Treasures of Ancient China

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Item Code: NAC292
ISBN: 9789380262321
Pages: 300 (Illustrated Throughout In Color)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 11.8 Inch X 8.4 Inch
Weight 1.69 kg
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description

The exhibition, ‘Treasures of Ancient China’, is the result of one and a half years of hard work by experts from India and China. It opens in the National Museum (New Delhi) in February and then tours Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay (Mumbai), Salar Jung Museum (Hyderabad) and the National Library (Kolkata).

Early in 2006, when the exhibition, ‘Treasures of Ancient India’, celebrated its grand opening in the Capital Museum in Beijing, its co-sponsors, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH), decided to hold an itinerant exhibition composed of Chinese antiquities in India as an exchange.

This exhibition is the product of co-operation and diligent work of the archaeological organizations and researchers from the two countries. Four outstanding museums and institutions in India provide the venue for this exhibition. The exhibits are drawn from the Capital Museum, Henan Museum, Three Gorges Museum and Museum of the Western Han Dynasty Mausoleum of the Nanyue King where the exhibition, ‘Treasures of Ancient India’ was housed. Besides, the Shaanxi Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage and Liangzhu Museum also lent generously to the exhibition. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the above-mentioned organizations for their contribution to China-India exchanges in the field of cultural heritage. In the meantime, a large debt of gratitude is owed to the Chinese Embassy and the Indian Embassy, which have spared no efforts in supporting this exhibition.

Seven thousand years ago, the Yangtze River Basin nurtured a rice-cultivation culture, the Hemudu Culture, whereas the Yellow River Basin bred a millet-cultivation culture, the Peiligang Culture and the Yangshao Culture. Exhibits representing the above cultures include polished stone tools, daily-use potteries from the Neolithic Age, and the bronze ritual vessels which the nobles of Shang and Zhou dynasties sacrificed to their ancestors; while the concept of serving the dead as if they are still alive’ in traditional Chinese culture can be said to be vividly reflected by the daily-use bronze vessels and jade objects of the Han nobles, compared to their burial potteries and funerary representations. Porcelain is a great invention of ancient China, to the extent that in many languages, the word ‘china’ means both the nation and porcelain. In this exhibition, selected porcelain objects, some of which date to the l3 century, are presented. The collection of these exhibits reveals aspects of the material and spiritual life led by people of different historical phases, which is also a reflection of the historical evolution of dynastic China as well as its civilization and wisdom.

Both China and India are amongst the world’s greatest and oldest civilizations. Originating from both sides of the Himalayas, the rivers — Yangtze, Yellow, Indus and the Ganges — nourished two great nations and their glorious civilizations. The cultural exchange between the two nations dated far back to the Han Dynasty, when the envoys sent to Central Asia brought back information of a warm and rich India. Since Buddhism was introduced into China, communication between the two civilizations became more frequent and closer, of which, Master Tang Xuanzang was a representative. Initiating his journey from Chang’an, Master Xuanzang spent more than ten years studying Buddhism in the Nalanda Temple, from where he brought back volumes of Sanskrit sutras to China. The introduction of Buddhism provided an exceptional opportunity for philosophical and intellectual exchanges in ancient China. The friendly exchange between the two civilizations was recorded by many Buddhist artifacts, some of which are selected for this exhibition.

The recent years have witnessed a wider and deeper cultural link, devoted to preserving cultural heritage for the benefit of the people of the two nations. An excellent example of this link was the exhibition, ‘Treasures of Ancient India’, that took place between 2006 and 2007, and attracted more than 3,10,000 visitors. Religious and secular statues from the well-known Buddhist sites of India, including Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Nalanda, and the renowned World Cultural Heritage Site of Khajuraho, were shown to Chinese viewers. The solemn Buddhist statues, the lithe and graceful Yakshis and other sculptures fascinated the Chinese viewers.

While that spectacular exhibition is still fresh in our memory, four years later, today’s right before the most important festival of China, the Spring Festival, we have brought approximately 95 sets of Chinese treasures to Indian viewers, among which are the world-famous terracotta warriors of the First Emperor, the tn-coloured glazed pottery of the Tang dynast and Buddhist statues from the famous Longmen Grottoes, to comprise the exhibition, ‘Treasures of Ancient China’.

We sincerely hope that this exhibition will set an example for cultural exchanges between the two countries and serve as a bridge to promote understanding and friendship between the two peoples. I wish complete success to the ‘Treasures of Ancient China’ exhibition.




  Message from the Minister of Culture, India – Kumari Selja 16
  Message from Ambassador of India to China – S Jaishankar 18
  Message from Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to India – Zhang Yan 20
  Message from Director General of Archaeological Survey of India – Gautam Sengupta 22
  Message from Director General of Art Exhibitions China – Wang Jun 24
  Message from Administrator of National Museum, New Delhi – C V Ananda Bose 26
  Message from the Director of C.S.M.V.S Museum, Mumbai – Sabyasachi Mukherjee 28
  Message from Director-in-charge of Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad – A Nagender Reddy 30
  Message from Director General of National Library, Kolkata – Swapna Chakravaorty 32
  Message from the Director (Museum) of Archaeological Survey of India - Urmilasant 34
  Foreword by the Director General of State Administration of Cultural Heritage of People’s Republic of China – Shan Jixiang 40
  Introduction 48
  Exhibits 1-95 86
  1. Millstone and Stick 86
  2. Sickle 88
  3. Spade 90
  4. Painted Pottery Pot 92
  5. Painted Pottery Vat 94
  6-11. Stone Implements 96
  12. Bronze Lei Vessel with Animal-face Design 108
  13. Bronze Gu Vessel with Animal-face Design 110
  14. Bronze Jia Vessel with Animal-face Design 112
  15. Bronze Jue Vessel with Animal-face Design 114
  16. Bronze Bu Vessel 116
  17. Bronze Hu Vessel 118
  18. Bronze Gui Vessel 120
  19. Bronze Jue Vessel with Animal-face Design 122
  20. Bronze Square Lei Vessel with Inscription of ZI 124
  21. Bronze Ding Vessel with Animal-face Design 126
  22. Bronze Ding Vessel with Inscription ‘Yang’ 128
  23. Bronze You Vessel with Inscription ‘Zuobao’ 130
  24. Bronze Pan Vessel 132
  25. Bronze Sword and Scabbard 134
  26. Bronze Ding with Inscription of Wangziwu (with Bi Spoon) 136
  27. Bronze Ding with Coiled Cloud Pattern 138
  28. Bronze Dui Vessel 140
  29. Terracotta Soldier 142
  30. Terracotta Warrior 144
  31. Jade Sword Ornaments 146
  32. Jade Bi Disc 154
  33. Jade Bi Disc with Dragon Design 156
  34. Bronze Ding Vessel with Inscriptions of ‘Panyu’ 158
  35. Bronze Small Ding Vessel of the Han Style 160
  36. Bronze Lamp 162
  37. Bronze Mirror in the Qin style 164
  38. Bronze Mirror in the Chu style 166
  39. Apricot-shaped Gold Ornaments 168
  40. Pottery Ding with Inscription 170
  41. Pottery Gourd-shaped Pot 172
  42. Pottery Incense Burner 174
  43. Green-glazed Pottery Two-storey Pavilion 176
  44. Grey Pottery Figurines Putting on Robe 176
  45. Pottery Figurines Putting on Role 178
  46. Pottery Nursing Female 180
  47. Pottery Seated Official 182
  48. Pottery Figurine with Dish in Hand 184
  49/53. Pottery Figurines Playing Qin Musical Instrument 186
  50/52. Pottery Dancing Figurines 188
  51. Stone Story-teller Figurines 190
  54. Pottery Figurine Blowing Xiao Musical Instrument 194
  55. Decorated Tomb Brick Carved with Lecturing Scene 196
  56. Pottery Money-tree Stand 198
  57. Stone Tomb Gate 200
  58. Decorated Tomb Brick with Carved Scene of Carriage and Horse Crossing a Bridge 202
  59. Brick with Dragon Design 204
  60. Stone Bodhisattva 206
  61. White-glazed Porcelain Coin Jar 208
  62. Tri-coloured Pottery Tripod Burner 210
  63. Tri-coloured Pottery Handled Ewer 212
  64. Tri-coloured Pottery Small Yu Jar 214
  65. White-glazed Porcelain Vase 216
  66. Gilded Silver Hairpin Chai 218
  67. Silver Hairpin Zan (2 pieces) 220
  68. Tri-coloured Pottery Female Rider 222
  69. Tri-coloured Pottery Male Rider 224
  70. Tri-coloured Pottery Horse 226
  71. Tri-coloured Pottery Standing Female Figure 228
  72. Tri-coloured Pottery Standing Male Figure 230
  73/74. Tri-coloured Pottery Standing Figure in Wind-hat (2 pieces) 232
  75. Tri-coloured Pottery Tomb Guardian with Leonine Head 234
  76. Tri-coloured Pottery Tomb Guardian 236
  77. Stone Standing Avalokitesvara 238
  78. Gilded Bronze Avalokitesvara 240
  79. Stone Head of Mahastamaprapta 242
  80. Stone Warrior 244
  81. Stone Stupa with Date Inscription 246
  82. Seated Stone Bodhisattva 248
  83. Stone Sarira Urn 250
  84. Blue-and-white Porcelain Jar Painted with Story (Jingdezhen Kiln) 252
  85. Porcelain Flattened Pot with black Dragon Design on White Ground (Cizhou Kiln) 254
  86. Porcelain Zun Vase with Carved Peony Design (Longquan Kiln) 256
  87. Bronze Mirror with Avalokitesvara Image 258
  88. Lazurite Blue-glazed Procelain Jar with Phoenix Design 260
  89. Blue and white Porcelain Covered Jar 262
  90. Wucai Polychrome Porcelain Box 264
  91. Gilded Bronze Green Tara 266
  92. Bronze Avalokitesvara 268
  93. Gilded Bronze Sakyamuni 270
  94. Underglazed Blue and red Porcelain Vase 272
  95. Fencai (mixed glazed) Porcelain Zun Vase with Deer Design 274
  A Hoard of Chinese Blue and White Porcelain from Delhi - Brmani 278
  Early Farming Tools of India and China – Urmila Sant 284
  Inherited Artifacts, Treasures of China – Song Xinchao 291

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