The Kitan were nomadic horse-riding warriors who took control of northern China around the year 1000 AD. They ruled a territory that stretched from Mongolia to Manchuria and as far south as present-day Beijing. They referred to themselves as the "Liao Dynasty" and their military prowess put fear into the heart of the Chinese Song Dynasty. Although dismissed by Chinese historians as the "Barbarian Dynasty", the treasures of the Liao testify to its awe-inspiring splendour and display a unique synthesis of nomadic and Chinese traditions. During the 10th and 11th centuries, the Liao Dynasty was the most powerful dynastic line in Eastern Asia and even maintained trade relations with countries on the Baltic Sea. This exhibition was the first of its kind in Europe and presented approx. 200 pieces of art which were discovered in the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in recent decades. Some of the most impressive exhibits included the ceremonial death armour of the Princess of Chen, who died in 1018 AD, and that of her husband, as well as precious antiques from the treasure of the White Pagoda.
Artistic director: Adele Schlombs
Concept and content: Shen Xueman (CHN)
Venues and schedule:
Museum of Far Eastern Art, Cologne 27 Jan. - 22 Apr. 2007
Museum Rietberg, Zürich (CH), 13 May - 15 Jul. 2007
Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst