Top in New York. The Chu Sculptures. GALERIE JACQUES BARRERE. Asia Week 2014. March 14 – 22 2014. If you have the chance, don’t miss this show Yareah friends. It’s worth!
The art of the Chu Kingdom (4 – 3 century BC) reveals a rather unknown aspect of Chinese civilisation, which has only been exhibited in a few major museums until today. Mainly of carved or lacquered wood, the sculptures of the Chu Kingdom are the witness of a rich and complex culture, of vanished beliefs which provide a vision of a 2500-year-old ancient art. The old Chu Kingdom originally covered today’s provinces of Hunan, Hubei and part of Anhui. Shamanism and cults played a large role in the daily life of tribes: the two main concerns being the art of war and the practice of rituals. The Chu people lived and died surrounded by « spirits », thus the importance of funereal ceremonies explains the variety of objects found in tombs.
The lacquered wood sculptures recreate the material and spiritual environment in which the deceased wished to be in the afterlife. Consequently creatures such as phoenix and chimeras, monkeys or ducks, concubines and servants, appreciated for their beauty or simply for their symbolic meaning were often produced. The technique of direct carving gave a strong expressiveness to the sculptures, enhancing their sacred character and bringing eternity to their last owner.
The Art of Lacquer
Although well-known in the West since the 17 century, the art of lacquer is still rather mysterious. The first traces of lacquer appeared in China at the end of the Neolithic period, and is considered, along with silk, as the most emblematic symbols of the Chinese culture.
Commonly, the beauty of lacquer usually refers to Ming dynasty Cormandel objects, although its tradition commences at the time of ancient Chinese dynasties. The first important phase of development spread from the Warring States (475 – 221 BC) period to the end of the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), when lacquered and wood sculptures started to replace bronzes both in ritual and daily life objects.
This exhibition presents a selection of exceptional wood carving works of art from the Chu Kingdom to the early Han dynasty.
Jacques Barrère gallery, Asia Week New-York, March 14 – 22
Exhibition at: Trinity House, 24 East 64th Street, New York 10065.