Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality & Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape

National Gallery of Victoria

Book tickets

CHINESE Armoured general, Qin Dynasty 221–207 BCE (detail) Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, Xi’an (002524)

In a dual presentation of Chinese art and culture past and present, the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series at the National Gallery of Victoria presents China’s ancient terracotta warriors alongside an exhibition of new works by one of the world’s most exciting contemporary artists, Cai Guo-Qiang.

From the Qin dynasty (221–207 BCE), the exhibition presents eight of the Qin Emperor’s terracotta warriors alongside two full-sized horses and two replica bronze chariots. Objects lent by leading museums and archaeological sites from across the Shaanxi province include priceless gold, jade and bronze artefacts dating from the Zhou dynasty (1050–256 BCE) through to the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE).

Presented in parallel, Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape presents a new body of work inspired by the history, places and culture that served as the backdrop to the reign of China’s first emperor Qin Shihuang, and the creation of the terracotta warriors. Highlights include a spectacular installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds, each individually pigmented by the artist’s signature gunpowder explosions.