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Past Exhibitions

Ruby Wang - Living Water in Ink

September 2016 - Fall 2016

As a lifelong artist traveling the world for inspiration, Ruby H. Wang (née Hwa Zhi-Ning, 1932) fully experienced the coexistence of Eastern and Western cultures where the "intersections and contrasts" of the two cultures can be seen in her work. While maintaining her roots in Chinese traditional ink painting, she explores and experiments with new concepts and techniques which has added new dimensions to her unique style of ink painting with watercolor.

Parinirvana of Buddha Shakyamuni (The Death of Buddha)

April 2016 - Fall 2016

The life story of the Buddha is central to Buddhism and often illustrated. His death is particularly captivating for the religious, for it is upon his death that the Buddha is said to have achieved parinirvana or nirvana-after-death, the ultimate goal of an enlightened being. This painting’s iconic composition can be found in a painting dated to 1086, currently located in Koyasan Japan.

The Imperial Dragon Robe

April 2016 - Fall 2016

Dragon robes were predominantly worn by male members of the Chinese bureaucracy, although women possessed garments which exhibited some similarities. These robes are mostly blue, but brown, turquoise, orange, yellow and red ones do exist. This robe features five-clawed dragons amidst cloud clusters, interspersed with bats and Buddhist emblems. Water and mountians adorn the hem. The high quality of the gold couching and embroidery indicate this robe must have been made for a person of important status.

On loan from the Kinsey International Art Foundation

The Poetry of Netsuke: Selections from the Book

April 2016 - Fall 2016

The distinctive art forms of poetry and netsuke from Japan can be closely linked. Both are small, intimate in form, and often subtle in meaning. Much of their beauty is implied and unspoken. The hallmarks of both netsuke and Japanese poetry are brevity, simplicity, and restraint. Many netsuke carvers and poets are especially fascinated by the beauty and mystery of nature. The netsuke in this exhibit are from the book The Poetry of Netsuke. Some of these netsuke are inscribed with, or were directly inspired by specific famous poems of Japan. This exhibit is on loan from the Kinsey International Art Foundation.

House of Serendipity: Chinese Snuff Bottles from a Private Collection

October 2015 - January 2016

Although smoking tobacco was banned in 17th century China, it was a part of social ritual to use snuff (powdered tobacco). Snuff was considered to be a remedy for common illnesses and offering a pinch of snuff was a common way to greet friends and relatives. Snuff bottles became an object of beauty and a way to represent status and wealth. Decorative bottles were, and remain, time-consuming in their production and are thus desirable for today’s collectors. House of Serendipity is an exhibition of a private collection of snuff bottles, hosted by Heritage Museum of Asian Art, to coincide with the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society Convention held in Chicago, October 2015.

Taima Mandala

June 2015 - December 2015

The Taima mandala (mandara) is the principal religious icon of the Jodo (Pure Land) sect of Buddhism founded in twelfth-century Japan. It depicts the iconic Western Paradise of Amida and is originally modeled on a supposed eighth-century Chinese tapestry preserved in the Taimadera Temple in the old city of Nara. The Taima mandala Heritage Museum of Asian Art has on display is an exceptionally large painting from 14th/15th century Japan.

Images of Netsuke

June 2015 - December 2015

Netsuke are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th-century Japan. They served as a counter weight to hold a tobacco puch on a mans sash. Soon, these little pieces of art became quite collectable. Most netsuke collectors now collect netsuke out of context (detached from the inro and pipecases, and now sitting on their display case shelves). This exhibit looks at some important historic questions, such as “How were netsuke worn?” and “How did the artists of the 19th century see netsuke as part of the clothing of the period?”  Since most netsuke and sagemono ensembles were originally worn, mostly by men, and on the rear hip, they do not show up in most woodblock prints, which show people facing the viewer.  This is part of the difficulty of documenting netsuke in a correct historic perspective, which goes far beyond just collecting beautiful carvings. The pieces on display for this exhibit are from The Norman L. Sandfield Collection.

Chinese Ritual Bronzes: Selections from the MacLean Collection

June 2015 - December 2015

Ancient Chinese bronzes are not only examples of artistic excellence, but also are important historical and cultural markers. The MacLean Collection has generously loaned Heritage Museum of Asian Art a selecttion of exceptional bronzes for this Exhibit.

Chinese Puzzle Vessels

June 2015 - December 2015

Puzzle vessels, which go under various names, are a popular curiosity around the world. They have been found in at least 24 countries and at least five ancient cultures, including those of Canaan, Greece, Phoenicia, Egypt, and Turkey. Puzzle vessels are most often made of ceramics, although other materials, such as pewter, brass, and cloisonne have also been used. Examples of these vessels will be on display, such as “justice cups” and “reversed flowing pots.”

Imperial Rock Paintings from the Forbidden City

June 2014 - December 2015

Prof. Lin Chao, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou

Professor Lin Chao was granted rare access to paint the imperial rocks of the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City, Beijing. The paintings on display here showcase various techniques and styles of painting these rocks, which are traditionally appreciated by Chinese scholars.

Asian Art from American Collections

June 2014 - December 2015

Since the turn of the twentieth century Americans have been collecting and admiring Asian art. For the Heritage Museum’s inaugural exhibition the museum hosts pieces of work including Japanese netsuke, Korean pottery, and Chinese paintings.

Chinese Folk Pottery: The Art of the Everyday

June 2014 - July 2014

This exhibition explores contemporary folk pottery produced within the diversity of Han and ethnic pottery communities across China. Throughout the 8,000 years of China's ceramic history, the vast majority of pottery produced have been utilitarian objects created for average consumers. The ceramics on display in museums and collected by connoisseurs are often represented by the sophisticated, refined imperial ceramics for the elite. Objects of daily use have often been overlooked for critical appreciation of its techniques and aesthetics. The works in this exhibition were created for village peasants by Tibetan, Dai, Bai and Han potters. The objects were collected between 1995 and 2009.