Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou at China Institute Gallery, through November 12, 2017

“A rare shroud of precious stones designed to protect and glorify a king in the afterlife is on view at China Institute Gallery’s new exhibition, Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou. More than 76 objects originating from royal tombs dating from the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 8 CE) are exhibited in the U.S. for the first time. Ranging from terracotta performers to carved stone animal sculptures, the objects are extraordinary testimony to customs and beliefs surrounding life and death during the Western Han Dynasty, one of China’s golden eras.

“People during the Han Dynasty regarded death as birth and longed for immortality,” said Willow Weilan Hai, Director, China Institute Gallery. “To prepare for the afterlife, they constructed their tombs to be eternal residences. The exhibition is a rare window into the extraordinarily accomplished Han civilization through these remarkable objects of the highest artistry. We are most grateful to the Xuzhou Museum.”

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Jade pendant with s-shaped dragon, Western Han (206 BCE – 8 CE) H. 17.1 cm (6 3/4 inches), W. 10.8 cm (4 1/4 inches), Depth 0.6 cm (1/4 inches). Excavated from the tomb of the King of Chu at Shizishan, Xuzhou in 1994 – 1995

Stone weight in the shape of a leopard, Western Han (206 BCE – 8 CE) L. 23.2 cm (9 1/8 inches), W. 13 cm (5 1/8 inches), H. 14.5 cm (5 11/16 inches). Excavated from the tomb of the King of Chu at Shizishan, Xuzhou in 1994 – 1995

Jade zhi (wine vessel), Western Han (206 BCE – 8 CE) H. 11.8 cm (4 11/16 inches), Diam. (at mouth) 6.7 cm (2 11/16 inches). Excavated in 1995 from the King of Chu’s tomb at Shizishan

Jade mask, Western Han (206 BCE – 8 CE) L. 24.5 cm (9 11/16 inches), W. 28 cm (11 1/16 inches). Excavated from the Han tomb at Houlou Mountain in Xuzhou (1993)

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Jade embedded pillow with bronze panlong (coiling dragon) frame, Western Han (206 BCE – 8 CE) L. 37.1 cm (14 5/8 inches), W. 16 cm (6 5/16 inches), H. 11.4 cm (4 1/2 inches). Excavated from No.1 Han tomb at Houloushan, Xuzhou, in 1991

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Terracotta figurine playing a se (ancient Chinese plucked zither), Western Han (206 BCE – 8 CE) Figurine: H. 33 cm (13 inches), W. 26 cm (10 1/4 inches) Zither: L. 54 cm (21 5/16 inches), W. 14 cm (5 9/16 inches). Excavated from the Tomb of the Chu Prince at Tuolan Mountain in Xuzhou (2000)

Right: Earthenware dancing figurine, Western Han (206 BCE – 8 CE) H. 45 cm (17 3/4 inches), W. 42 cm (16 9/16 inches). Excavated from the Tomb of King of Chu at Tuolanshan, Xuzhou (2000. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Jade burial suit with gold thread, Western Han (206 BCE – 8 CE) 4,248 pieces of jade discs, 1,576 g (about 55.6 ounces) gold thread, L. 176 cm (69 5/16 inches), W. (shoulder) 68 cm (26 3/4 inches). Excavated from the tomb of the King of Chu at Shizishan, 1994 – 1995. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Earthenware “Feiji” cavalryman figurine, Western Han (206 BCE – 8 CE), H. 59 cm (23 1/4 inches), L. 65 cm (26 9/16 inches). Excavated from the pits of the terracotta warriors at Shizishan, Xuzhou

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra

Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou is curated by Li Yinde, Director Emeritus of the Xuzhou Museum, and directed by Willow Weilan Hai, Director of China Institute Gallery. The exhibition will travel to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, from December 2017 – April 2018.