Mythic Creatures of China
August 17, 2012 - July 28, 2013
This exhibition aims to explore the symbolism behind animal motifs popular in Chinese ceramics throughout the ages. The objects included in this exhibition are part of a gift to the Ringling Museum from Ira and Nancy Koger and range from the third century BCE to the 19th century. The expansive chronology of the works points to the enduring nature of animal symbolism so deeply ingrained in Chinese visual culture.
The goal is to bring to light the symbolism present in these ceramics through an explanation of the animal stories from Chinese mythology and folklore. Among the purposes of this exhibition are:
- to appreciate the symbolism of animals in Chinese mythology and folklore
- to explore the idea of auspicious powers in everyday objects
- to understand the meaning in objects of Chinese visual culture
The exhibition is arranged thematically rather than chronologically to focus on the animals themselves, with their deeply ingrained meanings in Chinese culture. Chinese artists have portrayed animals in ceramics across thousands of years of the country’s continuous history. These animals captured the imaginations of Chinese potters as they sought to portray animals they had seen, and others they could only imagine. Drawn from the Ringling’s collection of Chinese ceramics, these animals will tickle your fancy with their stories, legends and vibrancy. Almost one hundred objects are presented, including dragons, butterflies, fish and phoenix.
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