Tokyo National Museum hosts 200 Chinese masterpieces

Qingming Festival, Zhang Zeduan

In 2012, which marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and China, the Tokyo National Museum hosts an exhibition of masterpieces from the Palace Museum, Beijing.

The site of the Palace Museum, Beijing, was formerly the residence of 24 Chinese emperors from the Ming-dynasty Emperor Yongle to the Qing-dynasty Emperor Puyi. In addition to its own glorious architecture, it houses a collection of more than 1.8 million artifacts.

This exhibition consists of a selection of 200 masterpieces from that collection and is split into two sections. The first section features the simultaneous display of 41 Song- and Yuan-dynasty calligraphic works and paintings not previously shown outside the palace (some works for a limited period), as well as masterpieces of court and literati paintings, must-see works by three of the best calligraphers of the Song period, and masterworks of calligraphy by Yuan-period literati. Boasting a tremendous array of fabulous bronzes, jades and other artifacts, this lineup can be described as a defining exhibition of the Palace Museum.

The second section is built around four portraits of Emperor Qianlong, whose reign marked the Qing dynasty’s golden period. This section seeks to understand the abundance of world views held in the Qing dynasty. There is also an area that attempts to recreate, using existing artworks, a portrait of Emperor Qianlong in which he is depicted surrounded by various masterpieces.

Image:  Life along the Bian River at the Qingming Festival (detail)
By Zhang Zeduan, Northern Song dynasty, 12th century, Collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, China

Source: via Tokyo National Museum

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