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Volume 38 – Number 6

Sep 2007


The Shi Wang Ding: A Western Zhou Vessel in The Art Institute of Chicago
Buddhist Sculptures from the Forest of Steles, Xi'an
The Xiangtangshan Caves Project
Konoe Nobutada and Otagaki Rengetsu
Liao Textiles from the Abegg-Stiftung

Liao period (916-1125)
Silk and hemp fibre
Abegg-Stiftung (inv. no. 5250)

The four features on Chinese art  
focus on new research and findings in bronzes, textiles and Buddhist sculptures. Jay Xu's article on a ding in the AIC and Nancy Steinhardt's on Liao textiles in the Abegg-Stiftung show how museums and institutions - despite limitations often imposed by funding and bureaucracy - can still make selective acquisitions that significantly enhance their holdings and further understanding of the field. An exhibition at the China Institute and an ongoing project at the University of Chicago reveal that extraordinary creativity that accompanied the flowering of Buddhism during the Northern Qi and Northern Zhou periods. Annette Juliano introduces unpublished images - many archaeologically retrieved - from the Beilin Museum in Xi'an, and Katherine Tsiang discovers sculptures in US and Japanese collections that once stood in the cave-temple site of Xiantangshan.
Living almost three centuries apart, Konoe Nobutada and Otagaki Rengetsu represented opposites in Japanese soceity - a man and a woman, a courtier and a nun. Yet, as revealed by Audrey Seo and Sandra Sheckter, the paintings of Nobutada and the ceramics of Rengetsu possessed the quintessential Japanese aesthetics of eschewing ordinary beauty.
Auction reports from Beijing, London, Hong Kong and Paris chart the bullish Asian art market. With the onset of the busy autumn, we bring previews of fairs and gallery shows.
In her commentary, Elaine Kwok explores the ironic phenomenon of how interst in the West in contemporary Chinese art may have stimulated the domestic market.
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