Gown of Clouds and Rainbow

By Liu Yang, Ph.D., Minneapolis Institute of Arts

 
Thus is the account of the spiritual beings’ clothing, described in The Lord of the East, a poem written by the great Chinese poet Qu Yuan (340–278 BCE) and translated by Stephen Owen. Ever since, in China a beautiful piece of clothing has often been described as a “gown of cloud and rainbow.” The same laudatory description can be appropriately applied to the magnificent costumes and jewelry of the Miao people from southwest China.
 
A selection of about fifteen Miao costumes and seventy objects from a group of 1,200 purchased in 2004 will be on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) from June 1, 2013, through Jan. 30, 2014, in an exhibit titled “Gown of Cloud and Rainbow: Miao Costumes and Jewelry from Southwest China.” 

By Ignacy Broclawski

The term “Chinese Pop” first appeared in China in the 1920s. In those days, it was used by the residents of Shanghai to describe many varieties of contemporary music being produced in China.

With China emerging in the 21st century as a world player in the world of the performing arts, the Chinese pop genre began to spread. Today, new subgenres have developed, including Cantopop or HK pop in Hong Kong. There are also Hokkien pop and Mando pop in Taiwan.

Exhibition of Paul Singer Collection Marks New Beginning for Research in Ancient Chinese Art

On view through July 17

Renowned for his passionate dedication to ancient Chinese material culture, collector Dr. Paul Singer (1904-1997) built an expansive collection of some 5000 objects, once displayed in its entirety in his modest two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey. The selection of 63 works in "One Man's Search for Ancient China: The Paul Singer Collection," on view Jan. 19-July 7 at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, provides a glimpse into Singer's seven decades of work in ancient Chinese art.

Singer's collection, most of which has never been on public view, reflects an enormous range of artifacts produced by ancient Chinese cultures. Although it includes masterworks appreciated for their beauty, its greatest value resides in the large number of minor pieces–from objects of personal adornment to ceramics and weaponry–that form an almost encyclopedic reference for archaeological study.

"The Singer collection fills in many gaps in the story of early China," said J. Keith Wilson, exhibition curator and curator of ancient Chinese art at the Freer and Sackler galleries. "Objects such as these are found in few museum collections, but they contribute greatly to our understanding and study of thousands of years of history."

 

October 28, 2012, through January 20, 2012

An exhibition of rare works of art from one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of our time arrives at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) this fall. “China’s Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy” features more than 120 astonishing objects excavated from the magnificent tomb complex of Qin Shihuang (259–210 BCE) and other sites, now housed in more than 13 Chinese museums. Chief among these works are ten examples of the “Ghost Warriors,” terracotta sculptures meant to protect the Emperor in the afterlife.

In 1974, Chinese farmers were drilling a well in a location almost one mile from the First Emperor’s tomb mound in the present-day Shaanxi. They were astonished to discover fragments of terracotta figures. Shortly thereafter, Chinese archaeologists excavated three pits containing more than 7,000 terracotta warriors of different ranks, together with horses and chariots. The works of art have been subsequently shown in Chinese museums, and several touring exhibitions, but the excavation continues and new finds are emerging every day. Unlike previous exhibitions, which focused primarily on the terracotta army, “China’s Terracotta Warriors” emphasizes the importance of the most recent archaeological discoveries from the tomb complex and other sites. Artifacts in the exhibition, excavated in 2005, include a group of four bronze water birds--a crane, a swan, and two geese--all life size.

By Greg Hugh, Staff Writer

Cast of FOB, (L to R), Maxwell Thao, Katie Bradley  and Yefei JinHennepin County Library celebrated Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month last month by holding its Spice & Slice series of events at selected libraries throughout its system.  The series was produced in collaboration with Mu Performing Arts which presented a number of interactive and humor-laced productions which highlighted the “good, the bad and the truly ugly” of the Asian American experience.

The series included the premiere of American Bamboo and other productions such as Japanese Taiko, FOB, Hmong Tiger Tales and Korean Adoptee Stories.

Unbeknownst to this writer who decided to attend the performance of FOB, this was a play written by David Henry Hwang in 1978, which earned an Obie award in 1980. Since then, Hwang has risen to prominence as a preeminent Asian American dramatist.

The play’s title, FOB, is explained by the character Dale in the first lines: “F-O-B. Fresh Off the Boat. F.O.B.,” which are also the play’s closing lines. Dale continues his speech by describing the characteristics of F.O.B.’s, Asian people who are recent immigrants to the United States. He calls them “clumsy, ugly, greasy” and “loud, stupid, four-eyed.” Dale himself is an A.B.C., an “American Born Chinese,” and traditionally the relationship between A.B.C.’s and F.O.B.’s has been anything but pleasant.

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CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

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