The Terracotta Warriors will tomorrow invade Melbourne for a landmark exhibition at the National Gallery on Victoria International.
In a dual presentation of Chinese art and culture past and present, the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series presents China’s ancient Terracotta Warriors alongside a parallel display of new works by one of the world’s most exciting contemporary artists Cai Guo-Qiang.
Developed and curated by the NGV, Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality is a large-scale presentation of the Qin Emperor’s Terracotta Warriors, which, discovered in 1974 in China’s Shaanxi province, are regarded as one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century and widely described as the eighth wonder of the world.
The exhibition features eight warrior figures and two life-size horses from the Imperial Army, as well as two half-size replica bronze chariots, each drawn by four horses.
These sculptures are contextualised by a presentation of more than 160 exquisite ancient treasures of Chinese historic art and design, drawn by the NGV from leading museums and archaeological sites from across Shaanxi province.
These include priceless gold, jade and bronze artefacts that date from the Western Zhou through to the Han dynasties (1046 BC-220AD).
Presented in parallel, Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape features all new art works by contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang inspired by his home country’s culture and its enduring philosophical traditions.
Created especially for this exhibition, highlight works include the installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds, Murmuration (Landscape), 2019.
Spiralling over visitors’ heads, the birds create a three-dimensional impression of a calligraphic drawing of the sacred Mount Li, the site of the ancient tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuang, and his warriors.
Tony Ellwood AM, the director of the NGV said: "Thirty-six years ago, in 1982, the National Gallery of Victoria presented the first international exhibition of China’s ancient Terracotta Warriors only several years after their discovery.
"History will be made again in 2019, when the Qin Emperor’s Terracotta Army will return to the NGV for the 2019 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition series – this time in a sophisticated dialogue with the work one of China’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Cai Guo-Qiang."
This exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, in partnership with Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, Shaanxi History Museum, Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre, and Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum of the People's Republic of China.
It will will be on display from May 24-October 13 at the NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Members $24, adult $30, concession $25, child $10, family (two adults + three children) $65.