San Antonio Museum or Art

Past Exhibitions

5,000 Years of Chinese Jade

October 1, 2011—February 19, 2012

Focus Gallery

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5,000 Years of Chinese Jade Featuring Selections from the National Museum of History, Taiwan and the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, Smithsonian Institution is a major international exhibition organized by SAMA and held in conjunction with the City of San Antonio’s yearlong celebration of Taiwan.

With its broad historical approach, the exhibition provides an opportunity to experience the great breadth of Chinese history through outstanding works of art arranged chronologically. Principal types represented in the jade exhibition include ritual objects, weapons, scholar’s objects, adornments and jewelry, and vessels. The jades vary greatly in color, size, date, and function. An Education Gallery located in the exhibition allows visitors to further explore the subject through videos, books, and computer resources. 

Disc, Bi
Spinach Jade Brushpot
Spinach-green Covered Bowl
Bird with Fruiting Branch
Elephant Decorated Vase with Cover, taiping
Dragon-shaped Pendant
Dagger-axe, ge
Archer's Thumb Ring
Pair of Bird Silhouettes

The primary lender to the exhibition is the National Museum of History in Taipei, Taiwan. The National Museum of History has generously contributed forty-five outstanding jade works of art to the exhibition. Of particular interest are five jades from the Spring and Autumn period (770 - 476 BC) classified as Important National Treasures of Taiwan. Most of the jades from Taiwan, including the National Treasures, will be on view in America for the first time.

Another prestigious lender to 5,000 Years of Chinese Jade is the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution. Twenty-four jades from the celebrated Sackler Collection complement the jade objects from Taiwan. Highlights from the Sackler Gallery include the famous Han dynasty Bear (220 BC – AD 221) and Song dynasty Hound (960-1279). Two additional lenders also provide exquisite jades: A number of large eighteenth-century jades, including a lovely Elephant Vase from the Qianlong period (1736-1795), are on loan from the Springfield Museums in Springfield, Massachusetts.  An anonymous private American collector contributes a dozen superb jades, several which were carved in Imperial workshops, including an elegant bird carving with Emperor Qianlong’s seal mark. The San Antonio Museum of Art contributes two jades to the exhibition, both acquired within the last two years.

The Museum is grateful for generous financial support of this major exhibition from the Helen and Everett H. Jones Exhibition Endowment, Lenora and Walter F. Brown, the Mays Family Foundation, the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs, the Texas Commission on the Arts, Rose Marie and John L. Hendry III, the Daniel J. Sullivan Family Charitable Foundation, the Council for Cultural Affairs, Taiwan and the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York.