Mirroring China’s Past showcases approximately 180 works from the Art Institute of Chicago, the Palace Museum in Beijing, the Shanghai Museum, and museums and private collections across the United States. The exhibition explores how these objects influenced Chinese politics, philosophy and history. Ancient bronzes still inspire and inform Chinese culture, as evinced by contemporary art included in the exhibition.
Currently at the Art Institute of Chicago, Mirroring China’s Past: Emperors and Their Bronzes, presents exquisitely ornamented Chinese bronzes from the second and first millennia BC. Unlike similar Greek and Roman bronze sculptures, these Chinese Bronze Age objects (about 2000–221 BC) were created primarily for ritual use. Starting with the Song Dynasty (960–1279), Emperors collected these bronzes as symbols of their right to rule.