China in Twelve Artworks

, University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums
  • 'Guang' Covered Ritual Wine Vessel with Tiger and Owl Decor
  • In the Palace
  • Winter Birds
  • Fan with Painted Decoration of Bronzes, Paintings, and Texts on One Side and Fragments of Texts on the Other
  • Scenes from Romance of the Western Chamber (Xixiang ji)
  • Large 'Hunping' Funerary Jar with Tiered Top Representing Birds, Beasts, and Figures Set in an Architectural Complex
  • 'Guang' Covered Ritual Wine Vessel with Animal, Bird, and 'Taotie' Decor
  • Ritual Bell (Bo zhong) with Stylized Dragon and Snake Decor and with Handle in the Form of Addorsed Birds
  • Cylindrical Jade Cup
  • Moon and Melon
  • 'He' Ritual Pouring Vessel with Animal-Head Spout, Openwork Handle, and Anthropomorphic Legs
  • 'Guang' Covered Ritual Wine Vessel with Animal and 'Taotie' Decor
  • Landscape
  • Jade Cup with Bird Handles
  • Miniature Stupa with Illustrations of Jataka Tales
University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

How to understand China from a historical perspective? For a civilization that diligently produces more written documents than most other cultures, mining the wealth of textual sources is the usual approach. Here, however, we take a route less traveled. China is shown in 12 artworks, spanning three millennia from the Bronze Age to the 20th century. Most are displayed in the University Study Gallery along with a selection of complementary objects. The other key works are on view in gallery 1600 (object 1943.51.22) and gallery 1740 (objects 1943.52.103 and 1943.52.180) on Level 1.

This installation complements a course taught by Eugene Wang, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art. The University Study Gallery supports the coursework of numerous Harvard departments and schools. It is a gallery classroom dedicated to the installation of original works of art that serve as primary source materials for interdisciplinary study.

The installation is made possible in part by funding from the Gurel Student Exhibition Fund and the José Soriano Fund.