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Cleveland Museum of Art to Spotlight the Cultural Influence of China’s Jiangnan Region

Showcasing works dating back to the Neolithic age.

The Cleveland Museum of Art will unveil a new exhibition that shines a light on China’s Jiangnan region, which has served as a cultural powerhouse for the nation, producing many commodities closely associated to China, including jade and silk. Entitled China’s Southern Paradise: Treasures from the Lower Yangzi Delta, the show will include over 200 artworks loaned from seven institutions across mainland China, as well as works from a number of public and private collections from around the world.

Some of the objects on view date back to the Neolithic period (4300 BC down to 2000 BC), such as carbonized grains of rice from China’s Tianluoshan site, believed to be the area where the first rice was cultivated anywhere on Earth. The exhibition continues up until the 18th century, tracking how Jiangnan began to shape China’s artistic production, and by extension, cultural image, through a range of artifacts and artworks, from jade, silk and porcelain, to paintings, prints, and bamboo carvings.

“The structure of the exhibition is composed of many, many narratives – not just one,” said Cleveland Museum of Art curator, Clarissa von Spee. “The Jiangnan region began to prosper through great waves of migration. The structure of its art and culture and history is shaped by these waves of migration, which occurred regularly across hundreds of years when the north was occupied and pushed migrants toward this region.”

At the core of the exhibition is a belief that art can as a way to mend cultures, such as the geo-political tensions currently experienced between the United State and China. “When we better understand each other and our cultures, that triggers respect,” von Spee added.

“Once you learn more and know each other better, you have more respect for each other. Especially now, as the US and China have a strained relationship, culture is our resource to transcend this tension. There’s nothing better than having an exhibition that counters biased ideas. I do know that our partners in China see it the same way; the museums are very excited to have this partnership and exchange.”

China’s Southern Paradise: Treasures from the Lower Yangzi Delta opens on September 10 and will run through January 7, 2024.

Elsewhere, Pace has announced a new permanent gallery space in Tokyo.

Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44106

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