Founded in 1368, the Ming dynasty spanned a period of 276 years during which 16 emperors ascended the throne. It was the last unified and centralised dynasty ruled by the Han Chinese after the Tang and the Song dynasties. Ming culture was resplendent and multifarious. The dynasty saw the peak of traditional cultural development as well as the gradual sprouting of new cultures. Productivity surpassed that of the Song and the Yuan times, and commodity economy enjoyed unprecedented prosperity, pushing the progress of folk culture and the standard of artistic creation to new heights. Furthermore, frequent communications between Ming China and foreign countries brought about the import of foreign culture, subsequently unfolding a brand new scenario in the social development of the time.
This exhibition made possible by the generous support of individual members of the Min Chiu Society features around 300 sets of items from their precious collections. They include porcelains, lacquers, cloisonné enamels, jades, textiles, furniture, gold and silver wares, paintings, calligraphies, scholar's objects, recreational objects and religious figures. It is hoped that these exhibits will guide the audience through the history and culture of the Ming dynasty from fresh and diverse perspectives. Among the highlights of the exhibits are imperial porcelains and lacquers, porcelains and gilt metal wares with strong Arabic flavour and multifarious religious characteristics, succinctly shaped Ming-style furniture, magnificent textiles, exquisite openwork jade belt plaques, paintings and calligraphies of the ‘Four Literary Masters of the Wuzhong Region (Suzhou)̛, and scholar objects epitomising the taste of the literati.
We are delighted to present this special guided tour with fellow member and collector contributing to this exhibition, Anthony K.W. Cheung. He is a member of the prestigious Min Chiu Society and a renowned collector of Chinese art focusing on Ming and Qing imperial ceramics. The Huaihaitang Collection was started in the early 1980s when Anthony came across several important porcelain collections at local auctions and exhibitions. An entrepreneur-cum-collector, Anthony is also an accomplished scholar of Art. His unique connoisseurship is revealed in his extensive collections of imperial Chinese porcelain from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Anthony has supported university and public art museums in Hong Kong through numerous donations and loaned exhibits.