Katherine Anne PAUL
Newark Museum 紐瓦克博物館

Newark Museum Chinese Projects: Past and Future

Today the Chinese art collection of the Newark Museum numbers approximately 9,000 works of art (not including an additional 5,600 works of Tibetan art). Over 100 Chinese objects entered the collection with the Museum's founding in 1909. The first major exhibition to focus on China was the 1923 traveling exhibition, China, the Land and the People. Organized in conjunction with the Chinese legation in Washington, DC, this was an unprecedented compilation of early twentieth-century Chinese crafts showcased contemporary (1920s) life in China as well as its history. Two smaller exhibitions formed from this larger one traveled to twenty other US cities in the 1920s. This institutional history prompted a number of significant gifts of Chinese art to the Museum throughout the twentieth century.

In recent years, several projects have focused on different facets of the collection. The Museum hosted Professor Han Huirong 韓慧榮 of Beijing Normal University 北師大 to review and publish the Museum's extensive collection of paper cuts resulting in the 2015 publication: Revolutionary Chinese Paper Cuts from the Newark Museum. <<剪綵出東方 紐華克博物館館藏中國剪紙>>. This summer of 2016 Professor Lei Chinhau 雷晉豪 recently of Hong Kong Baptist University reviewed the Museum's pre-Ming dynasty ceramic collection. We anticipate a publication resulting from his review in the near future.

Recent exhibitions of Chinese art at the Museum feature both special exhibitions and permanent gallery reinstallations. In 2013, the special exhibition Ming to Modern, Elevating the Everyday in Chinese Art 《明代至今:日用品中的中國藝術》was drawn entirely from the Museum's holdings (excepting one loaned work). In 2012 three permanent gallery reinstallations were created along these themes: Re-Activating Antiquities: Honoring the Archaic in Chinese Art, 200 BC-2012 AD 《復古》; China's China: Porcelain, Earthenware, Stoneware & Glazes 《中國陶瓷》; Buddhism, Taoism, Confucius and Cult of Mao: China's Religious Arts 《佛教,道教,孔子和毛澤東的崇拜》. Additional permanent gallery installations that showcase Chinese art include the 2011 Tiaras to Toe Rings: Asian Ornaments and in 2010 Red Luster: Lacquer & Leather Works of Asia.

Planning for the next special exhibition is underway. With the working title: China Trending: 18th Century Fads and Fashions for Velvets, Painted Enamels and Glass, the exhibit will feature the Museum's own superior examples of Chinese velvets, painted enamel wares and glass works and will highlight some of the early global exchanges between China and Europe that lead to the creation of these pieces. As demonstrated above, the Museum welcomes visiting scholars to study and publish focused aspects of the larger collection. Areas that remain understudied include our significant holdings of jades, paintings, costumes and textiles.