Vibrant Bounty: Chinese Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region

As brilliant as the petals of a lotus and as bold as a spring storm, these folk paintings and artifacts of rural China reveal a national spirit that is as charming as it is vital. By depicting scenes of labor within lavish pastoral settings, the paintings celebrate the farmers’ unity amidst the immensity of nature. The artifacts in Vibrant Bounty reveal a humanity that aids us in understanding a people half a world away.

 

Vibrant Bounty: Chinese Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region invites visitors on a journey through Shaanxi Province, one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. The capital city, Xi’an, was once the Eastern terminus of ancient Silk Road, and is famous for its ancient ruins, most notably the Mausoleum of Qui Shi Huang and his Terracotta Army. In an area outside of the city’s center lies Huxian (or Hu) County, where, since the 1950s, local artists have been producing objects similar to the twenty-five paintings and fourteen objects found in Vibrant Bounty. This tradition has achieved great reknown in China, culminating in the state Ministry of Culture awarding Huxian the honorary title of a “Village of Chinese Modern Folk Painting” in 1988.

These peasant, or farmer, paintings are closely related to the traditional Chinese arts of embroidery, batik (a fabric dying method), paper-cut, and wall painting. The artists use shui fen (paint powder and water—similar to gouache or tempera) on thick paper to create the paintings. While Huxian peasant paintings depict ordinary aspects of people’s lives, the vibrant colors emanate from an animated atmosphere, and are only enriched by frequent hyperbole and moral connotations. Festivals, parades, the harvest, music, village traditions, farm animals, winter, kitchen work, and children are all celebrated in these paintings.

The artifacts included in this collection expose us further to Chinese rural life and they show, in detail, traditional Shaanxi customs. They range from children’s clothing and toys to New Year’s prints and decorative household items, often embroidered with lucky figures and animals. Not only are they carefully handmade and beautiful, they also hold symbolic wishes for good luck, good marriage, and good health. Both the art and the objects featured in this exhibition introduce us to a region of China, which, like the American Midwest, is dominated by agriculture and populated with working people. Through these peasant paintings and the artifacts which accompany them, we gain a greater understanding of the customs and culture of a people who, despite great distances, share with us essential similarities.

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Availability

Vibrant Bounty will tour January 2017 through January 2021. The dates below reflect seven-week exhibition periods. Dates are subject to change; please contact MoreArt@ maaa.org or (800) 473-3872 x208/209 for current availability.

  • January 28–March 16, 2017 Temecula Valley Museum
    Temecula, CA
    booked
  • April 16–May 25, 2017 Roland Park Country School
    Baltimore, MD
    pending
  • June 16–August 11, 2017 Sioux City Public Museum
    Sioux City, IA
    booked
  • September 1–October 20, 2017
    available
  • November 10, 2017–January 7, 2018
    available
  • January 25–March 16, 2018 Kean University
    Union, NJ
    booked
  • April 6–May 25, 2018
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2018
    available
  • September 1–October 20, 2018
    available
  • November 10, 2018–January 7, 2019
    available
  • January 28–March 16, 2019
    available
  • April 6–May 25, 2019
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2019
    available
  • September 1–October 20, 2019
    available
  • November 10, 2019–January 7, 2020
    available
  • January 28–March 16, 2020
    available
  • April 6–May 25, 2020
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2020
    available
  • September 1–October 20, 2020
    available
  • November 10, 2020–January 7, 2021
    available

Exhibition Details

Twenty-five paintings and fourteen objects

  • Content

    Fee Includes:
    Press Kit
    Registrar’s Packet
    Programming Guide
    Gallery Guide
    Text Panels
    Narrative Labels
    Full Insurance
    Installation Instructions
    Custom-Designed and Built Crates

  • Curated By

    ExhibitsUSA, Mid-America Arts Alliance

  • Organized By

    ExhibitsUSA, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO

  • Out-of-Region Rental Fee

    $3,000

  • In-Region Rental Fee

    $1,500 for venues hosting before July 1, 2017; $2,100 for venues hosting after July 1, 2017

  • Duration

    7-week display

  • Shipping

    Common Carrier

  • Running Feet

    200

  • Square Feet

    100

  • Security

    Moderate A

  • Number of Crates/Total Weight

    TBD

  • Insurance

    The exhibition is fully insured by ExhibitsUSA at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.