The Eternal Feast: Banqueting in Chinese Art from the 10th to the 14th Century

Chinese, Liao dynasty, 907–1125. Coffin box panel: Outdoor Banquet (detail), 10th–early 11th century. Wood with lacquer-based pigment. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund (1995-86)

The Eternal Feast: Banqueting in Chinese Art from the 10th to the 14th Century brings to life the art of the feast during three transformative Chinese dynasties, the Song, Liao, and Yuan, which together enjoyed a thriving economy, cultural flourishing, and the intermingling of foreign and native traditions. Focusing on a rare group of surviving paintings from the periodalong with ceramic, lacquer, metal, and stone objects as well as textilesthe exhibition reveals feasts to be singularly positioned to illuminate one of the most enduring and significant facets of the Chinese tradition: the continuum between life and the afterlife. The exhibition features fifty objects arranged in sections that focus on ladies banqueting in the past, gentlemen feasting in the present, and dining in the afterlife. Several other aspects of elite feasting—including costume, cuisine, music, and dance, as well as burial customs, architecture and gardens, artistic patronage, and painterly practice—are also explored, offering a window into life, death, and art during a time period whose cultural influence extends in China to the present day.

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The Eternal Feast: Banqueting in Chinese Art from the 10th to the 14th Century is made possible by lead support from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; the John B. Elliott, Class of 1951, Asian Art Fund; the Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Exhibitions Fund; Henry Luce Foundation; and the Cotsen Chinese Study Fund. Generous support is also provided by the Blakemore Foundation; Christopher E. Olofson, Class of 1992; David Loevner, Class of 1976, and Catherine Loevner; Robert L. Poster, Class of 1962, and Amy Poster; and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional supporters include Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Religion, P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Program in East Asian Studies, and Center for Collaborative History; the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; Nancy H. Lin, Class of 1977, and C. Morris Smith, Class of 1976; Shao F. and Cheryl Wang; the Chopra Family Youth and Community Program Fund; and the Partners and Friends of the Princeton University Art Museum.

The accompanying publication is made possible with support from the Barr Ferree Foundation Fund for Publications, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund; and the Shau-wai and Marie Lam Family Foundation.

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