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“Lively Creatures: Animals in Chinese Art” Opens at The Nelson-Atkins Museum

Ren Renfa, Nine Horses, 1324, handscroll, ink and color on silk, 12 1/2 x 103 in.

Lively Creatures: Animals in Chinese Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
December 16, 2021-September 4, 2022

For millennia, Chinese artists have created images of animals that convey a rich array of culturally significant meanings. Literary sources, spiritual traditions, or the nature of animals inspired artists to create animal motifs in many art forms. These creatures may represent celebration, personal messages, or political and religious agendas. Though the cultural meaning carried by images of animals has evolved over time, their significance to Chinese artistic traditions has remained constant. From the museum’s renowned collection of Chinese art, many of the paintings and textiles in this exhibition greet visitors for the first time in decades. Together they celebrate the beauty of the natural world and tell stories that connect human and animal behavior.

Dragon Badge, Late Ming Dynasty (1552-1644), silk and metallic thread embroidery, 22 x 22 in.

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