Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) stands in the center of modern Chinese history. Although a notorious politician, Cixi was also a connoisseur, patron and even creator of art in the early twentieth century.
This exhibition is the first of its kind in the United States to explore the empress dowager’s roles beyond politics. It has been organized through a groundbreaking partnership with the Summer Palace Museum in Beijing. Upon viewing this exhibition, it will become clear that Cixi not only led politics, but also art of China at the crossroads of tradition and innovation. The exhibition reconstructs the matriarch’s everyday life in the Summer Palace, presenting her multi-faceted roles of politician, matriarch and connoisseur of various arts through four different sections and over 100 objects that have never before been seen in the United States.
Open to the public since 2001, the Chen Art Gallery displays an impressive array of over 1,000 artifacts spanning 5000 years of Chinese history from the earliest Neolithic Era pottery to early 20th Century creations. Permanent exhibition galleries include a sumptuous Qing dynasty imperial throne room, an elegant Ming dynasty bedroom, scholar’s studio treasures, jade carvings, snuff bottles, cloisonné, gilt bronze Buddhist statues, ancient pottery, and several rooms of imperial porcelains. A total of over 15 exhibition rooms including the 2006 addition of silk and textiles.
The Asian Arts Council organizes bus trips to other Southern California institutions and arranges travel opportunities to other venues featuring Asian art.
Past bus trips have included docent-guided visits to the USC Pacific Asia Museum, the Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, Long Beach State Japanese Gardens and Art Museum, the Getty Center, the Bowers Museum and Scripps College. Other bus trips have included exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Norton Simon Museum.