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Foreigners from the Silk Road at the time of the Tang Dynasty

Imagine if you will a caravan of 20 very large Camels each ridden by a foreigner from many different lands to the West of China. They trek along the Great Silk Road which could be seen for the very first time at the Bowers Museum if this presentation is approved.

 

   Their destination is China itself at the time of the Tang Dynasty where they will meet with dozens of immigrants from the West who have blended into the very fabric of society. So much so that the 100 plus art objects in the exhibition were all found in the Tombs of Tang courtiers and officials.

 There were grooms and attendants, singers and dancers, soldiers and guardians with different styles and fashions, many of which were adopted by the local Chinese population. Even dwarfs were imported as they were considered good luck for the Royal Family and their courtiers. 

The last major exhibition of Foreigners took place in 1969 at the China Institute of America and since this time many objects of major importance have been found. Yet no comprehensive study of these objects and their relevance to Chinese society has been written since  1959. 

Bowers will have the opportunity of presenting a unique and fascinating exhibition whilst at the same time adding greatly to the published information presently available to the public, libraries, museums and academics. 

On a more personal level regarding the nature of the Museum and its relevance to the residents of Orange and Los Angeles County one object of the Exhibition, apart from presenting some of the finest examples of ancient Chinese art and sculpture, is to strengthen the bonds between the Chinese community and other ethnic groups in Orange County. Contrary to the image engendered by the Great Wall of China, it has more often than not been a welcoming country as evidenced by the Silk Road. For two thousand years, China has not only welcomed foreigners into its borders but has adopted, especially during the Tang Dynasty, its best fashion, music and culture whilst at the same time influencing the cultures of the States to the West. We hope this spirit of cross culturalization will be enhanced in Orange County by this exhibition which is a testament to what different civilizations can achieve when the arts are allowed to flourish and mix.

Michael S. Sanders

Orange,  California

2006

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See Powerpoint Presentation

 

copyright  2004-6
 Michael S. Sanders