Qian Xuan, Chinese, ca. 1235–before 1307 Wang Xizhi Watching Geese

Tomorrow marks the opening day of the new Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit, titled Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats. Running until January 6th in the galleries for Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, the exhibit explores the rich dimensions of Chinese culture and the interactions between Chinese garden and pictorial art that spans more than 1000 years.

The exhibit will span eight galleries of space and will showcase over 60 paintings, lacquerware, metalwork, textiles, carved bamboo and photographs. One piece to keep an eye out for is the spectacular 18 foot wide The Palace of Nine Perfections by Yuan Jiang. Another great piece comes from Li Jie who based Fisherman’s Lodge at Mount Zisai on literary and pictorial references from two Tang-dynasty garden estates into his imaginary retirement home.

Xu Yang, Chinese, active ca. 1750–after 1776 Palaces of the Immortals

Along with the exhibit, the MET will be offering a host of educational opportunities, including five performances. The Peony Pavilion, an opera masterpiece of the 16th century will be re-mastered by celebrated contemporary composer Tan Dun in The Astor Court, which has been modeled off a 17th-century garden. Also offered are audio tours for children and a lecture by Mr. Hearn. The US-China Cultural Institute, C.F. Roe Slade Foundation and Bloomberg made these events possible.

Yuan Jiang, active ca.1680–ca.1730 The Palace of Nine Perfections

The importance of the Chinese garden is paramount in urban Chinese culture. It played a vital role not only in residential and palace architecture but also as an area to gather and commune. These gardens served as an extension of the living quarters for anyone in an urban area throughout Chinese history and have become the epicenter for many events.

—Jordan Bruck

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