On the Road with the Newark Museum: Curator Katherine Paul Explores the Treasures of China

June 10, 2013 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

Katherine Anne Paul, Curator of Arts of Asia at the Newark Museum, will be in China for two months.  She will be Tweeting during her visit and you can read her posts by following the Museum on Twitter @NewarkMuseum
This spectacular goldfish vase in the Shanghai Museum collection from the Yongzheng Period (1723-35) is a model for one in Newark's collection from the Qianlong Period (1736-95) that will be featured in the fall exhibition at Newark called "Ming to Modern: Elevating the Everyday in Chinese Art".

This spectacular goldfish vase in the Shanghai Museum collection from the Yongzheng Period is a model for one in Newark’s collection (pictured right) from the Qianlong Period that will be featured in our fall exhibition “Ming to Modern: Elevating the Everyday in Chinese Art”.

Celadon Dragon Vase—possibly fishbowl or planter  China, Qianlong Mark and Period (1736-95), Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)  Molded porcelain with celadon  Herman P. and Paul E. Jaehne Collection, Gift 1939?  39.221

Celadon Dragon
Vase, China,
Qianlong Mark and Period, Qing Dynasty
Molded porcelain with celadon
Herman P. and Paul E. Jaehne Collection, Gift 39.221

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not to be missed, brings me to China for the months of June and July 2013.  After arriving in Shanghai, I will spend three weeks in Hangzhou. Hangzhou is perhaps one of the world’s most beautiful cities features the West Lake around which are numerous museums and temples. The first time I visited Hangzhou, it reminded me of one of my favorite Swiss cities, Luzern. During my time in Hangzhou I will meet with staff from different museums about potential collaboration with the Newark Museum. I will also visit some private collectors.

In July I will fly to Dunhuang, to see the Mogao Grottos–a UNESCO World Heritage Site of 492 caves carved from the living rock near an oasis in Gansu corridor east of the Taklamakan Desert
I caught these peonies blooming in April at the Shanghai Botanical Gardens. Among these peonies were white and calico cats--just like in the 18th century painting we will feature in the fall exhibition "Ming to Modern: Elevating the Everyday in Chinese Art", see a detail of this large scale painting (measuring 4 feet by 6 feet) with the peonies and cats batting at butterflies.

I caught these peonies blooming in April at the Shanghai Botanical Gardens. Among these peonies were white and calico cats–just like in the 18th century painting we will feature in “Ming to Modern.”

and west of the Gobi Desert. The earliest cave was carved in the year 366 and they all preserve amazing murals and sculptures of Buddhist art unparalleled elsewhere in the world. The density of imagery is like a visit to the Vatican.

I am honored to meet with members of the Dunhuang Academy there on their exciting plans for improvements to their existing museum and anticipation of a new visitor’s center that will open soon. If you want to experience a glimpse of what two of the caves are like, but can’t come to China, visit the China Institute in New York for their current exhibition.  I am hopeful that a virtual visit to the caves may also be possible in future for Newark Museum visitors
A calico cat at the Shanghai Botanical Garden

A calico cat at the Shanghai Botanical Garden

through new filming intended for domed theaters like our own planetarium.

This work is made possible by the generous support not only of Newark Museum staff, and their willingness to work with me remotely from China, but also the Newark Museum trustees and particularly the Sheng family.
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