Royal Taste offers a unique glimpse into the luxurious lifestyles and religious practices of princely courts in early- and mid-Ming China (1368-1644). Organized by The Ringling, this exhibition of more than 140 works of pictorial, sculptural, and decorative arts reveals some lesser-known aspects of palatial lives, religious patronage, and afterlife beliefs of Ming princes, whose world has long been a mystery. The quality of craftsmanship and beauty of design testifies to the richness and sophistication of the art and culture of the nobility in the provinces.
The majority of the objects on view were selected from recent archaeological finds now in the collections of four museums in the Hubei province in China, and from imperially-commissioned statues housed at Daoist temples on Mount Wudang, the birthplace of Tai Chi. Through these important loans—all of which are traveling to the US for the first time—the exhibition provides a more complete understanding of the visual and religious worlds of Ming princes and demonstrates the vital role of their courts in shaping Ming material culture.
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This exhibition is organized by The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, USA, in association with the Hubei Provincial Museum, China.
Support for this exhibition was provided in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues. Additional support was provided in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation Endowment, and the Arthur F. and Ulla R. Searing Endowment.
Image: Pair of Gold Hairpins in Phoenix Shape 金鳳簪, gold, mid-16th century
Overall (each): 9 13/16 × 2 13/16 × 9/16 in., 0.3 lb. (25 × 7.1 × 1.5 cm, 0.1 kg)
On loan from the Hubei Provincial Museum, P.R. China
© Hubei Provincial Museum