Event Watch: The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army (Montreal, Feb 11 – Jun 26)

Terracotta Warriors Set To Make Rare Appearance At Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

An unarmored high-ranking officer, one of the 10 terracotta sculptures in the exhibition (Image: PR)

An unarmored high-ranking officer, one of the 10 terracotta sculptures in the exhibition (Image: PR)

Fresh off of their last overseas appearance in Sydney, the Terracotta warriors of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, are set to storm Montreal as part of a wide-ranging exhibition encapsulating 1,000 years of Chinese history. Taking place from February 11 – June 26 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, “The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army” includes 240 rare artifacts, including many that have only recently been excavated from Qin Shi Huang’s vast tomb complex near Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, and many others that are being shown outside of China for the first time.

Beyond presenting a cross-section of the life and legacy of Emperor Ying Zheng (259-210 BCE), the exhibition sheds light on the creation of a new cultural and geopolitical cohesion that would influence Chinese history for centuries to come. This exhibition gives visitors a rare opportunity to see a highly diverse collection of archaeological objects that may not leave China again for years. According to Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, this exhibition is part of the museum’s broader scheme to incorporate more programming that deals with the ancient world. Said Bondil, “Reflecting our overall vision for the Museum, the presentation of this exhibition, along with the appointment of our first Curator of Asian Art, Laura Vigo, and the coming re-installation of our collections, confirms our intention to give greater visibility to ancient cultures.”

Duke of Qin’s bo bell (Image: PR)

Duke of Qin’s bo bell (Image: PR)

Dating back 2,200 years, ten larger-than-life terracotta sculptures will be the star attraction of this exhibition. The two high-ranking officers, four soldiers, a civic official, an acrobat and two horses presented in the exhibition are among the approximately 2,000 unique sculptures that have been excavated from the numerous pits at the tomb of Qin Shi Huang since 1974. Rare bronze sculptures, including a goose, unearthed in 2005 from what is thought to be the site of the sovereign’s water garden, other never-before-exhibited relics, and many funerary figurines, ornaments in jade and gold, swords, coins and adornments, architectural elements and military accessories from the imperial tombs of the Emperors Gaozu and Jing of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) will trace the history of nearly ten centuries of funeral rites.

Organized by the Royal Ontario Museum in partnership with the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau and the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center (PRC), with the collaboration of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, “The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army” will be accompanied by a wide-ranging program of lectures, guided tours, concerts and other activities. Additionally, guest coordinator René Rozon, Director of Montreal’s International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), will select a number of films to be shown in the Museum’s Maxwell Cummings Auditorium through the run of the exhibition.

The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army (February 11 – June 26, 2011)
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1380 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1J5
Tel: 514-285-2000
Event Website

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