It will be the first time when the collection of the Shanghai Museum will be demonstrated in the Moscow Kremlin Museums. The exhibition is dedicated to the Ming dynasty epoch (1368–1644), one of the most vivid pages in the wealthiest heritage of China. Experts call that period – the "extension of knowledge", as the interest in art, literature and music, intimate knowledge of philosophical and historical tractates becomes a real cult. This very body of knowledge and interests is known as “scholarship” in China.
Not only aristocrats, but also artists in different spheres of art were highly educated people and connoisseurs of art of the earlier periods. Sources of inspiration for them were mainly works of the masters of the Tang (618–907) and Song (960–1279) dynasties, which were perceived as a peak of refinement and exquisite style. Wonderful pieces of art that will be demonstrated in the exhibition halls of the Moscow Kremlin Museums will make it possible for visitors to get acquainted with almost all aspects for which Ming culture is renowned—porcelain, paintings, stone carving and furniture.
The Shanghai Museum is the owner of a unique collection of Ming furniture. On display will be a “cabinet of man of education”, which will represent various items of furniture, i.e. armchair, table for calligraphy and incense stand, shelf for keeping books and scrolls, distinguished for their beautiful lines, superb and high-quality carving on wood. In addition to furniture, there will be examples of so-called in China “cabinet treasures”, namely elegant inkslabs, vessels for dissolving ink, brush stands, etc.
Undoubtedly, the hallmark of the Ming era was porcelain. It was then that the masters developed wonderful coloured glaze and the technology of overglaze painting. Also it was the time when new techniques of lacquer carving and cloisonne enamel originated.
Ming painting is noted for both skilful refinement and reform spirit. The display demonstrates two scroll paintings by prominent artists of that period. They are the ‘Snow Landscape’ by Wen Boren and ‘Peony, Banana Leaves and Stones’ by Xu Wei.
A separate part of the exposition is dedicated to archaeological artifacts, viz the rarest jewellery and a unique set of china statuettes of an honorary escort from the tomb of the imperial family members.
The display is aimed at familiarizing Russian viewer with a genuine cultural phenomenon, a profound intellectual world of a man of education in Imperial China through the example of magnificent exhibits of one of the best Chinese museums—the Shanghai Museum.
This catalogue accompanies the exhibition "Ming Dynasty: The Radiance of Knowledge" hold at the Moscow Kremlin Museums (April-July 2018) and presenting over a hundred and fifty items from the Shanghai Museum. Four sections of the publication offer most characteristic and vivid aspects of Ming culture. The "Scholar's Studio" section introduces the key "treasures" of the man of education of the Ming dynasty (1348-1644); the "Passion for Antiquity" tells about imitating the finest pieces of art dating back to more ancient times. The third section called "Porcelain Pleiad of the Ming Dynasty" is related to the art of porcelain which flowered at that time; and the "Treasures Discovered in Ming Tombs" allows us to get acquainted with a fascinating set of statuettes of an honorary escort, comprising sixty six figures. The catalogue is of interest to both specialists and wide audience of amateurs of Chinese culture. Price: 2,000 RUB.