The Victoria and Albert Museum’s stunning exhibition “Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700 – 1900 is exquisite. Well-designed both to protect the sensitive artworks and also to enhance the artistic sensation for the visitor, the paintings positively glow against the dark exhibition setting. The exhibition starts with some early surviving works from the 8th century, fragments of banners that have somehow survived with colours still vibrant and continues up to the late 19th century with scrolls and wall-hangings. It is interesting to compare the lengthy continuation of the Chinese artistic tradition through the centuries with the changes in fashion that characterise western art – aand buildings olways seeking something new; whereas the Chinese art returns over and again to its roots and celebrates the style of previous generations. Each painting on display here, loaned from around the world, is a masterpiece in its own right. You feel that museums have loaned their best, subject to delicacy and risk of traveling, This show has had great reviews from the likes of Alastair Smart in the Telegraph and Brian Sewell in the Evening Standard who concluded that “0ne visit is not enough and the museum should recognise this by arranging some kind of return ticket”.
There is a subtle link with the Museum’s adjacent exhibition “Pearls” in that some of the early works show bodhisattva resplendent in fine clothes adorned with pearl necklaces and other jewellery.