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October 21, 2017 to July 22, 2018


The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
at 82nd Street
New York  New York  10028
United States
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Spirited Creatures: Animal Representations in Chinese Silk and Lacquer

Image Credit: Woman's informal robe with butterflies, late 19th–early 20th century. China, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Embroidered silk satin, 53 x 82 in. (134.6 x 208.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George F. Miller, 1970 (1970.145)

This exhibition will explore how real and mythical animals—such as the dragon, unicorn, phoenix, lion, ox, and butterfly—are depicted on luxury materials of late imperial China. Presenting 20 textiles and 50 lacquers spanning several hundred years—from the 13th to the 19th century—the exhibition will highlight the imagery on a wide range of objects: dragon robes, rank badges, and tapestry panels for interior decoration, as well as many different types of lacquer vessels from imperial workshops. The objects are drawn exclusively from The Met collection, and some have not been on display for several decades.