June 22, 2013–January 12, 2014
Location: Nelson-Atkins Building, Gallery 222
Each culture has its own visual language that communicates morals or ideals. The Chinese use rich and engaging symbols in art to convey universal human aspirations: family prosperity, successful careers and longevity. The Chinese believe their wishes will come true when they surround themselves with auspicious images, symbols that bring good fortune to the owner. Such images were widely used to decorate gifts for celebrating important occasions like birthdays, weddings, promotions and festivals. Today, secret meanings continue to pervade Chinese art.
Artist unknown. Many Deer (detail), Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). Handscroll, ink and color on paper. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 33-649.