Bronzes of Imperial China from the tenth to the nineteenth century

Exhibition of 20 September 2013 at 19 January 2014


In China, bronze has been a favorite material for making ritual objects since the first dynasties.

In the 10th century, after several centuries of predominance of the Buddhist religion, in order to strengthen the imperial authority of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the ancient rites related to the Imperial Ancestors, to Heaven and Earth, take on importance news. The collection of ancient ritual vases, their cataloging, the deciphering of their inscriptions become an occupation of many scholars. Bronzes now count, after paintings and calligraphy, among the most expensive objects and most sought after collectors. Recipes of restoration, imitation and counterfeit flourish from this time. The fashion of ancient motifs and forms soon spread to many areas and permeated the whole art of China: utensils for daily use or decoration, objects of scholars or worship, among others.

For the first time in France, an exhibition is devoted to this field, which has not yet been studied.

It will decline three themes: The empire of rites (rites and ritual vases, the restoration of cults and vases in their original form), The color of the ancient (the role of scholars and archaeological books to list, classify , name, identify imitations and counterfeits of ancient techniques and patinas), The past for eternity (objects of scholars, incense utensils, vases with arrows, small religious statuary, basins and offering dishes).

So a very varied set of Chinese bronzes from the collections of the Cernuschi museum will be shown, often for the first time.

With over a thousand works, this collection is one of the largest in the world for bronzes of this period.

Curator of the exhibition: Michel Maucuer, Chief Curator

Celestial bird-shaped vase - Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1735 - 1796)
© Stéphane Piera / Cernuschi Museum / Roger-Viollet



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