Guardians of the time. Ceramic sculpture of ancient China Automatic translate
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Главное здание ГМИИ им. А.С. Пушкина
ул. Волхонка, 12
The Pushkin Museum to them. A.S. By the end of 2018, Pushkin presents the exhibition of ceramic sculpture of Ancient China, “Watchmen of the Time”. The exhibition includes rare items - figures of animal symbols of the Chinese calendar, relating to the period from the 2nd century. BC. until the 17th century AD
The name of the exhibition is associated with the traditional Chinese calendar cycle, which is popular all over the world. It is divided into five twelve-year periods. Each year has an animal symbol: Mouse, Bull, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, Pig. The day is also divided into twelve intervals - “guards”, which are under the auspices of these same animal symbols.
Traditional ritual ceramic sculptures of dogs, pigs, wild boars and compositions of 12 animal symbols of the Chinese calendar date back to the reign of the Han, Tang and Ming dynasties in China. Such ritual sculptures are rarely exhibited in Russia, therefore, of course, they will arouse interest and expand the Russian viewer’s ideas about the art of the Far East.
According to the Eastern lunar-solar traditional calendar, adopted in China and some other countries, 2018 is the year of the Dog. In the Celestial Empire on February 16, the year of the Earthy Yellow Dog replaced the year of the Fiery Red Chicken, and on February 5, 2019, the year of the Earthy Yellow Pig will replace it. That is why mainly sculptures of dogs and several figures of wild boars and pigs are exhibited at the exhibition.
Archaeological discoveries in China give us rich artistic material illustrating the traditional life and life of the Chinese since ancient times. Belief in the existence of life after death, the cult of ancestors, gave rise to the idea that a person in another world should be accompanied by objects that surrounded him during his life.
Already in 3–2 millennia BC conditional rituals and the cult of reverence for ancestors, fundamental for the Chinese tradition, are gradually being formed. The Chinese believed that the souls of people are immortal. The descendants remaining on earth must glorify their ancestors with their deeds. --- From ancient times, a large number of sacred objects were placed in the burials, many of which have survived to this day: mainly, these are products from durable materials - bronze and jade, which were considered sacred, as well as from ceramics.
By the middle of the 1st millennium BC the Chinese stopped sacrificing people and animals to their ancestors. They began to be replaced with objects created from ceramics, wood and other materials, which were called mintsi - “bright things”, “models”. Craftsmen made models of people, animals, household items, uniforms, etc. The most striking example of the implementation of these ideas is the burial of Emperor Shihuang (reigned in 221–210 BC) of the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC). The construction of this complex, the reconstruction and construction in it of a model of the universe - the sky with luminaries, the earth with gardens, trees and rivers made of mercury, palaces with security mechanisms and many other details - is described in “Historical Notes” by Sima Qian (c. 146–86 to AD) - the famous historiographer of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC –9 AD). Sima Qian mentioned in particular that Qin Shihuang was buried with the army. It seemed a fiction, a hyperbole. However, after the discovery in 1974 of parts of the complex, in which several thousand ceramic figures of soldiers in human height, horses were already excavated; as well as two carts with sculptures of the charioteer and four horses in bronze; and many other products - that is, after the discovery of the “eternal army” there is no doubt that the description of Sima Qian is true. Never again in Chinese history would such a recreation have had such a scope, but the tradition was preserved in a simplified form. Sculptures of people, animal figures, models of buildings, utensils continued to be made of metal, varnish, wood and clay, depending on the wealth of the customer, but they became much smaller.
The need to create a large number of sculptures for altars and ritual purposes led to the development of crafts. Many new techniques were used precisely in the manufacture of mints: the use of colored clays, forms, prints; special surface treatment of ceramic products, the use of different firing temperatures, the use of monophonic and colored low-temperature glazes.
Among the ritual figurines, a special place is occupied by figures depicting animals: horses, dogs, pigs, birds and other creatures, as well as animal symbols of the twelve-year calendar cycle. For example, sculptures of dogs were discovered already in the burials of the Neolithic time. They were placed next to the owners, usually at the feet, sometimes next to or under the body of the owner. Judging by the found artifacts, such figurines-symbols were highly appreciated.
Marina Loshak, Director of the Pushkin Museum. A. Pushkin: “Russian viewers traditionally pay great attention to the art of the countries of the Far East and especially to the centuries-old culture of China, rich in its traditions. Without a doubt, a lot of new and interesting can be gleaned at the chamber, but deep in meaning and elegant in form exhibition. The works are captivating by the mastery of the technique of molding and molding, color painting and polychrome glaze, and at the same time they reflect the keen interest of Chinese artists in the world around them, their observation ability and ability to notice details that fascinate the modern viewer with their sharpness and expressiveness. The works on display, and there are about forty of them, belong to several Moscow collectors, who largely initiated the holding of this exhibition. ”
PARTICIPANTS OF THE EXHIBITION
State Museum of Oriental Art
Collection of Cyril Danelia
Collection of Mikhail Aldushenko
Collection of Katya of Arshav
Collection of Alexei Golubovich
The collection of Alexandra Ivanova
Collection of Natalia Lebedeva
Dates: December 6, 2018 - February 10, 2019
Venue: Main Building (Volkhonka, 12), Hall No. 31
Curators of the exhibition: Maria Menshikova, senior researcher, curator of the collection of Chinese applied art of the Oriental Department of the State Hermitage; Kira Vyazovikina, Senior Researcher, Department of the Ancient East, Pushkin Museum. A.S. Pushkin