New gallery reveals skill of Neolithic Chinese potters at The Oriental Museum in Durham

By Culture24 Reporter Published: 16 November 2011

A photo of a piece of blue and white Chinese pottery in the shape of an apple
New Gallery: Chinese Gallery, The Oriental Museum, Durham

Two years ago, Chinese art-historian Xiaoxin Li began an investigation into hundreds of ceramics.

His inquisition surveyed models made for burial in ancient tombs, porcelain created for the Imperial court thousands of years ago, an iron horse and a range of incredible carved jade ornaments.

An image of a Chinese carving of a dog in dark brown and earthy colours
The Oriental Museum is the only collection in the region specifically dedicated to the art and archaeology of the Orient
Now they've gone on show in a new gallery devoted to Chinese art and archaeology, taking over an entire floor of Durham University’s Oriental Museum.

"There is a huge amount of new research being undertaken on Chinese art in China itself, as well as across the world," says Craig Barclay, the curator at the museum.

"New archaeological finds are being made all the time in China that are reshaping our understanding of its history.

"Xiaoxin's work has enabled us to reconsider and redisplay our wonderful collections in the light of this new understanding."

The centre of the display concentrates on Chinese ceramics since the Neolithic period, revealing the immense skill of Chinese potters and the beguiling beauty of their handiwork. It gives prominence to bronze weapons and religious artefacts along the way.

  • Open 10am-5pm (12pm-5pm Saturday-Sunday). Admission £1.50/75p (free for under-5s and students).
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