The Masterpieces of China Art From Private Collections
The exhibition is dedicated to the works of Chinese decorative art and it not only reflects the tastes and preferences of the collectors, but also helps to search for and purchase the exotic curiosities.Interest to the East, and to China in particular, was born in the early 18th century, when the European royal and princely courts literally competed to acquire porcelain vases, carved and lacquered furniture, elegant trinkets made of stone and ivory. Post-Peter Russia also joined the process – until this time “China” meant individual ambassadorial gifts. In the West, trading ships of the East India Company brought a huge consignment of goods from the early 17th century. And only from Europe Oriental art was brought to Russia. Chinese decor for galleries, living rooms and studies was in fashion, thus initially large quantities of furniture and porcelain were in demand. But then the simple fashion was substituted by closer study of oriental art. Since the mid-19th century, the foreigners got the opportunity to visit China, and fashion “of East” captured the broadest sectors of society. There appeared many serious connoisseurs among collectors and gallery owners, began a new stage in the collecting - the formation of thematic collections and their systematization, which was followed by the acquisition of the scientific literature, which helped in the attribution of rarities. The exhibition includes the unique works of the 17th century: the bell, the jade sculpture of bull, porcelain vase with scenery. In general, predominate the works of 18-19 centuries. Exhibits are distributed in several thematic sections: porcelain, lacquer, jade, wood, cloisonne. Chinese porcelain, being an important source of state exports, has been actively exported to the West since the beginning of the 17th century. It carried out a coup in the tastes of Europeans, when the ardour for fine vessels turned into a real “porcelain-mania”. Nowadays, Chinese porcelain is still a desirable acquisition for many collectors. Kangxi works (1662-1722), with underglaze cobalt painting and overglaze enamels, are of special attention. Kangxi porcelain is characterized by a specific style of decor, high quality of cobalt and glaze. This porcelain is famous for its “painting on porcelain”, made by the finest brush that allows to create exquisite paintings on glazed porcelain. During the Kangxi, underglaze painting reaches new heights, both due to the masterful execution of the painting, and the use of high-quality cobalt, that gives unusually deep blue color after firing. Many collectors consider blue and white porcelain of this period the unrivaled top in ceramic production in China. They rightly point out not only the highest quality of porcelain of this period, but also a flight of fantasy of Chinese masters. Works with painted polychrome enamels are famous, too. The experts divide them into “families” - black, green and pink - on the basis of a combination of different enamel paints in the compositions.
Of great interest is the small group of jade works. In China, this noble stone has been appreciated and collected from ancient times. It is credited with magical and medicinal properties, it is also believed that the acquisition of jade products, even apart from its storyline base should already bring happiness and prosperity to the owner. The exhibits feature the main varieties of stone, different color, different technological and aesthetic approaches to its treatment. First of all, it is “overcoming of stone”, that is most clearly presented in the style of Qianlong period (1736-1796). The exquisite things, for the “table of the scientist”, often present deliberate simplicity, “naturalness”, based on the principles of “following the material”, where master uses the color of the stone and its natural inclusions.
Carved red lacquers (or “Beijing”) were designed mainly for domestic use. Moody material, time-consuming and lengthy manufacturing technology have made them a luxury accessory of the imperial court and aristocracy houses, and later - the wealthy people. Exquisite beauty of the relief decoration, noble shades of vermilion, and various forms of these products naturally complemented traditional Chinese decor. Old lacquer works are extremely rare on the antique markets in Europe and Russia and thus are highly sought after by connoisseurs and collectors of Oriental Art.
In recent years, the global gathering experiences a kind of “reappraisal of values”; it refers in the first place to the works of Kuomintang (or KMT) period, the 20-30s of the 20th century – there is a real “hunting” for them. In a number of works of this time are saved the best traditions of Chinese art – technological and artistic, but they are enriched by borrowings from European art, which suggests the national characteristics in “Chinese Art Deco” style. Among the highly artistic exhibits there are elephant sculpture, covered with “Turkish Blue” coating, composition “Lin Daiyu with a parrot”, made in the difficult technique of cloisonne mixed with filigree inserts and bones, etc.
The exhibited works are real masterpieces and could enrich any museum collection.
The curator of the section - Larisa Kuzmenko, Ph.D., Head of Department of Art of the Far East, Southeast Asia and Oceania, the State Museum of Oriental Art
2nd Floor of the Central House of Artists, Hall № 14B
Silk Route in Time. Chinese Jade From the Private Collection of Bronislaw Vinogrodsky
Silk Route is not just a trade route from China to foreign countries, but also a channel of communication inside the country, which has had a huge impact on the formation of the common values ??of Chinese civilization. For a long time, the main subject of trade on the Silk Route was jade and objects made from it.
Jade has been and remains the bearer of ideas and images of the ancient system of knowledge in the Chinese culture for more than five millennia. This system of knowledge is rooted in the minds of Chinese ethnicity ranging from Neolithic objects up to present day. To understand China, you need to understand the jade as a cultural phenomenon in time.
Each jade object bears not only aesthetic information, but certainly is a system of signs and symbols, thus every piece of jade is read and understood as a carrier of unique content - what are the values of the spirit, embodied in this amazing material. Through the study of jade objects one can correctly understand the path of evolution of ideas and cultural values ??in the minds of the Chinese people.
The exhibition promotes precisely this approach to jade. It is intended to show not only external beauty, but also the depth of the content of traditional cultural codes, that are still alive.
The exhibition features the unique artistic samples of stone carving by Chinese masters from the period of Warring States (V century - 221 BC) until the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), which, according to traditional Chinese “Bagua” scheme, should show the development of concepts and ideas of traditional Chinese thinking in time, as well as the art of processing of this precious stone.
The exhibition shows ??the diversity of jade objects - animals and ritual objects, amulets and Feng Shui items, interior items and luxury goods, as well as the development of stone carving art of the past two and a half thousand years. Also it presents the whole palette of natural jade from perfect white to deep black-green, used in the works of artists whose names the history, unfortunately, has not preserved, but their art still causes awe and delight in connoisseurs and professionals.
The curator of the section - Bronislaw Bronislavovich Vinogrodsky, Sinologist and translator, Chairman of the Russian part of the Expert Council of the Russian-Chinese Committee of Friendship, Peace and Development.
2nd Floor of the Central House of Artists, Hall № 15