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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

The Past in the Present: Script and Archaism in Modern Chinese Art

(from 6th Oct 2010 until 27th Feb 2011)

Explore the influence of early Chinese writing and artefacts on the art of the twentieth century and beyond.

Detail of Peonies in a bronze vessel, China, 1903 (Museum No: EA2007.103)
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Introduction

The Chinese script that is in use everywhere today was developed about 2000 years ago. Its origins lie in inscriptions incised on oracles bones in the Shang dynasty (c.1600-1050 BC) and cast on bronzes in the Zhou dynasty (c.1050-221 BC). In the 21st century, calligraphers still write expressively with traditional brush and ink, and artists use characters as a medium to explore language as well as form.

From the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911) archaic forms of script, and the ancient ritual vessels associated with them, appear in paintings as part of a wider revival of scholarly interest in the antique. The paintings, prints and calligraphy in this exhibition show how early writing and artefacts appear in works of art throughout the 20th century and more recently.

Peonies in a bronze vessel, China, 1903 (Museum No: EA2007.103). © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Peonies in a bronze vessel, China, 1903 (Museum No: EA2007.103).
Chinese Paintings Gallery - Past in Present exhibition lower. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Chinese Paintings Gallery - Past in Present exhibition lower.   Chinese Paintings Gallery - Past in Present exhibition albums case. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Chinese Paintings Gallery - Past in Present exhibition albums case.   Chinese Paintings Gallery - Past in Present exhibition upper. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Chinese Paintings Gallery - Past in Present exhibition upper.

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Objects from past exhibitions may have now returned to our stores or a lender. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so please contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

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