Past Exhibitions

Emperor and Literati: Painting and Calligraphy from Ming Dynasty


With the closure of The Era of Brilliant Stars – Masters from Early Qing Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy Special Exhibition, the first of a series of exhibitions featuring ancient Chinese art and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Long Museum, we now present Emperor and Literati – Painting and Calligraphy from Ming Dynasty, which would put on view seminal painting and calligraphy works from the Ming Dynasty within the collection of mine and my husband Mr. Liu Yiqian, founder of the museum.

Throughout the history of China, Ming Dynasty was the most powerful, playing a leading role in the world in terms of military strength, political power, economy, trade, culture and arts. With the early period of Ming Dynasty (from the founding emperor to Emperor Yongle) laying a solid foundation for the empire’s longstanding stability and prosperity, a global trading and tributary system centering the Ming empire was established. In the meantime, as more and more countries got to learn more about Chinese culture through the Ming empire, they became so attracted and actively built cultural exchanges with the Ming Dynasty. All these further contributed to the strength and glory of the Ming Dynasty.

The exhibition features 83 pieces/groups of calligraphies, paintings and letters from the Ming Dynasty. These classic masterpieces constitute a brief yet vivid history of the art of Ming Dynasty, casting light on the core spirit of literati: “If poor, they attended to their own virtue in solitude; if advanced to dignity, they made the whole kingdom virtuous as well.” It was exactly such a spirit that the literati, despite the different choices they had made, held fast to.

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