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Chronicles of a Global East Exhibition: Seattle Art Museum

Tainan city with Fort Zeelandia and Fort Provintia, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), late 18th century. Wall hanging; ink and color on deerskin leather. Gift of Joseph and Molly Iwano, 96.40. Seattle Art Museum.

February 2, 2023

Oct 20, 2022 – Oct 22, 2023

By land and by sea, the premodern global world was deeply interconnected. This exhibition narrates a few of the many stories related to the Silk Roads and maritime routes, where innumerable transnational artistic traditions emerged. A monumental deerskin map provides a commanding view of Tainan, a port city with Dutch-built fortresses and Chinese and indigenous residents. In a reversal of Chinoiserie, an imperial mirror shows Chinese palaces set within a pastoral European landscape. The blue-and-white ceramics on view recall Chinese porcelains but are in fact inventive Vietnamese commercial wares whose profitable path to market was interrupted after their transportation was shipwrecked. Each appropriation represents a claim of advantage—whether over strategic territory, in artistic and technological sophistication, or business innovation. Each also embodies curiosity, a desire for new knowledge through borrowing from the unfamiliar “other.”

This exhibition is made possible by:
Taiwan Studies Arts & Culture Program, University of Washington
University of Washington East Asia Center
Lucie Tuan In honor of Yuyann Hu and Enlei Tuan

For more details, please visit the Seattle Art Museum website.