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Now On View

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Chronicles of a Global East

Oct 20 2022 – Ongoing

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

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By land and by sea, the premodern global world was deeply interconnected. This exhibition narrates a few of the many stories related to the Silk Roads and maritime routes, where innumerable transnational artistic traditions emerged. A monumental deerskin map provides a commanding view of Tainan, a port city with Dutch-built fortresses and Chinese and indigenous residents. In a reversal of Chinoiserie, an imperial mirror shows Chinese palaces set within a pastoral European landscape. The blue-and-white ceramics on view recall Chinese porcelains but are in fact inventive Vietnamese commercial wares whose profitable path to market was interrupted after their transportation was shipwrecked. Each appropriation represents a claim of advantage—whether over strategic territory, in artistic and technological sophistication, or business innovation. Each also embodies curiosity, a desire for new knowledge through borrowing from the unfamiliar “other.”

This exhibition is made possible by:
Taiwan Studies Arts & Culture Program, University of Washington
University of Washington East Asia Center
Lucie Tuan In honor of Yuyann Hu and Enlei Tuan

Wall hanging (detail), 18th–19th century, Chinese, ink and pigment on pieced deerskin, 58 x 80 3/4 in., Gift of Joseph and Molly Iwano, 96.40

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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