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‘Animal Style’ at the Penn Museum: Conceptualizing Portable Steppe Art and its Visual Rhetoric

Nestled in the desert sands of the Yellow river bend in north China, the Ordos region in today’s Inner Mongolia encompasses a cultural zone with a long history of intense cultural interaction. Once home to a mixture of nomadic and sedentary populations, it is now representative of China’s endeavours towards fast-paced urban development. The sparsely populated, skyscraper-filled Kangbashi district in the present-day city of Ordos boasts a large public square crowded with references to the region’s past. Monumental bronze sculptures illustrating visual narratives of the Mongol empire (1206–1368) define the spatial parameters, from images of the birth of Chinggis Khan (r. 1206–27) to the victories of his army across Eurasia.

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July/August 2020
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