality of the work is high.”
    “The same attention is paid to everything, from the lines holding the compositions together like architectural ribs, to the patches of mountains or gusts of vapor suspended from the ribs like clothes from a line. The pleasures of this show are not easy to exhaust.”

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker

Related Programs:

  • Symposium: “Mind Landscapes: The Paintings of C.C. Wang.” Jerome Silbergeld, symposium chair, led a panel of collectors and Chinese artists in discussing the current state of Chinese painting and likely future trends.

1989 Chinese New Year Exhibition: Lanterns
1989中国新年展:灯笼

January 28–February 25, 1989

On the last day of the Lunar New Year celebration, which is the fifteenth day of the first month of the year in the lunar calendar, the Chinese celebrate the Lantern Festival. During the festival, people eat yuanxiao 元宵, a glutinous rice ball filled with sweet red bean paste, sesame paste, or peanuts, which is the symbol of family reunion. Chinese families venture out at night to admire glowing lanterns and solve riddles written on them. The exhibition presented thirty handmade paper lanterns used to celebrate the first full moon on the Lantern Festival night.


Stories from China’s Past
中国古代的故事:四川汉代画像砖与考古文物展

September 17–November 12, 1988

This exhibition displayed a rich assortment of Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) pictorial tomb tiles, tomb bricks, and building materials used to construct nobles’ tomb chambers in Sichuan Province. Han tomb tiles found in northern China emphasize pictorial scenes derived from historical sources, mythology, and folklore, while tiles from Sichuan, in marked contrast, bring realism to the art form with vivid representations of “Ba Shu” culture, the regional culture of Sichuan. Carved and painted figures on the seventy tomb relief objects in the exhibition depicted every aspect of people’s daily life, from farming and loom weaving to hunting and fishing. The reliefs and sculptures included scenes of entertainment, from carriage riding and archery to drama and music. Showcasing funerary reliefs, stone and pottery sculptures, and other artifacts from the Han dynasty, the exhibition was the first to present these cultural relics from Sichuan in the United States.


Exhibition organized by The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco; catalogue published by The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, California; copyright 1987 by The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco.

Exhibition Traveled To:

• The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, San Francisco, California April 11–May 31, 1987
• Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, July 1–August 16, 1987
• University of Michigan Museum, Ann Arbor, Michigan, September 8–October 25, 1987
• Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland, November 20, 1987– January 10, 1988
• Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, January 36–March 13, 1988
• Frederick S. Wright Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, California, April 3–May 22, 1988
• Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, June 18–August 21, 1988

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker

Ritual and Power: Jades of Ancient China
礼仪与权力:中国古玉

April 22–June 19, 1988

Archaeological excavations have proven that the history of jade in China goes back to Neolithic times (ca. 6500–1700 BCE). Except for the Paleolithic era, when jade and stone were used interchangeably to fashion tools of production, the earliest jade ornaments appeared in Hemudu culture (ca. 5500–3300 BCE), a Neolithic culture that flourished on the southeastern coast of Hangzhou Bay in Zhejiang Province. Handcrafted objects of jade, beloved by the Chinese people since that early time, were used not only as personal ornaments, room decoration, and gifts to family and friends, but also as ceremonial implements and funerary objects. This exhibition focused on jades from various cultures of the Neolithic period before the Shang (ca. 1600–1100 BCE) and Zhou (ca. 1100–256 BCE) dynasties, featuring the most typical shapes and designs, such as the huang-disk 璜, pig-headed dragon (zhulong, 猪龙), bi-disk 璧, cong 琮, beads, and fu-axe 斧.


Curators:

Elizabeth Childs-Johnson

1988 Chinese New Year Exhibition
1988 中国新年展

February 4–February 24, 1988

To celebrate the Year of the Dragon, which arrived on February 17, this colorful educational exhibition presented a variety of items: contemporary woodblock prints, folk art, and photographs illustrating Lunar New Year festivities, such as making “sticky rice” cakes, the cultivation of silkworms, and writing New Year’s couplets. The exhibition also contained graphic materials supplemented by a display of crafts representing traditional and contemporary life and items reflecting dragon symbolism in Chinese culture, including protective lockets, clothing, kites, and a household altar.


Organized by China House Gallery and the China Institute Women’s Association.

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • 联合日报,1988年2月9日

Related Programs:

  • Lecture Series (February 10–March 1, 1988): Florence Lin and Chef Kin-jing Mark, “Kitchen God Rites and Bites;” Wan-go H.C. Weng, “Chinese New Year and the Dragon;” Xia Wenjie and Susan Cheng, “The Art of the Banhu.”

Richly Woven Traditions: Costumes of the Miao of Southwest China and Beyond
重纺富织:中国西南及苗族服饰

October 22, 1987–January 4, 1988

China is officially composed of fifty-six ethnic groups; visitors to China are often surprised by the variety and distinctiveness of their cultures. These ethnic minorities enrich and greatly vary the fabric of Chinese life through their traditions, arts, crafts, food, and lifestyles. Scattered throughout southwestern China and much of Southeast Asia are people known as the Miao and, outside of China, as the Hmong. This exhibition gathered a colorful collection of costumes, jewelry, household articles, and recent photographs to present Miao costumes in both a contemporary and historical context. Intricate embroideries, finely crafted silverwork, and unusual textures and techniques characterized the objects, which included complete costumes, jackets, hats, aprons, and necklaces.


Curators:

Theresa Reilly

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • Orientations, October 1987
  • 华侨日报

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Theresa Reilly, “Miao Costume” (October 29, 1988).
  • Lectures: Jean Mailey, “The Dragon Robes of China” (October 27, 1988); Lily Yeh, “Tibetan Ritual and Contemporary Art” (December 1, 1988).
  • Workshop: “Demonstration of Miao/Hmong Embroidery Techniques” (November 7, 1988).

Chinese Folk Art
中国民间艺术:雕虫小技

April 4–May 30, 1987

Playing an integral part in China’s daily life and popular culture for centuries, Chinese folk arts and crafts offer rich, graphic expressions of popular preoccupations, concerns, traditions, and mythology. Popular legends and stories from local villages provide a rich source for imagery. Featuring more than 130 examples, this exhibition celebrated the diversity and vitality of traditional and modern folk arts of various regions in China, including paper cuts from Hebei and Shaanxi provinces, stuffed painted silk hangings from Shandong, embroidered collars from Hebei and Sichuan, batik quilt covers from Jiangsu, woodblock prints, and articles of children’s clothing embroidered with fanciful and emblematic designs.


Exhibition organized by Yale University Art Gallery and circulated under the auspices of the Art Museum Association of America; catalogue published by New York Graphic Society; copyright 1986 by New York Graphic Society.

Curators:

Nancy Zeng Berliner

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Nancy Zeng Berliner, “In Appreciation of Small Skills” (April 2, 1987).
  • Lecture: Dr. Robert Hymes, “Daoist Immortals in Jiangxi Today” (April 30, 1987).
  • Movie: To Taste A Hundred Herbs (April 15, 1987).

Selections of Chinese Art from Private Collections
公诸同好

October 18, 1986–January 4, 1987

This exhibition celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of China Institute and marked the twentieth anniversary of China Institute Gallery, harking back to the Gallery’s inaugural exhibition in 1966, “Chinese Art from Private Collections in the Metropolitan Area.” Fifty outstanding Chinese objects on loan from some twenty private collections in the Northeast were shown, many rarely viewed publicly, including jade, ancient bronzes, wood, stone, clay and bronze sculptures, ceramics from the Neolithic period (ca. 6500–1700 BCE) through the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) periods, as well as hanging scrolls, album leaves, and a spectacular silk- and-metal tapestry from the late Ming dynasty.


Curators:

James C. Y. Watt and Annette L. Juliano

Media Coverage:

Related Programs:

  • Series Courses: “Introduction to the Arts of China:” Speakers included: Robert Mowry, “Bronzes” (October 22, 1987); Joan Hartman-Goldsmith, “Jades” (October 29, 1987); Annette Juliano, “Sculpture” (November 5, 1987); Stephen Little, “Ceramics” (November 12, 1987); Alfreda Murck, “Calligraphy” (November 19, 1987); Dawn Delbanco, “Painting” (December 3, 1987).
  • Series Courses: “New Waves in Chinese Painting:” Joan Lebold Cohen, “The Wall Painting Movement” (November 4, 1987); “The Group Movement” (November 11, 1987); “The New Realism” (November 18, 1987).

Puppetry of China
中国木偶

April 19–June 29, 1986

Evidence suggests that puppets appeared in China more than two thousand years ago, when they were believed to have magical abilities and were used to invoke shadows from the dead. This art form reached its full fluorescence in the Song dynasty (960–1279), when it was widely used to depict characters in street entertainment. Puppets were also used in special performances to mark festivals, weddings, birthdays, funerals, and to protect villages in times of famine or illness. Combining gestures, music, and classical storytelling, puppetry performance requires diverse professional skills when presenting historical Chinese stories and legends. Some puppet characters share stylistic features with characters in the Beijing Opera. The exhibition featured over fifty colorful puppets, including hand-puppets, rod-puppets, shadow figures, and marionettes from different regions in China.


Exhibition organized by the Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta, Georgia

Curators:

Roberta Helmer Stalberg

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Roberta Helmer Stalberg, “The Chinese Puppet Theatre: Lore and Legends” (April 17, 1986).
  • Lecture: Bettie Erda, “Regional Styles in the Chinese Puppet Theatre” (April 24, 1986).
  • Videotape: The Quanzhou Puppet Troupe (May 1, 1986).
  • Performance: Yueh Long Shadow Theatre (May 3, 1986).

Chinese New Year Exhibition
1986 中国新年展

February 5–23, 1986

Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is the most important festival in China. Families come together to celebrate, following traditions that have lasted for thousands of years. This exhibition assembled objects with symbolic and ritual significance in the New Year’s feast, as well as costumes, ancestor portraits, prints of the kitchen god, and presentations of traditional foods.


Organized by China Institute

Kernels of Energy, Bones of Earth: The Rock in Chinese Art
力源地骨:中国艺术中的赏石

October 26, 1985–January 26, 1986

Neither Chinese landscape painting nor garden design, two of China’s most outstanding contributions to the art and architecture of the world, could exist without rocks. Chinese value rocks for their philosophic and aesthetic significance as they found expression in traditional Chinese connoisseurship. Rocks are both the frame of a garden and the focus of visual attention. Earth and flowers are fitted into and around this fundamental structure. Paintings of mountains and gardens also feature anthropomorphized rocks. This ground-breaking exhibition presented more than fifty representations of rocks and mountains in all media, with a large number of paintings in all sizes, as well as actual rocks for scholars’ desks and “found” sculptures.


Curators:

John Hay

Media Coverage:

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Dr. John Hay, “Principles of Rock Appreciation” (November 5, 1985).
  • Lecture Series (November 12–December 10, 1985): Alfreda Murck, “Ming Garden;” Edwin T. Morris, “The Drama of Rocks in the Chinese Garden;” Peter H. Wood and David P.K. Wood, “Mountaineering in Western Sichuan;” Dr. H. Paul Varley, “Rocks in Japanese Aesthetic Tradition;” Jean Mailey, “Rocks and Mountains in Chinese Textile Design.”
  • Symposium: “The Rock in Chinese Art” (November 15, 1985).

The Sumptuous Basket: Chinese Lacquer with Basketry Panels
奢华竹篮:中国漆器

March 30- June 3, 1985

Basketry in China, as in other parts of the world, began in the Neolithic era (ca. 6500–1700 BCE) as a response to the growing need for containers to hold grain and daily objects. Through the millennia, baskets occupied an important position in Chinese material culture. The use of lacquer in China is as old as that of baskets; but, the use of lacquer on basketry first appeared in the Eastern Han period (25–220 CE) for decorative purposes. This exhibition focused on a narrow but selective collection of forty lacquered baskets in varying designs and styles—including one Han-period reproduction—from the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. From picnic baskets to sacrificial vessels, they demonstrated the elevation of a traditional folk craft to the highest level of luxury.


Curators:

James C. Y. Watt

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: James C. Y. Watt, “The Sumptuous Basket” (April 2, 1985).
  • Lecture Series (April 2–30, 1985): Dr. Roberta H. Stalberg, “Chinese Baskets and Woven Articles;” Jean Mailey, “Sericulture and the Silk of Ming and Qing;” Dr. Theresa Reilly, “Chinese Jewelry;” Rosalind Benedict, “Carpets of China;” Joan Hartman-Goldsmith, “Blue and White Porcelains.

Chinese Rare Books in American Collections

October 20, 1984–January 27, 1985

Printing in early China centered on block printings of Daoist and Buddhist chants and sutras for devotional purposes. In the Song dynasty (960–1279) printing set standards of style, font, and technique that were imitated throughout later dynasties. Thanks to the development of papermaking and movable-type printing technology, by the beginning of the eleventh century, books were as commonly accessible in China as they would be six centuries later in the West. During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), books ranging from illustrated novels to encyclopedias and colored prints were in great demand by both the educated elite and the general public. This exhibition traced the development of printing in China from the tenth through the eighteenth centuries, and included forty examples of woodblock and early movable-type printing, as well as related artifacts such as Ming dynasty ink cakes.


Curators:

J. Sören Edgren

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: J. Sören Edgren, “Chinese Bibliography and Rare Book Collections” (November 2, 1984).
  • Symposium: “Chinese Rare Books in American Collections” (November 2, 1984). Speakers included: Wan-go Weng, Tsuen-hsuin Tsien, Roderick Whitfield; Fang Chao-ying, Wang Chi, James Cahill, Stephen Little, and Anne Burkus.

Chinese Traditional Architecture
中国传统建筑

April 6–June 10, 1984

Judging from known archeological remains and sites, Chinese architecture can be traced back at least seven thousand years. Though differences in geography and climate caused remarkable diversity in the architecture of various regions, a unique system based on a wooden framework, particularly the wooden framework construction for weight bearing and the dougong 斗拱 (interlocking bracket structure), gradually took shape over several millennia of innovation. Spanning the Bronze Age through the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), this exhibition featured two hundred photographs of traditional Chinese architecture and related excavations, as well as architectural drawings, models, and diagrams based on current fieldwork at major excavation sites. Rather than listing exhibited items, the catalogue included an introductory survey of Chinese architecture by Fu Xinian and essays by other scholars, along with photographs and detailed architectural drawings.


Curators:

Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt

Exhibition Traveled To:

• Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania, March 28–April 19, 1985
• Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vermont, September 11–October 31, 1985
• State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, January 7–February 27, 1986

Related Programs:

  • Lecture: Lo-yi Chan, “Current Chinese Attitudes towards Architecture” (April 5, 1984).
  • Symposium: “International Symposium on Chinese Traditional Architecture” (April 12, 1984).

Masterpieces of Chinese Export Porcelain and Related Decorative Arts from the Mottahedeh Collection
中国外销瓷及相关装饰艺术精品展

February 10–March 7, 1984

To mark the two hundredth anniversary of the commencement of U.S.-China trade this exhibition featured sixty-seven objects from the renowned Mottahedeh Collection, including porcelain, ivory, reverse paintings on glass, and a painted fan, produced in China for the Near Eastern, European, and American markets from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. The Mottahedeh Collection of some two thousand items was assembled over half a century by Mildred R. Mottahedeh and her husband, Rafi Y. Mottahedeh. Inspired by their own collection, as well as museum collections, the Mottahedehs produced faithful modern copies of traditional ceramics and became one of the most important sources of museum reproductions in the 1960s and 1970s, even fabricating some of their ceramic wares at the kilns of Jingdezhen. The exhibition was part of “U.S.–CHINA 200,” a yearlong city-wide celebration of the trade bicentennial that was coordinated by China Institute in America.


U.S.- China 200 Bicentennial Exhibition, organized by Anita Christy and Didi Hunter

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The Asian Wall Street Journal

Related Programs:

  • Lecture: Clare Le Corbeiller, “China Trade Porcelain” (March 1, 1984).
  • Series Courses: “Silk Route:” William Samolin, “The Origins and Development of the Silk Route” (February 8, 1984); Victor Mair, “Dunhuang: China’s Ancient Window on the World” (February 15, 1984); Morris Rossabi, “Muslims and Mongols on the Silk Route” (February 22, 1984).

Chinese Ceramics of the Transitional Period: 1620-1683
过渡期的中国陶瓷:1620至1683年

October 21, 1983–January 29, 1984

The beginning of the transitional period of Chinese ceramics between the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties in the seventeenth century was marked by the death of the Ming Wanli Emperor in 1620 and ended with the arrival of Zang Yingxuan, an imperial supervisor appointed by the Kangxi emperor to the Jingdezhen kiln in 1683. During the sixty-three years of chaotic transition, Jingdezhen, the most important ceramics production center in China from the Ming dynasty, lost its imperial patronage as the Ming empire declined and the Manchus gradually usurped power. Potters were forced to pursue new patrons and experiment with ceramic styles, techniques, and designs. Jingdezhen miraculously recovered from almost total destruction by the wars and continues to be a major center for ceramic production in China today. Featuring fifty-five items from this seminal period the exhibition included some of the most typical transitional ceramics, including blue-and-white porcelain, monochrome-glazed, and enameled wares.


Curators:

Stephen Little

Exhibition Traveled To:

Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, May 26–August 26, 1984

Exhibition Mentioned in Other Media:

  • The New Yorker

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Stephen Little, “Chinese Ceramics of the Transitional Period: 1620-1683” (October 20, 1983).

Bamboo Carving of China
中国竹刻

March 18–May 29, 1983

Bamboo serves humans in a multitude of ways: young shoots are eaten as food, canes are used for building and transport, leaves for wrapping, pulp for paper, and decorative objects are fashioned from stems and roots. The plant—which is a grass–is also appreciated for its beauty, endurance, and fragrance, and is considered a symbol of tenaciousness and moral integrity. Along with the plum tree, orchid, and chrysanthemum, bamboo is considered one of the “Four Gentlemen” by Chinese scholars. Since ancient times, the Chinese made bamboo implements for production and utensils for daily use. In the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), bamboo carving was elevated from a craft to a specialized art by talented scholars and evolved into a popular art form. This exhibition brought together eighty-six carved bamboo objects from the Ming dynasty to the present, including brush holders, perfume holders, wrist rests, sculptures, brushes, boxes, and fans. The innovative installation, designed by co-curator and China Institute president Wan-go Weng, suggested a Suzhou garden, with showcases framed in white cutouts that referenced scholars’ objects.


Curators:

Wang Shixiang and Wan-go H. C. Weng

Exhibition Traveled To:

• The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, July 24–September 11, 1983
• Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, October 3, 1983–January 15, 1984

Media Coverage:

  • Rita Reif, “Antiques View: The Lure And Lore Of Bamboo,” The New York Times, May 8, 1983.

    “Chinese bamboo craftsmen, from the 16th century on, enriched scholars’ desks with sculptures, writing tools, brush holders, wrist rests and other objects. Some excellent examples survive, as can be seen in ‘’Bamboo Carving of China,’’ an exhibition of 85 selections at China House Gallery... The show is believed to be the first in this country devoted to the craft.”
    “Exhibitions mounted by the China Institute in its tiny gallery have always been admired for their consummate sophistication both in subject matter and presentation.”

China from Within
从内部看中国

November 4–December 12, 1982

In the 1980s, Americans were accustomed to seeing photographs of contemporary China taken by Western photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson. This exhibition of forty-eight landscape photographs offered audiences a very different view of China through the lens of Chinese photographers. After the end of the Cultural Revolution, many political restrictions affecting photography were revoked, creating a more open and friendly environment for Chinese photographers. Artists returned to their roots to depict the Chinese landscape by employing the conventions of traditional Chinese landscape painting.


Exhibition organized by International Photography Society in cooperation with The China Exhibition Agency, Beijing, and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Washington, DC. A Smithsonian Institution Traveling Services Exhibition.

The Communion of Scholars: Chinese Art at Yale
雅集:耶鲁大学馆藏中国艺术珍品

March 20–May 30, 1982

This exhibition presented some seventy-five Chinese art objects from the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, with pieces ranging from the Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1100 BCE) through the contemporary period. Founded in 1832, the Yale University Art Gallery began its Chinese collection in 1837 and continued to expand the collection for more than one hundred years. Conceived primarily as a teaching collection, it is available to students and professors in Chinese art history and culture at Yale University. The bronzes, jade, sculpture, ceramics, paintings, and scholars’ objects included in China Institute’s exhibition gave audiences beyond the University the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Chinese art and learn about Chinese culture.


Curators:

Mary Gardner Neill

Exhibition Traveled To:

• Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, June 22–August 22, 1982
• Yale Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, October 5, 1982–April 17, 1983

Media Coverage:

  • Rita Reif, “Antiques View: An Engaging Exhibition of Chinese Wares,” The New York Times, March 21, 1982.

    “Fortunately, Chinese art enthusiasts cannot fail to find this show most exciting as a viewing and learning experience, even if they have seen all of the many highly praised Chinese art exhibitions shown recently. For the uninitiated to fully comprehend the material, browsing is suggested so that all the objects and paintings - some of which are highly esoteric - can be carefully examined and the information on the labels digested.”

Masterpieces of Sung and Yuan Dynasty Calligraphy from the John M. Crawford Jr. Collection
顾洛阜藏宋元书法名迹选萃

October 21, 1981–January 31, 1982

Regarded as one of China’s supreme artistic achievements, calligraphy is equal to, if not higher than, painting in the esteem in which connoisseurs of Chinese art hold it. In the years preceding this exhibition, few Western scholars had seriously studied Chinese calligraphy because the art form had no parallels in the Western tradition, making comparisons difficult. As a pioneer collector of Chinese calligraphy in the West, John M. Crawford Jr. was an acknowledged connoisseur. His distinguished collection, at the time considered the largest and finest private collection of Chinese painting and calligraphy in the West, featured calligraphy from the Song (960– 1279) and Yuan (1279–1368) dynasties, the earliest periods from which a number of calligraphic works exist in ink originals rather than on steles. Among the thirteen featured masterpieces on view at China Institute were artworks from outstanding artists such as Huang Tingjian (1045–1105), Mi Fu (1051–1107), Fan Chengda (1126–1193), Zhao Mengjian (1199–1264), and Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322), as well as Song dynasty emperors Gaozong (1107–1187) and Lizong (1205–1264). The catalogue was published in an oversized format to enable close study, and a limited edition of offprints from the collection was available for sale. The bulk of the Crawford collection was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Curators:

Kwan S. Wong, assisted by Stephen Addiss

Exhibition Traveled To:

Spencer Museum, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 14–April 18, 1982

Media Coverage:

  • John Russell, “Art: Munch in Prints And Almost in The Flesh,” The New York Times, November 13, 1981.

    “So many American abstract painters summon up - whether consciously or not - an echo of Oriental calligraphy that this show of the real thing should find an eager welcome. Everything in it comes from the John M. Crawford Jr. collection, and every least mark (ink on silk, mostly) is translated for us... Even without the translation, the uninitiated can sense the sacramental importance of calligraphy in the periods in question.”

Related Programs:

  • Curator’s Lecture: Kwan Wong, “Leading Calligraphers of the Sung and Yuan Dynasties” (December 9, 1981).
  • Lectures: Leon Chang, “The Chinese Literati: Theory and Criticism of Chinese Calligraphy and Brush Techniques from Han to Ch’ing” (January 13, 1982); “Calligraphy’s Relationship to Painting, Poetry and Modern Art” (January 20, 1982).

The Art of Chinese Knotting
中国结

July 29–September 21, 1981

Due to its essentially functional handicraft nature, Chinese knotting has historically received little attention as an art form, regardless of its aesthetic virtues and the wisdom of its designs that incorporate both utility and beauty. Threads are highly perishable and, as a result, no ancient Chinese knotwork has been found. Nevertheless, we can still find evidence of the existence of Chinese knotting in literature and other art forms, including knots on the clothing of sculptures and decorative patterns on bronze and ceramics. From at least the Southern Dynasties (420–589) Chinese people have been making special knots with specific names and using them as symbols, such as the “true lover’s knot” as an expression of love. As the first summer exhibition held at China Institute Gallery, this collection featured objects related to knots in ancient China, and traditional Chinese knotting works from the Qing dynasty (1644–1911).


Curators:

Hsia-sheng Chen

Freedom of Clay and Brush through Seven Centuries in Northern China: Tz’u-chou Type Wares 960-1600 A.D.
中国北方七百年的自由:磁州窑器

March 16–May 24, 1981

Cizhou (Tz’u-chou) wares have been produced as a major ceramic type in China since the 10th century during the Song dynasty (960–1279). They were produced in southern Hebei Province in northern China and were once the most popular wares. Rooted in the tradition of Tang white stoneware, it is hard to distinguish early Cizhou-type wares from their predecessors except for one characteristic, the use of white slip. Applying white slip under a transparent glaze gave Cizhou-type wares smooth surfaces and allowed potters to develop diverse decorations. This exhibition classified Cizhou-type wares into nineteen groups according to the decoration and showcased fifty-eight examples, ranging from vases to plates and from ewers to pillows.


Exhibition organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art; catalogue published by Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana; copyright 1980 by Indianapolis Museum of Art

Curators:

Yutaka Mino, catalogue with the assistance of Katherine R. Tsiang

Exhibition Traveled To:

• Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 17, 1980–January 18, 1981
• China House Gallery, New York, New York, March 16–May 24, 1981
• Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, June 27–August 9, 1981

Chinese Porcelains in European Mounts
欧式配座上的中国瓷器

October 22, 1980–January 25, 1981

Although the practice of mounting Oriental porcelain in Europe dates at least to the late Middle Ages, the quality and quantity of mounted ceramics did not attract public interest until the middle of the eighteenth century, when chinoiserie became a fashion in Paris. From 1740 to 1760, more than any other period, a considerable amount of Oriental porcelain was set into metal mounts, generally, gilt bronze mounts designed by Europeans. By modifying their exotic character into a quasi-French appearance, mounted Chinese porcelains could be displayed in rooms that satisfied French tastes for interior decoration. The majority of the thirty-four pieces in this exhibition were Chinese porcelains mounted in Paris from 1740 to 1760, along with drawings and paintings featuring mounted porcelain.


Curators:

Sir Francis Watson

Media Coverage:

Chinese Art from the Newark Museum
纽瓦克博物馆中国艺术精品展

March 19–May 25, 1980

Established in 1909, the Newark Museum has a large Asian collection and is especially strong in Chinese art. This exhibition included many fine and extraordinary objects produced from the 10th century BCE to the 19th century. The exhibition presented Chinese ceramics, fabric, bronze, jade, enamels, lacquers, ivory, and carved ink cakes, all produced with the highest level of workmanship and aesthetic sensibility.


Curators:

Valrae Reynolds and Yen Fen Pei

Treasures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
大都会艺术博物馆藏珍品展

October 25–November 25, 1979

Chosen entirely from the storerooms of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this exhibition showcased some of the museum’s finest collections, which had been in storage awaiting the construction and installation of the new galleries of Far Eastern Art. Sixty-four objects, ranging from the Shang (ca. 1600–1100 BCE) to the Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, were selected to represent the diversity and supreme quality of artwork in each period.


Curators:

Clarence F. Shangraw

Art of the Han
汉代艺术

March 14–May 27, 1979

After influential archaeological excavations of Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) tombs in the 1950s and the discovery of the tomb of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE) in 1974, scholars were able to analyze artworks with securely dated references, enabling academic research on Han art to experience rapid development. Han artists and artisans developed a distinct style during the dynasty’s four-century governance of China. Bold, simple outlines, three-dimensional shapes, and a trend towards realism characterized the Han aesthetic, which was a vivid reflection of the brilliance and vigor of the Han. Han art has been influential throughout Chinese history, and Han culture still forms the core national consciousness of the Chinese. This exhibition featured eighty-two Han dynasty objects, primarily sculpture, as well as vessels, tiles, mirrors, and other decorative objects.


Curators:

Ezekiel Schloss

Origins of Chinese Ceramics
中国陶器的起源

October 25, 1978–January 28, 1979

The earliest Northern Chinese intuitively recognized the potential of clay as a medium; artisans of the late Neolithic period (ca. 2000 BCE) experimented with fundamental components of the basic ceramic kiln to obtain remarkable firing success. In central China and along the eastern coastline, several different cultures developed distinct ceramics styles. Ancient Chinese fired ceramics for utilitarian, ritual, and funerary functions, and decorated their works with graphic designs. This exhibition featured forty-four ceramic examples from the late Neolithic period to the early historical period between 5000 and 2000 BCE, including items from the Yangshao, Liangzhu, and Longshan cultures, the Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1100 BCE), and the Warring States Period (ca. 475–221 BCE).


Curators:

Clarence F. Shangraw

Embroidery of Imperial China
中国宫廷刺绣

March 17–May 28, 1978

Embroidery–enhancing or covering a ground fabric with needlework– has a long history in China, at least since the Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1100 BCE). It penetrated all aspects of Chinese life where art and ornament played a role. The technique and style of embroidery developed through history, but in general only aristocrats and the wealthy could afford to own embroidered garments. When painting became the most esteemed art form in the Liao (907–1125) and Song (960–1279) dynasties, it injected fresh blood into embroidery production by introducing painting aesthetics and skills to needlework. The thirty-two items in this exhibition covered the period from the Song dynasty to the nineteenth century, ranging from album leaves, panels, and hanging scrolls to badges and dragon robes that once belonged to the imperial family.


Curators:

Jean Mailey

I-Hsing Ware
宜兴紫砂

October 28, 1977–January 29, 1978

The sixty objects in this exhibition, dating from the late sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century, came from Yixing (I-Hsing), the famous pottery center in China’s Jiangsu Province. Yixing ware, especially its teaware, is highly prized by the Chinese for its natural clay colors, simplicity of design, and elegance of execution. This exhibition featured top quality pieces that are particularly associated with scholars and artists. Treasured Yixing wares are produced in small quantities today and are rarely found outside China. Paintings and calligraphies by famous artists with a connection to Yixing wares were also in the exhibition, including works by Shen Zhou (1427–1509), Dong Qichang (1555–1636), Chen Jiru (1558–1639), Huang Shen (1687–1768), Zheng Xie (1693–1765), Qian Du (1763–1844), and Chen Hongshou (1768–1822). These artists influenced Yixing potters, and in some cases even collaborated with them to produce Yixing ware. Some artists made ceramics as a hobby.


Curators:

Terese Tse Bartholomew

Exhibition Traveled To:

Nelson-Atkins Gallery of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, February 19–May 21, 1978
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection, San Francisco, California, June 16–September 21, 1978

Early Chinese Miniatures
中国早期袖珍艺术

March 16–May 29, 1977

In order to be considered miniatures, objects must be small, have full-size counterparts, and not be made as part of a larger object. In early times, Chinese workmen produced miniatures as toys, models, or sample designs for full-sized pieces. During the Song dynasty (960–1279), miniatures were produced for the scholar’s table, some even in the form of Shang (ca. 1600–1100 BCE) and Zhou (ca. 1100–256 BCE) archaic bronze vessels. Miniatures played a role as purely decorative pieces in the Ming (1368–1644) and the Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. Certain types of objects such as houses, vessels, and figurines were also commonly found in tombs as grave goods for the deceased to use in the afterlife. This exhibition featured over 220 miniatures from the Shang dynasty through the Song dynasty, including bronze vessels, figurines, ceramics, mirrors, and jade, as well as several miniature copies of scroll paintings from the Qianlong period (1736–95) in the Qing dynasty.


Curators:

Dr. Paul Singer

Media Coverage:

  • Rita Reif, “Antiques: Miniatures of Ancient China,” The New York Times, April 15, 1977.

    “Once again this gallery, one of New York’s smallest, has produced a provocative and pioneering study of a subject rarely if ever, tackled by others.”
    “What is bound to amaze most viewers is the superior quality of these bronze, jade, marble, pottery, glass, silver, turquoise and lead wares. Their meticulous details, refined craftsmanship, proportions and vigor are equal to full-scaled works, which would not be true of toys or mere models.”

Chinese Folk Art in American Collections: Early 15th through 20th Centuries
美国藏中国民间艺术品

October 27, 1976–January 30, 1977

Folk art, created by uneducated folk artists, is always natural, native, and naive. Since the early Ming dynasty (1368–1644), countless Chinese folk arts were produced in various media and with different levels of skill, but this genre is largely overlooked. While Chinese folk art has a long history, it has often been underappreciated, existing in the shadow of “fine art.” The exhibition brought together fifty-nine pieces of Chinese folk art, separating them into two categories based on their medium and utilitarian purpose. The first category included artworks such as wood, bamboo baskets, and other types of weaving, as well as cotton, leather, pewter, and silver works. The second category focused on wooden statues and woodblock prints that represent folk cults practiced in the home.


Curators:

Tseng Yu-Ho Ecke

Media Coverage:

  • Rita Reif, “Antiques,” The New York Times, December 3, 1976.
  • N.F. Karlins, “Exquisite Show at China House,” East Side Express, January 6, 1977.

    “Chinese folk art is a comparatively neglected area...the current exhibition proves that there is an extraordinary diversity of media and forms not to be missed in Chinese folk art... and accomplished by an extremely informative, illustrated catalogue.”
    “It (the exhibition) provides a glimpse of what the ‘folk’ of China have produced and transmitted from generation to generation from the 15th century down to our own. This is not a show of popular art, craft items made as souvenirs for the tourists, but folk art, art developed by the ordinary people of China for their everyday enjoyment and use.”

China’s Influence on American Culture in the 18th and 19th Centuries
18至19世纪中国对美国文化的影响

April 8–June 13, 1976

In the early years of the United States’ independence, China was a critical trade partner. The early commerce between the Qing (1644–1911) government and the United States is known as “The Old China Trade.” While silk and tea were in greatest demand, other items were eagerly sought as well, including a wide variety of lacquer, ivory, and silver wares, porcelain, textiles, fans, furniture, and paintings in Western style. In celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of U.S.-China trade, this exhibition showcased sixty-six trade wares that illustrated the variety and high quality of Chinese works that found their way to America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


Curators:

Henry Trubner and William Jay Rathburn

Exhibition Traveled To:

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, October 7–November 28, 1976

Art of the Six Dynasties: Centuries of Change and Innovation
六朝艺术:世纪之变与创新

October 29, 1975–February 1, 1976

Between the fall of the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) and the rise of the Tang empire (618–907), China was in political turmoil for almost four hundred years, consistently experiencing wars and regime changes. The period from 220 to 589 CE is commonly known as the Six Dynasties. Far from being a cultural wasteland, however, the Six Dynasties period was a time of reorganization and regeneration. During this period, the fabric of Chinese culture was strengthened by the assimilation of new forces such as Buddhism and the energy of nomadic conquerors. The arts, particularly calligraphy, painting, ceramics, and sculpture, thrived in this turbulent period and inspired the brilliant and diversified art of the Tang dynasty when China restored her long-lost unification. This exhibition showcased fifty-seven works from the Six Dynasties period, featuring sculpture, ceramics, jade, stone epitaph rubbings, masks, and mirrors.


Curators:

Annette L. Juliano

Media Coverage:

Ancient Chinese Jades from the Buffalo Museum of Science
中国古玉

April 3–June 15, 1975

Jade has been admired as China’s most precious stone since ancient times, credited with possessing magical properties. Even today, the Chinese believe that jade can exorcise evil and protect its owner. Jade tools were used in China before the development of metal farming implements. After the advent of metals, jade was replaced by metal wares in daily life. Because of its protective properties and associations with immortality, jade was used for tomb furnishings, where it was often incised with detailed decoration. The 126 jade objects in this exhibition included blades and axes, amulets, handles, and small human and animal sculptures from the late Neolithic period (ca. 2000 BCE) through the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE).


Curators:

Joan M. Hartman