The sophistication of ancient Chinese bronze castings and jade carvings and the evolution of different calligraphic scripts have long fascinated Chinese artists and people world-wide. Indeed one of the greatest continuing obsessions in Chinese art—today as over the past 3,000 years—is striving to pay homage to immense richness of Chinese cultural traditions and their constant re-invention through living artists of each and every era. For example, the so-called ‘hundred treasures’ (baibao) include symbols of ancient bronze forms, jades, stone chimes and emblems of the four scholarly pursuits: calligraphy, poetry, painting and music, to name just a few. Every succeeding period of Chinese history re-creates these honored cultural elements—through courtly arts, decorative arts, religious arts and perhaps most predominately though a scholarly lifestyle of the literati class. In addition to featuring ancient bronze and jade works, this exhibition showcases carvings of ivory, rhinoceros horn, lapis lazuli, malachite, turquoise, amber, amethyst, rock crystal and bamboo as well as ceramics, calligraphy and paintings that exemplify centuries of re-inventing and re-activating the ancient arts of China up to the thriving contemporary arts of the twenty-first century.
Funding for this exhibition provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation