Explore the influence of early Chinese writing and artefacts on the art of the twentieth century and beyond.
The Chinese script that is in use everywhere today was developed about 2000 years ago. Its origins lie in inscriptions incised on oracles bones in the Shang dynasty (c.1600-1050 BC) and cast on bronzes in the Zhou dynasty (c.1050-221 BC). In the 21st century, calligraphers still write expressively with traditional brush and ink, and artists use characters as a medium to explore language as well as form.
From the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911) archaic forms of script, and the ancient ritual vessels associated with them, appear in paintings as part of a wider revival of scholarly interest in the antique. The paintings, prints and calligraphy in this exhibition show how early writing and artefacts appear in works of art throughout the 20th century and more recently.