Since ancient times, the Chinese have mastered division of labor, which enabled them to fabricate complex objects and in great quantity. This mode of production has led some scholars to characterize Chinese art as “modular.” This installation, from the Seattle Art Museum's Asian art collection, features pairs and sets of similar objects that are a result of that productivity. More important, the matching works are imbued with balance and harmony that make the sets more visually appealing and important than the sums of the parts.
Guardian, Chinese, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), 15th–16th century, gilded bronze and pearl, 29 x 19 3/4 x 12 5/8 in.,
Seattle Art Museum, Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection, 33.819