One of the most powerful civilizations of the ancient world, China’s Han dynasty achieved profound cultural and artistic influence, technological advancements and military might. Two thousand years later, discoveries of royal tombs allow us to glimpse these extraordinary accomplishments firsthand.
Emulating their grand palaces, Han royals built lavishly furnished tombs so that, in the afterlife, no need would go unmet. Daily utensils, kitchen vessels, royal symbols, weaponry and even toiletries were all accounted for. And the nobility spared no expense preserving the tools of earthly pleasures — food, music, wine, sex — in anticipation of an afterlife to surpass this world.
On view for the first time in the U.S., 100 rare selections from recent excavations — including a jade coffin, rare bronze bells, elaborate crafts and much more — share the extravagance, artistry and elegance of Han royal clans.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.