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Gilt-bronze, Agate and Turquoise Bear, Han period, 206 BC - 220 AD | Courtesy of Ezkenazi Gallery
Gilt-bronze, Agate and Turquoise Bear, Han period, 206 BC - 220 AD | Courtesy of Ezkenazi Gallery
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See 2,500 Years Of Chinese Antiquities At London's Eskenazi Gallery

Picture of Harriet Clugston
Updated: 3 November 2016
Demonstrating the collective, creative brilliance of over 2,500 years worth of artisans, a new London exhibition will bring together highly coveted pieces of ancient Chinese art, some of which have been sought after by dealers and museums for centuries. Timed to coincide with the 19th Asian Art in London festival, the exhibition gives Londoners the chance to get to grips with the rich tapestry of China’s art, exploring the integral part played by the natural world in its motifs and imagery.

The exhibition, taking place in Mayfair’s renowned Eskenazi Gallery, will bring together 24 rare pieces from private collections, in a number of mediums and stretching from the late Neolithic period (around 2,000 BC) through to 907 AD, the end of the Tang dynasty.

Shang or Early Western Zhou period, 11th century BC|Courtesy of Eskenazi Gallery
Archaic Bronze Wine Vessel and Cover (You), Shang or Early Western Zhou period, 11th century BC | Courtesy of Eskenazi Gallery

The core of the collection involves ancient bronze vessels — one such piece, a ritual wine vessel, dates from the 11th century BC and would have stood atop an altar in the Western Zhou period. As well as stunning bronze pieces, the exhibition will showcase works in jade, gold, silver, bone, and inlaid metalwork, much of which are intricately adorned with animalistic carvings of dragons, birds, and bears.

Gilt-bronze, Agate and Turquoise Bear, Han period, 206 BC - 220 AD|Courtesy of Ezkenazi Gallery
Gilt-bronze, Agate and Turquoise Bear, Han period, 206 BC-220 AD | Courtesy of Ezkenazi Gallery

Other pieces include a gilt-bronze dragon head dating from the second century BC; an ancient (and presumably inconveniently heavy) bronze and gold sword from the fourth century BC, a mysterious ‘archaic jade notched disc’, possibly up to 2000 years old, the purpose of which is unknown to this day, and a small jade figurine from the Tang dynasty that also appeared in 1975 in the V&A’s ‘landmark exhibition’ on the history of Chinese jades.

Late Neolithic period – Shang period, 2000 - 1500 BC|Courtesy of Ezrenazi Gallery
Archaic Jade Notched Disc, Late Neolithic period – Shang period, 2000-1500 BC | Courtesy of Ezrenazi Gallery

The variety of pieces on show combined with the scale of the time span it covers will make this the most diverse exhibition that Eskenazi — a six-floor space dedicated to Oriental art — has held since 2003.

The exhibition will run from Thursday 3rd November – Friday 25th November. More information here.