Some say it’s the Year of the Rooster, but in my book, it’s year of the Han. There has been a succession of shows highlighting this dynasty, which ruled from 206 B.C. to 220 AD. It so consolidated a sense of identity that ethnic Chinese today still identify as “Han.”
In New York alone, there have been two Han shows. The one at the Met closed in June, but the one at the China Institute is still on and worth seeing (I reviewed the first but was unable to review the latter). For those who don’t know the China Institute Gallery, it is well worth adding to your New York list; and for those who do know it, a reminder that it has moved from Manhattan’s upper Eastside to its financial district, where the gallery’s curator, Willow Weiland Hai, is taking full advantage of the larger exhibition space. I loved the new venue’s inaugural show, “Art in a Time of Chaos,” and Ms. Willow again does a great job, this time exploring how royals under the Han sought immortality.
“Dreams of the Kings” brings us a magnificent jade suit intended to preserve the body throughout eternity along with luxuries to enjoy, from effigies of graceful dancers to elaborate jewelry.
“Dreams of the Kings” runs through November 12th then travels to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, where it will open in December.