Homage to the ancestors

ritual art from the Chu kingdom

In ancient China, ritual ensured the power of the state and social cohesion. Banquets were offered to the ancestors and heavenly deities, with elaborate bronzes used to hold food and wine and musical instruments playing an important role.

Art Exhibition previously on at Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia.
From Friday 04 February 2011 to Tuesday 26 April 2011

Lacquered dou vessel with cover image Wine set comprising ewer (jian) and bowl (fou) image

Published by Art Gallery of New South Wales on Saturday 29 January 2011.
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The items used in these ceremonies were commonly placed in their owner’s tomb after death to provide the person in the afterlife with the same material environment they’d enjoyed while living.

This exhibition features some 70 stunning ritual objects from one particular region and time – the ancient Chu kingdom in the Warring States period (481-221 BCE). Most are from the treasure-filled tombs of the Marquis Yi of Zeng and an anonymous aristocrat at Jiuliandun, which rank among the most astonishing discoveries ever made in Chinese archaeology.

Drawn from the holdings of the Hubei Provincial Museum, the superb artefacts include bronze vessels, musical instruments, lacquer wares and jades, many demonstrating an artistic perfection and a technological sophistication unparalleled anywhere in the ancient world.

Homage to the ancestors complements the Gallery’s major exhibition The First Emperor: China’s entombed warriors, together providing an insight into two essential aspects of the Chinese state more than two millennia ago – ritual and war.

The exhibition has been organised to coincide with the City of Sydney 2011 Chinese New Year Festival in conjunction with the Chinese government and Hubei province.