The Chinese ceramics collection highlights the early Han (206 BCE–220 CE), Tang (618–907), and Song (960–1279) periods. It encompasses elegant utilitarian vessels as well as ceramic tomb sculptures and models (ming qi).

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The collection of ancient Chinese metalwork includes such diverse works as lamps, masks, decorative plaques, belt hooks, miniature bells, mirrors, and tiny gilt figures. These pieces span the Early Western Zhou (1100–771 BCE), Warring States (475–221 BCE), Han (206 BCE–220 CE) and Tang (618–907) periods.

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Ritual Bronzes

The Chinese ritual bronzes includes classic forms like gui, gu, hu, pan and jue supplemented by bells, incense burners, and a xian or steam kettle.The late Shang (1600–1100 BCE), Western Zhou (1100–771 BCE) and Eastern Zhou (770–256 BCE) periods are all represented.

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The Chinese sculpture collection focuses on Buddhist works from the Tang (618–907) through the Ming (1368–1644) dynasties. The pieces range from life-size stone figures and wooden images to gilt lacquer figures. It also includes two large Han (206 BCE–220 AD) dynasty ceramic funerary pillars.

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Chu Silk Manuscript

The oldest existing written work from China, this silk manuscript bears 926 characters of ancient Chu script concerning the astrological almanac and mythological beliefs of the Chu people. The text, written in black, is in three parts; the first segment is written right side up, the next is inverted and the third portion runs along the four outer edges. Twelve fantastic figures, possibly the zodiac signs or the deities of the twelve months, are arranged in groups of three on each of the four sides. The stylized trees in each corner, rendered in green, red, white and black, probably symbolize the four seasons. The silk textile varies in tone from dark to light brown, with red pigmentation in some areas.

Time Magazine, September 1, 1967

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