Hunters, Warriors, Spirits:
Nomadic Art of North China
The ancient nomads of North China were hunters, warriors, as well as traders, who facilitated the exchange of goods, technology, ideas, and the arts; most important, they were builders of empires. Living a highly mobile life, wedded to chasing game and herding flocks of animals, they left behind an expressive artistic legacy, showing men and beasts, predators and prey, culture and nature, interlocked in a perpetual cycle of life and death. Their world is vividly represented in their artistic heritage, imbued with a profound spirituality, and evoking an ideal relationship between humans and nature that is more relevant today than ever before.
This exhibition tells the story of the nomads, from their little-known origins in the early 1st millennium B.C.E. to their “golden age” between the 10th and 13th centuries C.E., with over two hundred and fifty art objects. To bring these objects to life, the narrative is presented through the diverse lenses of archaeology, art history, and anthropology, and placed within the broader context of cultural exchange across Eurasia.
In addition to the ancient objects, loaned in large part by the Mengdiexuan Collection, the exhibition includes contemporary sculptures by Buryat master Dashi Namdakov, photographs by Marc Progin, new media works by Jeffrey Shaw and Sarah Kenderdine, and animations by June Zhang.