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VOL. 116 | NO. 159 | Friday, August 16, 2002

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Unearth clay burial figures at Peabody Place Museum

Clay burial figures come alive at Peabody museum


The Daily News

Chinas Han Dynasty, 206 B.C. to A.D. 220, brought the world inventions such as paper, porcelain and the first wheelbarrow, and starting today, visitors to the Peabody Place can see a little bit of the dynastys riches.

Not in treasured and functional inventions, but in clay burial sculptures.

Peabody Place Museums newest exhibit, A Legacy Unearthed: Early Chinese Clay Burial Figures, provides an uncommon glimpse into the past through the enduring centuries-old images included in this collection, said Jack Belz, Peabody Place Museum founder.

The exhibit is part of Belz personal art collection, museum officials said, and will be on display through Oct. 19.

The exhibit consists of 20 rare clay burial sculptures and tomb furnishings. The oldest has been dated to 206 B.C., officials said.

The clay figurines were buried in tombs, typically high-ranking officers or those from upper-class society.

They are shaped in forms often reflecting interests of the deceased, such as polo players, soldiers or dancers, and were considered figures that would accompany the dead into the afterlife. The models or spirit gods are called minqui, (pronounced min-key) museum officials said.

All the sculptures are intricately detailed, an interesting aspect of the artwork, because they were not meant to be seen again after the initial ceremony, officials said.

The museum, on the concourse level of the Pembroke Square building, 119 S. Main St., is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Adult admission is $5.

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is currently carrying an exhibit of Han and Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 to 907) artwork, an exhibit on loan from the Honolulu Art Academy, said museum director Kaywin Feldman.

People are immensely attracted to it, because of the lively and dynamic period of Chinese art history. The figures are so interesting from an historical point of view, Feldman said.

I really credit Jack Belz and the Peabody Place Museum in their efforts to bring another culture to our city.

The Han Dynasty was important to Chinese art in aspects other than tomb figures.

The era was one in which painting became very popular, thanks to the boost from papers invention. Ceramics also became important during the Han Dynasty, because of the many advances in the field of ceramics during the era.

The ancient relics of the new exhibit date back to a time not only of great importance to Chinese art history, but those 400 years included the time of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra and Jesus Christ.

The Peabody Place Museums permanent collection houses more than 600 works, primarily 19th century Chinese art, and includes jade artifacts, ivory carvings; imperial textiles and period furniture. It also includes collections of Judaica, Russian lacquer boxes, European art glass, gemstones, minerals and fossils.


A Legacy Unearthed: Early Chinese Clay Burial Figures

Where: The Peabody Place Museum

When: Aug. 16-Oct. 31

Price: $5 adults; $4.50 seniors; $4 students

Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday

Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

For information: 523-ARTS



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