Well, if I thought my project took a long time, I can't even begin to image the time it took to create the pieces we saw at the VMFA "Forbidden City" exhibit. This exhibit was filled with things unlike anything I'd ever seen before, giant decorative scrolls and elegant vases carved from jade and books filled with not only the artfully crafted Chinese characters, but small, careful drawings as well. Every inch of each work of art was carefully crafted and designed, covered with so much detail there was always something more to look at! I diversity of the pieces in the exhibit ranged from clothing carefully laced with gold threads to create intricate designs to carefully carved instruments used in Chinese imperial courts. I absolutely loved it!
One of the most interesting things I learned during the exhibit was the influence of Western traditions on the Chinese, and how this caused the art to change over time. As I went through the exhibit, I soon became able to notice different Western influences, such as the positions and actions of the figures in paintings, the type of materials used, and much more. It was so incredible to see hundreds of pieces of art that were all made over the span of a couple hundred years, yet how dramatically they all changed in such a short time. As Western influence grew in China, the art became more modernized and often technical, however there were still important aspects of Chinese art that continued to be prevalent, things such as religious symbols, important characters, and much more.
I absolutely loved this exhibit! I actually went back on Black Friday (it beats mall lines for sure!) and spent even more time in the exhibit to try and learn more. I hope to go back again before the exhibit leaves, but I'm so glad for the opportunity to see these amazing works of art.