Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks from Six Dynasty China, 3rd–6th Centuries

Exhibition Website

Sep 30 2016 - Mar 19 2017

China Institute

New York City, NY

The Six Dynasties period, from the 3rd to 6th centuries, was one of the most dynamic periods in Chinese art history, akin to the European Renaissance in the impact it had on artistic creativity and the celebration of individual expression. Over the past twenty years, archaeological excavations have unearthed extraordinary works of art, forever altering scholarly understanding of this chaotic, four-hundred-year period of political upheaval, geographical division and civil strife.

Not only was the Six Dynasties period a pivotal link in the historical timeline between the Han and Tang dynasties, but it is increasingly recognized for having laid the foundation for Chinese artistic standards, genres, subjects, and important themes that continue to define Chinese art today.

This exhibition will present the artistic innovations and achievements evidenced by recent archaeological findings from both the Southern and Northern Dynasties across four major disciplines: ceramics, sculpture, calligraphy and painting. Each of these disciplines provides a different glimpse into daily and ritual life during this time. Through instability came great artistic innovation, resulting in the emergence of enduring subjects, genres, and themes. This exhibition will highlight these lasting elements of Six Dynasties art, allowing visitors to see and better understand the trajectory of Chinese art that continues to today.

Credit: Exhibition overview from the China Institute website

Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog,

  • Asian
  • Chinese

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