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This edition: Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer

Episode Details

Original tape date: August 29, 2017.

The show features the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition "Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer, 14th to 19th Century". It explored thousands years Chinese lacquer art tradition.

Many art pieces on view were works created as birthday gifts, these gifts represented people's good wishes, its symbolic meaning and its culture background were also discussed. For example, peaches and pine tree leaves symbolized longevity; melon and pomegranate symbolized many kids and family prosperity, dragons are symbols for the emperors or emperor's power.

Cinnabar has long been used by ancient Chinese as red color pigment as well as medicine for longevity. Its poisonous nature is also revealed in the show.

The daily life scenes of ideal Chinese scholars were portrait in the art works, many were done by Ming and Qing imperial workshops, they represented the highest level of Chinese lacquer carving in different times. For example, a rare 14th century tray carved with two ladies and 33 children, it represented the Chinese wishes for a prosperous family.

The largest piece was a rare 19th century screen, it illustrated a Chinese legend Guo Ziyi's birthday party, with over 40 people in the scene, each of them was carved vividly.

Guest List

Pengliang Lu Henry A. Kissinger Curatorial Fellow, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Asian Art Deptartment