Ancient Threads, Newly Woven: Recent Art from China’s Silk Road

The ancient Silk Road began in Xian, China and wound its way across deserts and mountains, ultimately to reach the Middle East, Europe and Africa. This 2,000-year-old route facilitated the exchange of goods and ideas that brought profound changes to people living on or near its passage. It played a significant role in the development of human civilization.

Although a number of exhibitions have been organized around ancient artifacts recovered along this route, Ancient Threads, Newly Woven presents for the first time little known contemporary art from these distant, multicultural provinces. This exhibit explores the work of artists living along the Northern route of the Silk Road. Beginning in Xian onto Lanzhou, Dunhuang, Urumqi and Kashgar, the area is surrounded by high mountains, harsh desert landscapes and occasional oases. It focuses on ways in which their artworks reflect the influence of the many cultures that have traversed the route over the centuries. The stunning quality of the art will surprise many viewers, as it differs markedly from what is usually thought of as traditional Chinese painting. A sense of place and pride in local culture born from multi-ethnic roots has inspired these artists, and the results are beautiful, unique and full of brilliant color.

The Chinese Culture Foundation wishes to thank Meridian International Center for the loan of this exhibition and for providing the catalog and educational materials. A special thank you to curator Nancy Matthew of Meridian International Center, and curator Xu Hong of The China International Exhibition Agency. Major funding for this exhibition is provided by the San Francisco Hotel Tax. Additional funding is provided by members of the Chinese Culture Center.