Exhibition: From the Imperial Theater – Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries

Met Museum - From the Imperial Theater

Exhibition dates: open until 9 October 2016

Drawn entirely from The Met’s collection, this exhibition in New York examines these luxury textiles from artistic and technical points of view. It is organized in two rotations. The first focuses on costumes used in dramas based on historical events, and the second will feature costumes from plays derived from legends and myths. The presentation showcases eight robes, each of which was created for a specific role – court lady, official, general, monk, nun and immortal. A set of album leaves faithfully depicting theatrical characters wearing such robes is also displayed.

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed a flowering of Chinese drama. Under the patronage of the Qing court (1644–1911), performances – including the ‘Peking Opera’ – filled the Forbidden City in Beijing. A form of traditional Chinese theatre, Peking Opera was developed fully by the mid-nineteenth century, and because of the form’s minimal stage settings and the importance of exaggerated gestures and movements, costume played an unusually significant role.

This exhibition includes superb examples with interior markings indicating their use in court productions.

For more information, visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA.

Advertisements

Exhibition: Celebrating the Arts of Japan – The Mary Griggs Burke Collection

Met Museum - Celebrating the Arts of Japan

Exhibition dates: 20 October 2015 – 22 January 2017

A spectacular array of Japanese works of art are currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in a special exhibition featuring works drawn from the recent landmark gift to the museum by the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation. ‘Celebrating the Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection’ is a tribute to the discerning New York City collector who built what is widely regarded as the finest and most encompassing private collection outside Japan. The works on view include masterpieces – paintings, sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, lacquerware and more – dating from the tenth to the twentieth century. Among the highlights are a powerful representation of the Buddhist deity Fudō Myōō from the studio of the celebrated sculptor Kaikei (active 1185–1223), a sumptuous set of early seventeenth-century screens showing Uji Bridge in Kyoto, and Itō Jakuchū’s (1716–1800) tour-de-force ink painting of plum blossoms in full bloom illuminated by moonlight. Organised by theme and presented in two sequential rotations (with the changeover taking place in late May 2016), the exhibition will reveal, through a single, distinguished collection, the full range of topics, techniques and styles that are distinctive to Japanese art.

Beginning in the 1960s, over the course of nearly 50 years, Mary Griggs Burke (1916–2012) assembled an unparalleled art collection. It was exhibited by the Tokyo National Museum in 1985, the first ever Japanese art collection from abroad to be shown there. The themes selected for the current exhibition, including numerous works added to the collection since the Bridge of Dreams exhibition at the Met in 2000, reflect Mrs Burke’s own collecting interests.

For more information, visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA.

Exhibition: The Secret Life of Textiles – Plant Fibers

Met Museum - Secret Life of Textiles - Plant Fibres

Exhibition dates: 7 March – 31 July 2016

Fibres are the most important components of a textile. Everything related to the production of a textile – yarns, dyes, weaving and patterns – begins with and is determined by the type and quality of the fibres. At the Metropolitan, the museum’s comprehensive textile collection, the conservators’ expertise and state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation come together to make possible a detailed examination of fibre characteristics and technology through a series of three installations that are focused on plant fibres, animal fibres and synthetic fibers.

This first installation in the series will reveal the technological transformation and beauty of the most important plant fibers – linen, hemp, ramie and cotton – used by various cultures around the world in North Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas, from the Dynastic period of Egypt to the present day.

For more information, visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA.

Exhibition: Korea – 100 Years of Collecting at the Met

Met Museum - Korea - 100 Years of Collecting at the Met

Exhibition dates: 7 February 2015 – 27 March 2016

When the Department of Far Eastern Art was established at the Metropolitan Museum in the summer of 1915, the museum possessed only sixty-five Korean works. Some were mistakenly catalogued as Chinese or Japanese. Dubbed the ‘hermit kingdom’, Korea was then little known to the Western world. Today, its traditional arts, as well as pop music, film and drama, are celebrated markers of global culture. The museum’s collection of Korean art, too, has been significantly transformed and continues to evolve. It now encompasses ceramics, paintings, sculpture, metalwork, lacquerware and textiles from the late Bronze Age to the present.

Works on view include important recent gifts to the museum from the Mary Griggs Burke Collection and Florence and Irving Collection – including a rare sixteenth-century Buddhist painting of royal commission, a striking mid-seventeenth-century gilt-wood statue of a Bodhisattva, and exquisite mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquer boxes from the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). The stories behind the objects in this exhibition capture the individuals and trends that shaped the Met’s distinctive collection, sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally. This presentation also reveals the modern Western imagination of Korea, and the many ways Korean art came to be viewed and appreciated in America.

For more information, visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

Exhibition: Chinese Textiles – Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection

Met Museum - Chinese Textiles from the Met

Exhibition dates: 15 August 2015 – 19 November 2016

This installation, which explores the cultural importance of silk in China, shows the most important and unusual textiles from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection. In addition to three rare pieces dating from the Tang dynasty (618–906), when China served as a cultural hub linking Korea and Japan to Central and West Asia, and, ultimately to the Mediterranean world, the exhibition also includes eleventh- and twelfth-century tapestries from Central Asia, as well as contemporaneous Chinese examples of this technique.

Spectacular embroideries – including an imperial fourteenth-century canopy decorated with phoenixes and flowers, and a monumental late seventeenth- or early eighteenth-century panel showing phoenixes in a garden – are also on view, together with theatrical garments, court costumes and early examples of badges worn at court to designate rank.

For more information, visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

Exhibition: China Through the Looking Glass

Met Museum - China Through the Looking Glass

Exhibition dates: until 7 September 2015

This exhibition explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fuelled the fashionable imagination for centuries. In this collaboration between the Met Museum’s Costume Institute and Department of Asian Art, high fashion is juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains and other art, including films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery.

From the earliest period of European contact with China in the sixteenth century, the West has been enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from the East, providing inspiration for fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent, whose fashions are infused at every turn with romance, nostalgia and make-believe. Through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.

The exhibition features more than 140 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside Chinese art. Filmic representations of China are incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China are framed by narratives that draw upon popular culture, and also to recognise the importance of cinema as a medium through which to understand the richness of Chinese history.

There are still three weeks left in which to visit this exhibition, so if you’re nearby, try to see it!

For more information, visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.