Image courtesy Cincinnati Art Museum
One of the greatest archeological discoveries is making its Cincinnati debut. Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China opened April 20 at the Cincinnati Art Museum and is on its way to breaking records. But what happens behind the scenes to make this historical exhibition possible? Here are some frequently asked questions about this exceptional show:
- How long does it take to bring an exhibition like this to Cincinnati?
The Cincinnati Art Museum began researching the possibility of bringing the acclaimed Terracotta warriors to our city nearly five years ago. CAM Curator of East Asian Art Dr. Hou-mei Sung had been fascinated with the first Emperor of China since she was a child growing up in China. She grew up to be an expert in Asian Art, and several years ago she began closely collaborating with a colleague, Li Jian, from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in order to research and write a catalogue about the newest discoveries and the importance of the artwork from the Qin dynasty, including the famous warriors. Working with the famous Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, museums from across China and Chinese officials, Sung and Jian undertook complex negotiations. After they were finished, the objects were carefully crated and shipped to the states in 2017. After showing in Virginia, they were sent to Cincinnati.
- Is there one item that is sure to be the showstopper in the exhibit?
You won’t want to miss the warriors, specifically the armored general, who holds the honor of highest-ranking officer. Dr. Sung was also excited to see some of the unique bronze, gold, silver, and jade pieces. Some of the artworks have never been shown outside of China.
- Are there warriors still left to be uncovered in China, or have they all been unearthed?
It’s estimated that only 20 percent of the huge army of 8,000 have been carefully excavated. The three pits that hold the discoveries are a cultural treasure and a huge draw for tourists from around the world.
Yes, the exhibition was carefully curated with families in mind. Visitors can use a family guide to enhance the experience. The kid-friendly materials take your kids on a historical hunt through ancient China. The Rosenthal Education Center also features hands-on activities themed around the art of Asia. Families are also welcome to view the special exhibition and attend family-friendly programs including Family First Saturday: Explore China on May 5 from 12–4 p.m. Enjoy scavenger hunts, visits from local artists, hands-on art-making, performances, and more. For a full list of programs visit CAM’s website.
- Tips for visitors?
Purchase tickets online, or better yet, become a member. The exhibition is certainly drawing a crowd, so if you want to enjoy it at your own pace, you should consider doing so with a membership. Members receive free tickets for the exhibition and have access to special Members-only hours on the weekends.