The Emperor Looks West

On view September 23, 2006 to March 25, 2007

Art has been used to mark important events throughout the history of nations. In China, some of the finest examples have emerged from palace workshops. In this exhibition, an exquisite court painting from the 18th century—on view for the first time in a U.S. museum—shows a banquet in the Forbidden City celebrating Emperor Qianlong’s military victory in a region of western China. "Victory Banquet at the West Garden” (19’w x 20”h), which once belonged to former French President, Paul Doumer, is painted in ink, color, and gold on silk in the traditional hand scroll format. Other objects, including a dazzling European-style clock; a Mughal jade bowl; ceramics; enamels, and cloisonné, reflect the range of international influences that helped shape imperial art during the Qianlong era.