China, 1930–1934
From 20 October to 6 December 2020, Chinese porcelain Tea Set will be exhibited at the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE in Riga (Doma laukums 6) as a part of the exhibition series Asian Art Stories. The tea set was sent from Shanghai in 1935 and it is decorated with two important Chinese mythical creatures – dragon and phoenix.

The displayed tea set was produced in 1930s, which is the time when the Chinese Imperial Dynasties period ended and China became a republic. During the Republic of China (1912–1949), there were a number of rebellions in the nation, two civil wars (1927–1936, 1945–1949) and the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), but despite of this there was an upswing of industrialization. High-quality porcelain mainly was manufactured in Jiangxi Province where the State Porcelain Kiln was also located. The inscription on one of the vessels shows that the item was painted in the Jiangxi Province in 1934.


In 1935, this tea set as well as other Chinese decorative and applied arts objects were given as a gift to the State Museum of Art from Vilis Uzeliņš, a Latvian living in Shanghai. The object travelled a far way, first with a German motor ship to Hamburg and only afterwards to Riga. In the exhibition visitors also be able to get acquainted with the archive materials and correspondence which have been preserved until nowadays.


The dragon and phoenix depicted on the objects historically are important characters in Chinese and Asian cultures. The dragon is considered one of the main symbols of Chinese culture and identity, but phoenix as an emperor of all birds symbolizes peace and prosperity. In the exhibition you will learn how these mythical characters differ from the ones in Western culture and what is their symbolic meaning when they are depicted in a pair. In addition, all the Ancient Chinese inscriptions on the vessels have been translated, therefore it is possible to read some verses from poems and important Chinese philosophical realizations.


The exhibition series Asian Art Stories produced by the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE encourages to discover and understand certain artworks, techniques, functions as well as their philosophical, religious, cultural, and contextual significance. Western viewers have always been fascinated with the Asian art by its extraordinary form, technique and aesthetic view. The Asian Art Collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art has several thousand artworks from different Asian countries, however, only part of them are exhibited in the Eastern Gallery of the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE. By showing one artwork or a group of objects, within the exhibition series, we will discover these exceptional stories that often remain unheard.





Kristīne Milere, Exhibition Curator, Art Museum RIGA BOURSE / Latvian National Museum of Art







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