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Past Exhibitions

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A Black-and-White World: The Art and Lessons of Chinese Rubbings

Apr 10 – Nov 29 2009

Seattle Asian Art Museum

Foster Galleries

Conceived to preserve and replicate inscribed characters and images–often on ancient stone slabs–rubbings have been collectible items for more than a thousand years. This installation features two groups of rubbings carved some 1,600 years apart and representing two vastly different worldviews: the Confucian order and the Buddhist law. The rubbings in the first group were "pulled" from the carved walls of the Wu Family Shrines, built in AD 151 in Shandong province. The other group comes from stone slabs depicting the Sixteen Luohans (enlightened beings that the Buddha exempted from the cycle of rebirth), created for a temple in Hangzhou in 1764. Within these two groups of images, exemplars of model behavior vary from assassins to chaste widows to monks. Sometimes, art and truth are simply black and white.

–Josh Yiu, Foster Foundation Associate
Curator of Chinese Art

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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