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Curatorial Research Trip to China

by Hou-mei Sung


terracotta army , terracotta , china , xian , research , curatorial , emporer , archaeology


In June 2015, I made a trip to Xian, China. Although I have long been familiar with this great archaeological discovery and even used it in my teachings in the past, it is the first time for me to visit the actual site. Nothing prepared me for the excitement of seeing the massive display of thousands of warriors standing or kneeling in the pits.





It also reminds me of how challenging it is for museum curators to introduce or interpret art works in their original contexts. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the experience, especially because in the spring of 2018 the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) will organize the exhibition, Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China. The exhibition will first open at Virginia Museum of Fine Art on November 2017 and afterward come to us at CAM. While the exhibition may not be able to bring the whole terracotta army and the full scale of the impressive excavation site, visitors will learn a great deal about the historical processes that were involved in the creation of the world’s longest-lasting empire.