The BP exhibition

Ming
50 years that
changed China

18 September 2014 –
5 January 2015

#Ming50Years

Exhibition closed


Supported by BP BP logo


★★★★★  'magnificent'  The Telegraph

★★★★  'spectacular'  The Times

★★★★  'a sparkling show'  London Evening Standard

Watch the exhibition trailer


Explore beautiful objects from China in this major exhibition.

A powerful dynasty

The fifty years between 1400 and 1450 saw China’s Ming dynasty establish Beijing as the capital and build the world-famous Forbidden City. The emperors who ruled this vast swathe of territory used princes to control the regions, and many of the exhibition’s treasures originated from those imperial and princely courts.

A world of global trade and influence

China was a global superpower thoroughly connected with the outside world. Official missions led by Zheng He journeyed as far as East Africa, India and Arabia. The objects brought back from these voyages influenced Chinese artists, and they created some of the most beautiful objects and paintings ever made.

Exquisite objects never seen before

New excavations over the past ten years have unearthed a wealth of new treasures, never before seen in the UK. Spectacular objects in the exhibition include exquisite porcelain, gold, jewellery, furniture, paintings, sculptures and textiles. These are drawn from museums across China and the rest of the world, as well as the British Museum’s own collection.

Art Exhibitions China – principal Chinese contributor


Membership

See the exhibition for free as a Member

Tickets

Adults £16.50, Children free


Visiting

18 September 2014 – 5 January 2015

Opening times

Open daily 10.00–17.30, Fridays until 20.30
Last entry 90 minutes before closing

Getting here

Room 30, Sainsburys Exhibition Gallery
British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Group visits

Special group rates available
Bookings +44 (0)20 7323 8181 tickets@britishmuseum.org

Access 

Facilities 


Highlights

Portrait of an official in front of the Beijing imperial palace. Hanging scroll, ink and colours on silk. China, about 1480–1580 (detail)
Presentation sword (jian) and scabbard. China, Ming dynasty, Yongle period, 1402–1424 (detail) © Royal Armouries
Cloisonné jar, decorated with dragons and imperial mark. China, Ming dynasty, Xuande mark and period, 1426–1435 One of a pair of gold pillow ends, decorated with two dragons. Beijing or Nanjing, China, Ming dynasty, Xuande period, 1426–1435

Made in China: an imperial Ming vase

This stunning blue-and-white vase with lotus decoration is the largest Ming imperial porcelain of its kind in the British Museum collection, and will be touring the UK in 2014–15.

Imperial porcelain reflected a courtly interest in other cultures, and its manufacture was strictly controlled to meet the highest standards. Ming porcelain has long been prized by collectors in Britain and around the world.

Supported by BP

Currently at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery



Timeline

Red lacquer vase

See some of the key moments in Ming China in the period AD 1400-1450, alongside notable events from the rest of the world.

Explore the timeline  

Blog

Read the latest article from the Ming blog 

Tumblr

beaten gold head-dress

Discover examples of outstanding craftsmanship from the exhibition

Find out more about some of the objects on display, such as this headdress made of beaten gold, in materials from lacquer to cloisonné.

See more on Tumblr 


Loan objects

A number of objects borrowed for this exhibition will be recommended for protection under Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (protection of cultural objects on loan).

For more information 


Main image:
Cloisonné jar, decorated with dragons and imperial mark. China, Ming dynasty, Xuande mark and period, 1426–1435 (detail)

Highlight images:
Portrait of an official in front of the Beijing imperial palace. Hanging scroll, ink and colours on silk. China, about 1480–1580 (detail)
Presentation sword (jian) and scabbard. China, Ming dynasty, Yongle period, 1402–1424 (detail) © Royal Armouries
Cloisonné jar, decorated with dragons and imperial mark. China, Ming dynasty, Xuande mark and period, 1426–1435
One of a pair of gold pillow ends, decorated with two dragons. Beijing or Nanjing, China, Ming dynasty, Xuande period, 1426–1435

UK tour image:
Large porcelain flask painted with underglaze blue decoration. Made in Jingdezhen, China. Ming dynasty, Xuande mark and period, 1426–1435. © The Trustees of the British Museum.


Recommend this exhibition