New exhibition recreates nomadic art of North China

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The exhibition “Hunters, Warriors, Spirits: Nomadic Art of North China” tells the story of the nomads.
The exhibition “Hunters, Warriors, Spirits: Nomadic Art of North China” tells the story of the nomads.

The Indra and Harry Banga Gallery at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) presents the new exhibition “Hunters, Warriors, Spirits: Nomadic Art of North China” from 23 July until 23 October. It tells the story of the nomads through the diverse lenses of archaeology, art history, and anthropology.

The exhibition features over 250 artworks from the early 1st millennium B.C.E. to the “golden age” between the 10th and 13th centuries C.E. These include everyday objects and weapons from the early nomads of northern China, such as the Orochen, Xiongnu, Xianbei, and Rouran, presenting not only the ideal relationship between humans and nature but also the nomads’ superb arts and artisanship. 

In his welcoming speech at the opening ceremony on 22 July, Professor Matthew Lee Kwok-on, CityU’s Vice-President (Development and External Relations), thanked Mr Hing Chao, Founder of the Orochen Foundation; Dr Isabelle Frank, Consulting Curator to the Indra and Harry Banga Gallery; and Ms Betty Lo, a renowned collector of Chinese Art, for making this exhibition possible.

Professor Lee said that since its establishment in 2016, the Indra and Harry Banga Gallery has been dedicated to organising exhibitions that integrate art, science and technology. “The gallery is committed to engaging the community, sparking creativity and imagination, and promoting cultural education. We will continue to bring many more cutting-edge exhibitions that excite and inspire,” he said. 

Mr Chao said that he had been concerned about the cultural conservation of ethnic minorities in northern China for over 20 years and had organised several large-scale exhibitions on nomadic art. The collaboration with CityU in this exhibition had now brought his idea to a higher level. “We hope audiences will enjoy the world-class exhibits and the exciting new media exhibits at the Indra and Harry Banga Gallery,” he said.

Professor Lee (right) thanks the curator team for making this exhibition possible; while Mr Chao states CityU has brought his idea of cultural conservation of the ethnic minorities in northern China to a higher level.
Professor Lee (right) thanks the curator team for making this exhibition possible; while Mr Chao states CityU has brought his idea of cultural conservation of the ethnic minorities in northern China to a higher level.

The exhibition takes visitors back to the nomadic age 1,000 years ago. Showcasing the fabulous Mongolian deer stone animation created by the Centre for Applied Computing and Interactive Media (ACIM) at CityU, the exhibition recreates the serene yet mysterious forests of North China. What’s more, visitors can enjoy interacting with CityU’s new media artworks, including two original shaman costumes presented in 3D, as well as an iDome projection of a monumental 5th-century Buddha from the Yungang Grotto. 

The exhibition presents the nomadic lives of North China in six parts:

  1. The Orochen: A rare display of daily items such as costumes and birch bark boxes and suitcases of the Orochen, who are known as “the last hunters of China’s northern forest”.
  2. Hunters and Animals: Displays the development of nomadic art based on a vocabulary of animal motifs and design.
  3. The Early Nomads – Xiongnu and Xianbei: Showcase Xiongnu and Xianbei’s decorated gear and superb art.
  4. Warriors: Displays rare armoury used by nomadic warriors, including the decorated shafted Yue-axe with a circular bronze blade, the most ancient object in the exhibition.
  5. Empires: A display of the cultural exchanges along the Silk Road influenced by the empires established by nomads.
  6. The Spiritual World: Exhibits nomads’ outstanding Buddhist artisanship, such as a gold headdress with Buddhist ornaments.

The exhibition also features 18 contemporary sculptures by Buryat master Dashi Namdakov, photography by Marc Progin, and animations by June Zhang.

Details of “Hunters, Warriors, Spirits: Nomadic Art of North China” exhibition:
Date: 23 July – 23 October 2022 (Open daily, except Mondays)
Time: 10am – 7pm
Venue: Indra and Harry Banga Gallery, 18/F, Lau Ming Wai Academic Building
Admission: Free of charge, prior booking is required

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