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Presented in partnership with the prestigious Henan Museum, MIM’s special exhibition Ancient Musical Treasures from Central China: Harmony of the Ancients from the Henan Museum explores the connection between music, people, heaven, and earth through more than 60 extremely rare instruments and artworks on display for the first time in the United States.
Ancient flutes and drums hark back to the dawn of Chinese civilization, giving us a glimpse of the musical life of an early agrarian society. Grand racks of bronze bells evoke elaborate rituals performed during the formative years of Chinese culture. Lively ceramic figures illustrate the joyful mixing of cultures during the time of the legendary Silk Road. Elegant silk strings entertain gatherings of refined music lovers and inspire poetic contemplation.
In addition to the collection of exquisite musical instruments, the exhibition also features beautiful music-related artworks made of materials such as ceramic and jade. Many of these instruments and artworks were excavated from tombs of the nobility.
This flute comes from a collection of several flutes that were excavated from the Peiligang burial sites and are collectively the oldest musical instruments in China.
Loan courtesy of the Henan Museum
This set of 24 bells is one of only 10 surviving sets made in the latter half of the Zhou dynasty to play a flashy new style of music known as zhengsheng.
Full-bodied depictions of mythical beasts are exceptionally rare, and this drum stand example is one of the finest uncovered to date.
The multicolored decoration on this ceramic pillow illustrates two Confucian scholars in a manicured garden; one plays the qin while the other listens.
This unusual three-story tower houses an ensemble of musicians and dancers for the nobleman’s entertainment, as well as a complement of guards armed with crossbows.
Ceramic drums such as this one are some of the most characteristic instruments used by the Neolithic Yangshao people.
Learn more about these incredible musical and archaeological treasures in MIM’s special exhibition catalog, available for purchase at the Museum Store or online at theMIMstore.org.
Presenting sponsor The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation
Supported by U.S. Bank, Liz Merchant, the Hao and Michelle Wang Foundation, Sanderson Lincoln, Angelo and Micheline Addona, Babette and Richard Burns, Joe and Elizabeth Chan, and Perry and Ann Sells