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Li Jian (art historian)

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Li Jian is a Chinese-American art historian and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Curator of East Asian Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.[1][2][3] She began her work as chief curator of Asian art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 2007. She was curator of the archaeological blockbuster exhibition, Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China, which opened at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on November 18, 2017 and drew nearly 80,000 visitors before closing on March 11, 2018. The exhibition curated by Li Jian then traveled to the Cincinnati Art Museum of Ohio.[4][5][6]

Education and experience[edit]

Li Jian studied English language and management, earning a BA at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute. She earned an MA in the history of art from the University of Minnesota.[7]

In 2003 in Ohio, Li Jian was Curator of the Dayton Art Institute's exhibit Glory of the Silk Road: Art from Ancient China.[8] The Dayton Art Institute was also the former home of VMFA Director Alex Nyerges. In addition to leading a major renovation of the Dayton museum's Asian wing, she organized the exhibition "Glory of the Silk Road: Art from Ancient China" featuring works from 14 museums and archaeological institutes in China.

In Richmond, Virginia she became a member of the affiliate faculty of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts drawn from the staff of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Affiliate faculty are selected museum professionals who contribute to VCU's graduate program by supervising internships, offering guest lectures, serving on dissertation committees, and teaching museum studies courses.[9] Li Jian has published two exhibition catalogues, Eternal China: Art from the First Dynasties (1998) and The Glory of the Silk Road: Art from Ancient China (2003).[10]

In 2018, Li Jian, as curator of the Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China show at the VMFA led a group of travelers to China to study the conservation of innovative third-century B.C. Chinese bronze bird sculptures in Xian and to visit the site of the archaeological discovery of the terracotta warriors. Accompanying Li Jian on this visit were other museum officials from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Cincinnati Art Museum, members of the press, and a videographer. First the group visited the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology and the Shaanxi History Museum.[11]

The monju scroll[edit]

Li Jian described the monju scroll, a 14th-century Japanese scroll of the Kamakura period in an interview at the VMFA, explaining, "First, we acquired this painting and most of our Buddhist hanging scrolls, in the sixties. During that time, the museum contracted a curator, who retired from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to acquire artworks for the museum. This curator, Alan Priest (1898-1969), who lived in Kyoto, Japan in the 1960s, helped the museum acquire nearly eighty paintings and calligraphy."[12]

Glory of the Silk Road[edit]

Laura Bergman, a curator of the Dayton Art Institute discussed with amazement the Glory of the Silk Road: Art from Ancient China, curated by Li Jian, the museum’s Asian art curator. Bergman and Li Jian highlighted treasures of the exhibition, such as a ceramic groomsman from ancient Turfan and a gilt bronze Buddha from Xi’an. Unearthed from three excavation areas in China, Xinjiang, Ganxu Corridor and Xi’an, the 176 items in the exhibit included sixth to ninth century jade, silk tapestries and bronze statues commonly associated with ancient China, along with treasured artifacts of gold, glass and precious stones from Greece, the Roman Empire, and India. The days of the Tang Dynasty were among the most open times of Chinese history in their appreciation of other cultures.[13]

The Terracotta Army[edit]

Terracotta Army 24

In 2017 Li Jian was curator of the Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China, the Qin Dynasty terracotta soldiers exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.[14] The VMFA's director, Alex Neryges,[15] stated that the Terracotta Army was the biggest archaeological discovery of all time calling the Qin Shi Huang dynasty “one of the most amazing civilizations in the history of our planet.”[16][17] Discovered in 1974,[18] the realistic terracotta portraits of the soldiers were uncovered by a farmer digging a well near the early capital city of China, Xianyang. Neryges reported record-breaking attendance at the VMFA for this exhibition.[19]

References[edit]

  1. "VMFA hires new East Asian art curator". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  2. "Meet the Curators - Virginia Museum of Fine Arts". Virginia Museum of Fine Arts |. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  3. "Li Jian Archives - Statewide Programs". www.vmfa.museum. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  4. Hall, Malik. "Enter The Tomb: The Exquisite Legacy of the Qin Dynasty Comes to the VMFA". RVA Magazine. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  5. "2018 Terracotta Army Exhibition Schedule, Overseas Exhibit List". www.travelchinaguide.com. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  6. "Cincinnati Art Museum: Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China". Cincinnati Art Museum. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  7. "Li Jian Archives - Statewide Programs". www.vmfa.museum. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  8. "THE GLORY OF THE SILK ROAD: Art from Ancient China | Dayton Art Institute". www.daytonartinstitute.org. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  9. "Full-time Faculty - VCUarts Art History". VCUarts Art History. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  10. "Monju Scroll: Talking to the Curator - Art + Science". www.vmfa.museum. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  11. Calos, Katherine (10 January 2018). "VMFA in China: Early Birds". richmondmagazine.com. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  12. "Monju Scroll: Talking to the Curator - Art + Science". www.vmfa.museum. 8 December 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  13. "Local curator walks the Silk Road". www.ysnews.com. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  14. Adams, Amanda Dalla Villa. "Buried Over Two Millennia Ago, China's Terracotta Soldiers Come to VMFA". Style Weekly. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  15. "VMFA Director given ambassador title in advance of Terracotta Army opening - VMFA Press Room". www.vmfa.museum. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  16. Hall, Malik. "Enter The Tomb: The Exquisite Legacy of the Qin Dynasty Comes to the VMFA". RVA Magazine. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  17. Birkenmeyer, Seth. "Terracotta Army invades Richmond's VMFA". vagazette.com. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  18. "FIRST LOOK: 'Terracotta Army' exhibition at VMFA". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  19. "Exhibit explores the history of China's first emperor". SFGate. Retrieved 28 December 2017.

External links[edit]


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