Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei brings to Houston masterpieces that highlight the artistic and cultural contributions of imperial rulers in China, from the Song dynasty to the Qing dynasty. More than 160 works of art from the National Palace Museum offer a unique selection of paintings, bronzes, calligraphy, and decorative arts, including porcelain, textiles, enamels, and jade.
The exhibition presents examples of the finest craftsmanship and imperial taste, exploring the roles that eight emperors and one empress—who ruled between the early-12th-century Song dynasty and the early-20th-century Qing dynasty—had in the establishment and development of new artistic directions through the masterpieces they collected, commissioned, and in some cases created. Emperors' Treasures outlines how Chinese art came to evolve and flourish under Han Chinese, Mongol, and Manchu rulers.
These remarkable objects have rarely been displayed outside of Taipei. Selections include an 11th-century white pottery vase that is a supreme example of the art of the Chinese potter; landscape paintings by court artists of the 12th century; a calligraphy by the Emperor Huizong in his distinctive style; a “chicken cup” produced in the mid-Ming period, for centuries the most sought after of all porcelain wares because of its superb quality; fine silk tapestries little known outside of China; and the Qianlong emperor's box of small treasures.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, features artworks from the renowned National Palace Museum, Taipei. It encompasses paintings, calligraphy, bronzes, ceramics, lacquer ware, jades, and textiles exemplifying the finest craftsmanship and imperial taste. The Chinese art book explores the identities of eight Chinese rulers—seven emperors and one empress—who reigned from the early 12th through early 20th centuries. They are portrayed in a story line that highlights artworks of their eras, from the dignified Song to the coarse yet subtle Yuan, and from the brilliant Ming until the final, dazzling Qing period. Emperors' Treasures examines each ruler's distinct contribution to the arts and how each developed his or her aesthetic and connoisseurship.