Full Frame Podcast: Uncovering the mysteries of ancient Chinese art | Keith Wilson

Full Frame Podcasts

When archaeologists started excavations in Anyang, China in the 1920s, they found artifacts that had survived thousands of years buried in the ground. They included bronze pots, clay jars and jade jewelry. They also discovered the early stages of the Chinese writing system. 

Keith Wilson, curator at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, organized an exhibit featuring these objects in Washington, D.C.

The city of Anyang, which is about 300 miles south of Beijing, existed for just two centuries. But in that time, it grew to cover over 14 square miles, about half the size of Miami. The exhibition gives a glimpse into what life was like in ancient Anyang. 

One thing about Chinese material culture is that it’s all primarily functional objects. They’re made for use,” Wilson.” I think people are much more accustomed to ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean world. Ancient China … is still not as well-known. So I hope that through a project like this, people can see that China had this incredibly important prehistoric and historic culture.”