New Mia Exhibit Showcases Chinese Ritual Bronzes

Eternal Offerings: Chinese Ritual Bronzes will offer visitors an opportunity to examine over 150 pieces from the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s collection of ancient Chinese bronzes, opening on March 4. 

Award-winning director and film designer Tim Yip and chair of Asian art and curator of Chinese art Liu Yang collaborated on the exhibit. Bronze vessels held great significance in ancient Chinese society, which the exhibit aims to highlight through Yip’s sound design, projections, and light displays and Yang’s curated narrative themes.

“In this exhibition, I intend to create a new multidimensional perspective for looking at bronzes,” said designer Tim Yip in a press release. “I want visitors to feel through their ears, body, eyes, and other senses, which will allow them to rediscover the ancient bronzes and the impact of their beauty and mystery.” 

The exhibit will lead visitors through a series of seven galleries that aim to merge art with theater and film by way of a spiritual journey through Eternal Offerings. The first gallery is a transitional space meant to encourage viewers to adopt an open frame of mind, featuring shards of bronze suspended from the ceiling. Next, visitors will walk through a gallery meant to highlight wildness through a vast display of both real and mythical bronze creatures. The third gallery is meant to mirror an ancestral temple, leading into the fourth which simulates an earthen altar and the projection of a moving sky. From there, visitors will enter a banquet hall signifying the feasts that followed ceremonies held in Bronze Age China. Following the banquet, visitors will enter a gallery dedicated to the concept of li, a moral code used to maintain social order. The final gallery will feature a series of 3D scans projected onto the gallery walls, highlighting the intricacies of different bronzes featured. 

Standout pieces of the exhibition include a zun wine vessel in the shape of an owl from the Late Shang dynasty (1200s-1100s BCE) and a gui food vessel from the early 900s BCE. Mia’s collection of over 200 ancient Chinese bronzes ranks among the nation’s finest due to its condition and diversity. 

Eternal Offerings: Chinese Ritual Bronzes runs from March 4 to May 21, 2023. For more information, visit Mia’s website. 

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