This stunning exhibition unveils the remarkable art and historical legacy of two mysterious kingdoms of ancient China.
Phoenix Kingdoms brings to life the distinctive Bronze Age cultures that flourished along the middle course of the Yangzi River in South Central China about 2,500 years ago. With over 150 objects on loan from five major Chinese museums, Phoenix Kingdoms explores the artistic and spiritual landscape of the southern borderland of the Zhou dynasty, featuring remarkable archaeological finds unearthed from aristocratic tombs of the phoenix-worshipping Zeng and Chu kingdoms. By revealing the splendid material cultures of these legendary states, whose history has only recently been recovered, Phoenix Kingdoms highlights the importance of this region in forming a southern style that influenced centuries of Chinese art.
This exhibition catalogue includes six essays that contextualize the stylistically rich material—mythical creatures, elaborate patterns, and elegant forms—and introduces readers to the technologically and artistically sophisticated cultures that thrived before China’s first empire. Lavishly illustrated with over 240 images, Phoenix Kingdoms showcases works from the exhibition across six categories—jades, bronze ritual vessels, musical instruments and weapons, lacquerware for luxury and ceremony, funerary bronze and wood objects, and textiles and unique objects featuring distinctive designs—many of which are considered national treasures.
Published in association with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.