Exhibition of Court Arts from China’s Ming Dynasty in St. Louis, Feb. 22 to May 17, 2009

February 21, 2009

Ming Dynasty opulence

Ming Dynasty opulence

“The Daily Sauce,” an e-mail blast each day by Sauce Magazine, the premiere tabloid of St. Louis dining and cooking arts, included the following this week:

We like grandeur. We like opulence. And since China ’s Ming Dynasty, which spanned from 1368 to 1644, is known for both, we’re game to learn more.

That’s why we’ll be first in line to check out Power and Glory: Court Arts from China’s Ming Dynasty, which opens Sunday at the Saint Louis Art Museum . The Ming era boasted an artistic boom of the highest caliber, in part because of the quality guidelines set for all items used at court. Emperors and other notable figures contributed to the artful legacy as well by crafting impressive works of their own.

After feasting your eyes on the Backgammon Board with Lions and Hair Ornament with Gemstones, take a long look at the Portrait of Prince Zhu Youyuan in Ceremonial Uniform. All three are a good start to satisfying one’s grandeur and opulence quota for quite some time.

What: Power and Glory: Court Arts from China ’s Ming Dynasty

When: Feb. 22 to May 17: Tue. to Sun. – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fri. – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Saint Louis Art Museum , 1 Fine Arts Drive , Forest Park

Cost: $10 for adults, $8 for students. $6 for children (Free on Fridays)

Info: 314.721.0072 or www.slam.org

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One Response to “Exhibition of Court Arts from China’s Ming Dynasty in St. Louis, Feb. 22 to May 17, 2009”

  1. donnajgamache Says:

    Oh, my!

    Last night I went to see this exhibition with my husband and two co-workers, both born in China, and one’s lovely spouse. This exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM)is free on Fridays, and it’s a good thing. One time through it is not enough time to absorb the information and appreciate the collection brought together from the museums that put this traveling exhibition together.

    Even though the exhibition is free on Fridays at SLAM, you do need a “timed ticket” to go through it. If you are on a budget (as I am) go to the information desk at SLAM in the main hall (called “Sculpture Hall” to get yours without a service charge. If you have unlimited funds, you can order them through a ticketing service with a service charge.)

    The timed tickets keep a reasonable amount of people in the galleries at any one time, so you can get right up to the display cases and take time to read the text for each piece and reflect on what you are seeing.

    Every piece in the exhibition is/was arresting; however, some of the most astonishing items were the simple forms, such as the porcelain glazed bowls that are as “perfect,” i.e., fine, as anything machine made, yet created by the hand of one individual more than 300 or possibly as much as 600 years ago.

    Going through an exhibition of Chinese artifacts like this humbles me in the extreme. I have a fascination (and passion) for Chinese culture, as well as French culture and that of Ireland (the land of my ancestors.) The history of my country of birth (the USA) is a fourth point on that “rectangle” of history and culture that commands my attention.

    To me, these four are the maximum of the foundational cultures of the world that I can study, compare and contrast–ancient, historic, old and new. There are certainly others, but I have only so much time and brain capacity, and those are the four that I try to study and absorb across time. This covers large areas of Asia, Europe and the Americas, and it’s probably a stretch for me to try and “understand” this small amount of cultural history from three of the world’s continents.

    I will continue, to my dying day.


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