Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project Enables Shanghai Museum to Restore Ancient Qinglongzhen Ceramics

Global Program Enables Community to Connect With Artifacts From Shanghai’s History

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 1:00 am EST
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Supported by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project, the Shanghai Museum today unveils 10 carefully restored pieces of ceramics from the Song and Tang dynasties, offering a vital window into the history of Shanghai and ensuring they can be appreciated for generations to come.

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project is a major initiative to help conserve important works of art and cultural treasures across the globe. It provides grants to some of the world’s leading cultural institutions to support the restoration and conservation of many of the world’s most significant art and artifacts in order to retain their cultural value for future generations. This is the second collaboration between the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project and the Shanghai Museum, following the restoration of a 2,000-year-old bronze Jian (water vessel) in 2012, an important addition to the museum’s magnificent collection.

“We are proud to have been able to support the restoration of these important examples of ancient ceramics so that they can be preserved for the enjoyment and education of visitors to the Shanghai Museum,” said Tim Huang, COO of Bank of America Merrill Lynch China. “We believe that the arts provide a unique common language to connect people and communities and, as part of the Shanghai community for over 20 years, we believe that this restoration project helps enhance cultural awareness.”

Chen Xiejun, director and curator of Shanghai Museum, said, “These rare ceramics provide an intriguing insight into the history of Shanghai and, thanks to painstaking restoration, they can now be enjoyed in their original condition. We thank Bank of America Merrill Lynch for their sustained support in helping ensure we can return these items to public display.”

The ceramics were originally unearthed at the Qinglongzhen site between 2010 and 2012 by the archaeology department of the Shanghai Museum. They are significant discoveries in the history of Chinese ceramics. Qinglongzhen, located at Qinglong in Qingpu District, Shanghai, was an important town during the Tang and Song dynasties and the findings reinforce the notion that Shanghai had become an important foreign trade port as early as the Tang dynasty.

Many of the ceramics were seriously damaged, including some extremely rare items, such as a Tang dynasty paigu drum (waist drum) in brown glaze from Changsha kiln, decorated bowls and ewers (pitchers) from the Changsha and Yue kilns and a floral-patterned basin from the Song dynasty.

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project in Asia has provided grants to projects in Hong Kong, India, China, Japan and Australia. In China, the Art Conservation Project has also supported restoration work with the Beijing Capital Museum and the Beijing Stone Carving Art Museum. Since the program’s inception in 2010, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has provided grants to museums in 27 countries supporting 72 conservation projects.

In 2013 and 2014, the company’s Art Conservation Project supported the restoration of a diverse range of works including Tudor portraits of Queen Elizabeth at the National Portrait Gallery in London; Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s “Diana” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; ancient ceramics at the Shanghai Museum; stone sculptures at the Beijing Stone Carving Art Museum; 27 murals in San Francisco’s Coit Tower; a painting by Wifredo Lam at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence; Magna Carta at the Royal Society of Antiquities in London; and 40 photographs by Eva Klasson at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.

 

Ten pieces of Qionglongzhen ceramics for restoration

 

Paigu drum

1.  Paigu drum in brown glaze, Changsha kiln
Tang (A.D. 618 – 907)
Paigu drums or waist drums of the Tang dynasty are extremely rare with few surviving today. For archeologists, the discovery of a Changsha waist drum of the Tang dynasty period is considered a significant event. Nanzhuo, a Tang dynasty poet, remarked, “(it is) either stone from Qingzhou, or the painted drum from Lushan” when describing ceramics such as Paigu drums. Interestingly, Paigu drums are rarely associated with any Changsha kiln of Tang dynasty, further underlining the piece’s prestige.

 


 Ewer with brown glaze

2. Ewer with brown glaze, Changsha kiln
Tang (A.D. 618 – 907)
A typical example from the Changsha kiln, this ewer is characterized by the brown paint of its top, neck and middle sections. The use of brown paint was common in Changsha wares of the Tang dynasty, using iron oxide as its coloring agent. This ewer was part of a tea ware set.

 

Ewer, Changsha kiln

3. Ewer, Changsha kiln
Tang (A.D. 618 – 907)
This ewer is another example of the tea ware produced by the Changsha kiln of Tang dynasty. Commonly found in Changsha wares, the brown color, using iron oxide as its coloring agent, forms a spontaneous pattern.

 

Bowl with lotus petal pattern in transmutation glaze

4. Bowl with lotus petal pattern in transmutation glaze, Changsha kiln
Tang (A.D. 618 – 907)
The interior portion of this bowl is decorated with a brown and green glazed floral design. The coloring agent of the brown glaze is iron oxide-based while the prominent green glaze is copper oxide-based. Bowls with this kind of pattern are unique in China and were primarily produced for exportation. In the Belitung shipwreck found in Indonesia in 1998, Changsha bowls with similar patterns were also recovered.

 

Celadon ewer

5. Celadon ewer, Yue kiln
Tang (A.D. 618 – 907)
The main workshops of the Yue kiln in Tang dynasty were located in the Cixi, Shangyu and Ningbo regions of Zhejiang province. Specifically, ceramics produced by the Yue kiln are distinguishable by their greenish yellow glaze, seen in this celadon. This piece is also characterized by its bulbous shape and carefully-potted exterior.

 

Celadon bowl, Yue kiln

6. Celadon bowl, Yue kiln
Tang (A.D. 618 – 907)
A typical example of Yue wares of the Tang dynasty, this large celadon bowl is characterized by a turned rim.

 

Celadon bowl, Yue

7. Celadon bowl, Yue kiln
Tang (A.D. 618 – 907)
This bowl has a flaring opening and a base shaped like a jade bi (disc). Known colloquially as a “bi-shaped-base bowl”, this style is only seen in Tang dynasty wares and is typical of the Yue kiln style.

 

Celadon bowl with incised lotus petal

8. Celadon bowl with incised lotus petal, Longquan kiln
Five Dynasties to Northern Song
A celadon with a lightly glazed coat, it is uniquely incised with a rare petal pattern. Records show that light glazing is typically a mark of early Longquan wares.

 

 Basin in greenish white glaze

9. Basin in greenish white glaze
Song (A.D. 960 – 1279)
This basin has a flaring opening and is incised inside with floral pattern, executed in a spontaneous style. It is a typical product of the Jindezhen kiln, Jiangxi province, in the Song dynasty.

 

Vase, Longquan kiln

10. Vase, Longquan kiln
Song (A.D. 960 – 1279)
This vase has a slightly flaring opening, a straight long neck and a high footring. A typical Longquan ware, it has crackles in the greenish yellow glaze.

 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the Arts
As a company serving clients in more than 90 countries, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is committed to a diverse program of cultural support that engages individuals, organizations and communities in building mutual respect and recognition.

Building on the company’s leadership in supporting the arts in the United States, Bank of America Merrill Lynch now supports more than 5,000 arts organizations worldwide. The company’s multi-faceted Arts and Culture Program provides assistance for a wide spectrum of the arts, with an emphasis on programs that foster greater cultural understanding.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Corporate Social Responsibility
Developing solutions for social and economic challenges is at the core of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s responsibility platform. In more than 90 countries around the world, we partner with employees, clients and stakeholders to help make financial lives better. The firm focuses on responsible business practices, environmental sustainability, advancing opportunity in local communities through education and employability programmes and investing in global leadership development. We realise the power of our people and value our differences, recognising that our diversity makes us a stronger firm and allows us to better service our stakeholders. By harnessing our intellectual resources, sharing knowledge and connecting capital with need, we are providing opportunities that effect positive change. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_News.

About The Shanghai Museum
Shanghai Museum is a museum of ancient Chinese art, with an emphasis on collecting, exhibiting and researching Chinese art of the pre-modern period. It showcases Chinese culture and promotes national art and culture. Shanghai Museum also brings masterpieces of art from around the world to Shanghai for domestic visitors to facilitate better communication between different cultures, a deeper understanding of human history and enlightenment of aesthetic spirit.

Shanghai Museum has a collection of one million items, 130,000 of which are graded as first, second and third-class masterpieces. About 20% of these treasures were donated. From its inception in 1951 to its spectacular scale today, countless stories can be told. Shanghai has a long history of antique collecting and there have been many notable private collectors. Shanghai Museum has taken advantage of this tradition and has greatly expanded its collection.

The total cost of the new building amounts to 570 million Chinese Yuan, about 85% of which was provided by the government and the other 15% funded by generous donors from home and abroad. Therefore, all the galleries, exhibition halls, library, conservation studio of Chinese paintings and calligraphy and VIP garden of the museum are named after these donors.

Shanghai Museum has ten galleries for permanent collections, housing many national treasures. In addition, it has also three special temporary exhibition halls to show world masterpieces, the latest archaeological discoveries and treasures of art from other collections, both domestic and international.

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Reporters May Contact:
Angelina Zhang, Weber Shandwick, +86 21 2411 0036
azhang@webershandwick.com

Tiffany Chen, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, +852 3508 3753
tiffany.chen@baml.com

 

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