|Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, Ca 94102
Information: (415) 581-3500
Membership: (415) 581-3740
Store: (415) 581-3600
China's Terracotta Warriors Return to San Francisco
February 22–May 27, 2013
The Asian Art Museum celebrates its 10th anniversary in its Civic Center location by presenting a major exhibition examining the life and legacy of China's First Emperor, a complex leader whose sheer ambition continues to fascinate.
Featuring 120 rare objects—including 10 terracotta figures—from one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of our time, China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy takes visitors on a journey from the birth and rise of the Qin Empire to the life and rule of the First Emperor, his quest for immortality, and his death, burial, and complex legacy.
The exhibition also features bronze ritual and jade artifacts, gold and silver ornaments, and palatial architectural components—some on view for the first time in the U.S.—illustrating the emergence of the Qin State. The objects are drawn from more than 13 institutions in China, including the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the Shaanxi Provincial Archaeological Institute, and the Shaanxi History Museum.
The Asian Art Museum was among the first museums outside China to feature some of the terracotta figures in a major exhibition held in 1994. Nearly forty years after its discovery, Chinese archaeologists are still making discoveries around the burial mound of one of the most remarkable figures in the history of China, the First Emperor. The exhibition focuses on this extraordinarily influential man.
And don't miss the museum’s Year of the Snake Celebration on Sunday February 3, 11:00 am-4:00 pm. Enjoy a performance of classical Chinese music and dance by students from the Chinese American International School, including the traditional lion dance which is believed to scare away evil spirits to ensure a bright beginning to the new year. Create your own work of art and discover the cultural and historical significance of snakes in Asia. Free admission, courtesy of Target.
About the First Emperor
Born in a time of turmoil in China's history, known as the Warring States period (475–221 BCE), the First Emperor founded the short-lived Qin dynasty (221–210 BCE). He forged the seven warring states into one nation and anointed himself Qin Shihuang, or First Emperor. His legacy of a centralized bureaucratic state would be carried onto successive dynasties over the next two millennia.
Driven by a desire for immortality, Qin Shihuang began to plan his burial from the moment he ascended to the throne at age 13. The complex plan and symbolic content of the mausoleum, as gradually revealed by the ongoing archaeological excavations, are far beyond the imagination of most.
The Terracotta Army was discovered in 1974, and later, Chinese archaeologists excavated three pits containing more than 7,000 terracotta warriors with horses and chariots, all designed to protect the emperor in the afterlife. The First Emperor apparently planned his tomb as an elaborate subterranean palace, a parallel world that would enable his rule after his death.
Armored General, Qin dynasty 221-206 BCE, Height 203 cm, weight 250 kg. Excavated from Pit 1, Qin Shihuang tomb complex, 1980. Reproduced with kind permission from the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Serial number 002747.
This exhibition was organized by the Asian Art Museum in partnership with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau and Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre, People's Republic of China.