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365 Days of Art Archive - Chinese collection

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From the Chinese collection.

Ruyilun Guanyin (Cintamani chakra Bodhisattva) Seated on a Lotus Throne

Decked out with jewels and flying scarves, this image of the Guanyin who Turns the Wish-Fulfilling Gem presents a vision of splendor and compassion.

From the Chinese collection.

Cricket Cage

Chinese cricket cages were created in all shapes and forms. This one is a natural gourd that grew into a mold in the shape of a melon. A lid of carved ivory with open work allowed the cricket’s song to be heard.

From the Chinese collection.

Guardian Lion

This marble lion, carved in an energetic posture with forceful muscles, shows the Tang dynasty balance between naturalism and formalism.

From the Chinese collection.

Gateway Tile from the Tomb Compound of Prince Ding, a Son of the Qianlong Emperor

The colorful tile once adorned the main gate on the tomb compound of Prince Ding (1728-1750) in the northwest suburban area of Beijing, China.

From the Chinese collection.

Stele of Shakyamuni Buddha

In 569, a Buddhist priest raised funds from 200 local devotees to make this stele as an act of their faith.

From the Chinese collection.

Liu Guandao Whiling Away the Summer

The last private owner of this handscroll was C. C. Wang (Wang Jiqian, 1907-2003), a Chinese-born artist and collector whose great painting collection helped to shape the taste of American connoisseurs.

From the Chinese collection.


This sculpture from a pair of winged beasts safely guarded the entrance of a tomb against intrusion to ensure that the journey to afterlife was unimpeded.

From the Chinese collection.


Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty ordered his workmen to cut out a leaf-shaped reserve from the blue glaze of this 12th century Jun ware and inscribe a poetic title with his name to demonstrate his appreciation of classic ceramics.

From the Chinese collection.

Architectural Reliquary

This reliquary was built with many symbolic motifs. For example, the tufted diamonds on the balustrade symbolize good fortune and the fungus, called ruyi in Chinese, on the foundation stones are for immortality.

From the Chinese collection.

Bronze Fitting

The beautifully cast lines, planes, curves and points on this pair of fittings compose an amusing design of intertwining dragons, birds and monkeys.

From the Chinese collection.

Kang Couch

Superbly crafted in huanghuali wood, this couch could serve either as a relaxing daybed or as a more formal reception platform on which to greet guests.

From the Chinese collection.

Tomb Model of a House

This model of a house gives us an idea of how buildings from that time were constructed, including the system of brackets and beams that was the primary support of a massive roof in traditional wooden architecture.

From the Chinese collection.

Zhou Chen The North Sea

This dramatic scene, in which a gentleman serenely gazes out over the stormy sea from his secluded retreat, reputedly inspired architect Steven Holl’s vision of the Museum’s Bloch Building.

From the Chinese collection.

Vairocana and Eight Bodhisattvas

This wooden shrine carved with an assembly of Buddhist deities was designed to be folded, and carried by a pilgrim as an aid to worship or use as a protective device when travelling along the hostile desert of the Silk Road.

From the Chinese collection.

Round Container with Lid

One of the earliest lacquer wares in the museum collection, this round container is cleverly comprised of two bowls, one inverted on top of the other to serve as a lid.

From the Chinese collection.


Found in a cave shrine in the high cliffs of Yixian, Hebei province, China in the 1910s, this Luohan remains a mystery as to who was his creator and why he was placed on a remote altar.

From the Chinese collection.


Immortality is the theme of this mirror decoration, where a goddess known as the ruler of the immortal realm poses with her four attendants.

From the Chinese collection.

Bullock Cart

This bullock cart is a miniature of a mode of transportation that was commonly used by aristocrats during the first millennium C.E.

From the Chinese collection.

Folding Armchair

This folding chair was used by an official or scholar during outdoor outings and travel.

From the Chinese collection.

Xu Daoning Fisherman's Evening Song

In Beijing in the 1930s, an agent for the Museum acquired this painting from a runner of the former imperial family, who knocked on his door at midnight and asked for money in exchange for the scroll.

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