The Silk Road. Ancient Chinese Art
From 22 October 2016 to 8 January 2017, the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE (6 Dome Square, Riga) in collaboration with the Art Exhibitions China offers its visitors an exhibition “The Silk Road. Ancient Chinese Art”.

With a history of more than a thousand years the ancient Silk Road has provided the cultural, political and economic exchange between the East and the West guiding traders through countless rivers and roads, through mountains and valleys. It began in the Ancient China and connected Central and West-Asia to Europe leaving innumerable historical proof from regions which spread along the Silk Road.


The exhibition The Silk Road. Ancient Chinese Art displays around hundred artefacts starting from the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046–771 BC) until Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD) from a region from which the ancient Silk Road began and demonstrates the interaction between Eastern and Western cultures during this period. The Silk Road influenced both material and religious life of people. It provided Europe with opportunities to get acquainted with new craft techniques, materials, cultures and religions. Meanwhile European influences also travelled back to China and were reflected in the ornaments and images used in art and crafts and also China was introduced with different cultures and religions.


Although the trade routes started to develop already before the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) the first flourishing of the Silk Road started in this period. Therefore visitors will have a chance to see brilliant examples of ceramics, bronze, jade, gold, lacquer and textile art of the Han Dynasties.


The second rise of the Silk Road is connected with the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), which is considered one of the peak points of the Ancient Chinese Culture. Several artefacts from the Tang Dynasty present one of the symbols of the Silk Road – a camel. Trade caravans often used camels to carry weight. Camel is depicted in different materials from ceramics to gold.


Also different varieties of textiles are displayed in the exhibition. Through times diverse objects were used for exchange and trading, but the significance of the silk and other textiles is indescribable. The Silk Road earned its name from the silk and textiles gained popularity among traders. Almost 5000 years ago Chinese began to produce silk, while in Europe it began only during the Middle Ages. For this reason for many centuries silk was more valuable than gold when it reached Europe.


The exhibited artefacts come from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which is an integral part of the Silk Road, because three or four thousand years ago the cultural exchange was pioneered between the East and the West due to migration of the nomads. Some objects from this region embody the first connections between Asia and Europe. Few Ancient Chinese art pieces show the influences of Greek and Roman cultures. Also Henan Province is represented in the exhibition. Henan Province lies on the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River and is the paramount cradle of the Chinese culture.


The Silk Road is the first Ancient Chinese art exhibition held in Latvia not only showing the artefacts of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Henan Province, but also demonstrating how the ancient Silk Road influenced the cultural exchange of the East and the West.


Exhibition is organized to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Latvia.



Dace Melbārde, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia

Luo Shugang, Minister of Culture of the People’s Republic of China

Liu Yuzhu, Director of State Administration of Cultural Heritage



Daiga Upeniece, Head of the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE / Latvian National Museum of Art

Guan Qiang, Xie Jinying, Chen Fafen, Wang Jun, China



Qian Wei, Art Exhibitions China, China

Kristīne Milere, Art Museum RIGA BOURSE / Latvian National Museum of Art, Latvia



Liesma Markova



Kristīne Jansone



Zhao Gushan, Ren Jie, Feng Xue, Li Wei, Li Qin, Li Da, Wang Jinwen, Vita Birzaka, Zane Lūse, Vita Ozoliņa, Baiba Uburģe, Una Kastanovska, Inta Tiltiņa, Nataļja Kurganova, Ginta Saukāne, Elizabete Šatrovska, Ieva Andžāne, Dzintars Baumanis, Rūdolfs Cunskis, Mārīte Āboltiņa







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