Ancient jades and bronzes widely considered to be among the greatest treasures of Chinese art returned to public view at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art November 20, 2010. More than 100 works have been reinstalled in two newly renovated galleries after more than a decade in storage.
Chinese jade carvings and vessels cast from bronze are some of the oldest and most aesthetically and technically accomplished works of art ever created.
In the early 20th century, guided by personal taste and self-taught connoisseurship, Charles Lang Freer amassed a large number of Chinese objects that over time have come to epitomize the classic periods of Chinese art history.
The reinstallation of galleries 18 (Bronzes), and 19 (Jades), represents the first phase of a three-year plan to re-imagine the Freer's entire suite of six Chinese galleries.
The goal is to showcase major collections in redesigned spaces that reflect the founder's original focus on aesthetics and comparative study.
"Above all, we hope the return of the jades and bronzes will offer an invitation to our visitors to look closely and appreciate the quality and character of these extraordinary objects," said Keith Wilson, associate director and curator of ancient Chinese art.
"It is not an exaggeration to say that these collections represent some of the greatest moments in the history of Chinese art."
The Freer Gallery of Art possesses one of the finest and largest collections of ancient Chinese bronzes outside China. Representing all periods of the Bronze Age, the collection is particularly rich in products from metropolitan foundries of the late Shang (ca. 1500-1050 BCE) and early Western Zhou (ca. 1050-900 BCE) dynasties.
Copyright 2010 PROMETHEUS
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science, Nr. 162, December 2010