‘Mirroring China’s Past’: Bronze Age comes to Chicago in new exhibit

China 24

China’s Bronze Age makes it to modern-day Chicago. A new exhibit is combining Chinese art and history going back millennia.

CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.

The Art Institute of Chicago’s latest attraction puts China in the spotlight.

Mirroring China’s Past: Emperors and Their Bronzes” features some 180 works, many coming from China’s Bronze Age about 4,000 years ago.

Some are exquisitely decorated vessels used to carry sacrificial offerings for burial, or to commemorate family at public ceremonies.

The exhibit’s curator Tao Wang spent two years bringing the exhibition together.

“The bronzes from the Bronze Age of China, and that period, they really were the best in the world,” curator Tao Wang said. “In terms of technology, in terms of art, in terms of the significance to the culture, to the society… they are the best.”

Beginning with the Song Dynasty, the works became collectable and symbolic items for emperors. They began collecting them as evidence of their own authority and legitimacy as rulers.

The curators hope the exhibit, which runs through May, will bring visitors closer to China’s art and history, as well as underline its continuing influence today.

Lu Zhang, a co-curator for the exhibition, expects it to leave a deep impression on visitors.

“We really wanted to make this as down to earth as possible,” Lu said. “You see in the gallery, we have different type of digital element, the intro film, the film showing the rubbing technique. We hope that we can really help people here understand more about the Chinese culture and the history and its art.”

For many of the visitors, that message already appears to be hitting home.

“I really want to see more of this kind of stuff,” one visitor said. “I am Chinese, and I should know more about this. I hope this will help me to go in another direction and learn more about the ancient art of China.”

The historical importance of these works is undeniable, but the aim of this exhibition is to bring a greater appreciation to a whole new generation.