The V&A's autumn exhibition, Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900, will be the most ambitious survey of one of the world's greatest artistic traditions. It will gather together the finest examples of Chinese painting created over a 1200 year period and will show more than 70 works including some of the earliest surviving Chinese paintings as well as other exceptionally rare works loaned from the greatest international collections. From small scale intimate works by monks and literati to a 14 metre-long scroll painting, many of the paintings will be shown in Europe for the first time.
The exhibition will examine the recurrent themes and evolving aesthetics characteristic of Chinese paintings and will look at the constant interplay between tradition and innovation. It will consider how paintings were created for a variety of settings from tombs, temples, palaces, domestic houses and private gardens and in a range of formats from banners, screens, hand-held fans to portable handscrolls and hanging scrolls. Materials, including a large chunk of ultramarine pigment created from lapis lazuli discovered in a 10th-century artist’s studio and studio equipment reconstructed according to a 14th-century manual will reveal the technical process and traditional techniques employed.
Martin Roth, Director of the V&A said: "The V&A has been collecting and exhibiting Chinese art since the Museum was founded. It is an honour to present this once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the greatest examples of Chinese painting together and understanding how they were created. We are indebted to our numerous lenders around the world for allowing us a rare opportunity to present these magnificent masterpieces, a number of which are national treasures and have never before left Asia."