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Chronicles of a Global East

Oct 20 2022–ongoing

Seattle Art Museum

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

Image: 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.

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