The Art of the Chinese Garden is Featured in a new Exhibition at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

“Vistas of a World Beyond: Traditional Gardens in Chinese Material Culture” is on view from June 17, 2014 to July 5, 2015


EUGENE, Ore. -- (June 11, 2014) – The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon presents selected objects from our collection for an exhibition, “Vistas of a World Beyond: Traditional Gardens in Chinese Material Culture” on Chinese scholars’ gardens featuring prints, textiles, and sculptures open from June 17 to July 5, 2015.

Traditional Chinese garden design and its characteristic elements have inspired the decor of works of art in China for many centuries and the Chinese scholars’ gardens were tranquil retreats for poets, artists, and intellectuals. As early as the end of the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220), Chinese scholars and members of the gentry built private gardens as a personal refuge of natural beauty and architectural refinement.

The exhibition will feature woodblock prints related to scholars’ gardens from the famous Chinese painting manuals “Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting” (first printed in early 17th century) and “Mustard Seed Garden Painting Manual” (first printed in 1679), which introduce the iconography of traditional garden design to aspiring painters. Their rich visual syntax consists of water, rock formations, birds, flora, fauna, and architectural structures.

Curated by Han Zhu, JSMA assistant curator of Asian art, and Ina Asim, associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Oregon, the exhibition displays the modular use of traditional garden design elements in various materials such as prints and textiles to show the scholars’ gardens as a private paradise. According to Han Zhu, guests of “Vistas of a World Beyond” can look forward to seeing “beautiful artworks from JSMA’s strong Chinese collection, an educational digital display including comparative photos of famous traditional Chinese gardens, and a complete catalog of JSMA’s three Chinese painting manuals, accompanied by charming classical guzheng music, as one could have heard in scholars’ gardens.”

In the scholars’ tradition, Chinese gardens are spaces of tranquility that offer sanctuary from the mundane. Built as havens from stress the Chinese scholars’ gardens were paradises where individuals could reflect on the world beyond. These themes will be further explored in an electronic publication in the form of an iBook that will be accessible to visitors through a link on the museum’s website. The exhibition and iBook were made possible because of a JSMA Academic Support Grant.

About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


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