The HKU Museum Society is pleased to visit the exhibition Hunters, Warriors, Spirits: Nomadic Art of North China with Dr. Isabelle Frank, Director of the Indra and Harry Banga Gallery at City University.
The ancient nomads of North China were hunters and warriors, traders who facilitated exchange in goods, technology, ideas, arts, and were also builders of empires. Living a highly mobile life wedded to chasing the game and herding flocks of animals, they bequeathed a wondrous artistic legacy within which men and beasts, predators and prey, culture and nature, are interlocked in an unending cycle of life and death. Today, this world is vividly preserved in the ancient nomads’ artistic heritage, but also in the profound spirituality that pervades them, expressive of an ideal relationship between humans and nature that is more relevant today than ever before.
Presented through over two hundred and fifty art objects, this exhibition tells the story of the nomads from their dim beginnings, during the early 1st millennium, to the “golden age” between the 10th and 13th centuries. To bring these objects to life, the narrative is filtered through the diverse lens of archaeology, art history, anthropology, as well as the broader perspective of cultural exchange across Eurasia.
In addition to the ancient objects, mainly loaned by the Mengdiexuan Collection, the exhibition also features over twenty contemporary sculptures by Buryat maestro Dashi Namdakov, photography by Marc Progin, new media works by Jeffrey Shaw and Sarah Kenderdine, and animations by June Zhang.
The Indra and Harry Banga Gallery is known for uniting art and technology, providing new ways of experiencing and enjoying works of art. In this exhibition, visitors can admire two original shamans’ costumes shown in 3D with interactive tools that explain the meaning and symbolism of the various parts. An iDome projection of a monumental, 5th-century Buddha, from the Yungang Grotto, also transports viewers to the cave itself, while animations of Shaman stories will help children appreciate the beauty of the early nomadic tales.