Vase with Revolving Core and Eight-Trigram Design, Qing dynasty, reign of the Qianlong emperor, 1735–96

Vase with Revolving Core and Eight-Trigram Design, Qing dynasty, reign of the Qianlong emperor, 1735–96, porcelain with golden glaze and appliquéd sculpture, National Palace Museum, Taipei. Image © National Palace Museum

HOUSTON— The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, opens Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, a major exhibition of more than 160 works of art from the renowned collections of the National Palace Museum, Taipei. The exhibition features a unique selection of paintings, calligraphy, bronzes, and decorative arts, such as porcelain, textiles, enamels, and jade, and will be on view in Houston from October 23, 2016, to January 29, 2017. As of September 21, the closing date is a change from the original date of January 22, 2017. 

Co-organized by the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the National Palace Museum, Taipei, the exhibition is composed of treasures that have rarely been displayed outside of Taipei. Highlights include a white pottery vase from the 11th century, a supreme example of the art of the Chinese potter; landscape paintings by court artists of the 12th century; a calligraphy by the Emperor Huizong in his distinctive style; a “chicken cup” produced in the mid-Ming period, for centuries the most sought after of all porcelain wares on account of its superb quality; fine silk tapestries little known outside China; and the Qianlong emperor’s box of small treasures.

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Half-Portraits of Emperor Xuande and Empress Zhang, Ming dynasty, 1368–1644, album leaf: ink and color on paper, National Palace Museum, Taipei. Image © National Palace Museum

Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, commented, “We are grateful to the National Palace Museum, Taipei, and the Asian Art Museum for making this exhibition possible. The collections of imperial treasures housed at the National Palace Museum, Taipei, are unmatched in rarity and scope, and we are thrilled to be able to provide Houston audiences with the special opportunity to experience these remarkable objects in person.”

“The artworks and objects displayed in Emperors’ Treasures celebrate the cultural contributions of these significant imperial rulers, illustrating their roles as distinguished patrons of art, and often, as gifted artists,” added James Watt, consulting curator and curator emeritus of the department of Asian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “The exhibition exposes visitors to the art of this important period, including many works and objects never before seen in the U.S.” 

Vase with Flying Dragon, Ming dynasty, reign of the Yongle emperor, 1403-24

Vase with Flying Dragon, Ming dynasty, reign of the Yongle emperor, 1403–24, porcelain with cobalt­-blue underglaze, National Palace Museum, Taipei. Image © National Palace Museum.