From Ancestral Worship to Pursuit of Immortality: Bronze Age to Pre-Buddhist Chinese Art

This presentation uses artifacts from the New Orleans Museum of Art and the exhibition Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon: Masterworks from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection at Asia Society and visual materials from recent archaeological discoveries to discuss the changing ideas and attitudes toward life, death, and afterlife in pre-Buddhist China. From the Early Bronze Age to the first Empires, religious centers moved from family lineage temples to individual tombs, reflecting profound socio-political transitions in the declining of a hierarchical genealogical structure and the rising importance of one’s achievements through personal efforts.



Dr. Yu Jiang is Director of Global Engagement at Xavier University of Louisiana. As Chief/Senior International Officer for the University, he provides strategic vision and leadership for Xavier’s comprehensive internalization efforts. Jiang received his B.A. in Archaeology from Beijing University, China, and Ph.D. in Chinese Art History from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the Paul Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian Institution 2004-2005, and an art history and museum studies faculty at Florida Atlantic University (2005-2008) and Southern University at New Orleans (2008-2012), before coming to Xavier. Dr. Jiang’s research focuses on bronze and jade art of early China.

Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon: Masterworks from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection at Asia Society is co-organized by the American Federation of the Arts and Asia Society. This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The installation at NOMA is sponsored by Dr. Siddharth K. Bhansali, Judith Fos Burrus, Tim L. Fields, Dr. Nina Dhurandhar, Drs. Tarun and Rupa Jolly, Nuria Rowley, E. Alexandra Stafford and Raymond M. Rathle, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. John A. Batt, Jr., Mrs. Anila Keswani, Tom and Dian Winingder, Saffron NOLA, Danny and Denise Kingston, Hiren and Urvi Shah, Drs. Dimple and Kiran Zaveri, and Gia Rabito.

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Education and outreach initiatives at NOMA are supported in part by the Zemurray Foundation; the Lois and Lloyd Hawkins Jr. Foundation; The Helis Foundation; The Gayle and Tom Benson Foundation; The City of New Orleans; IBERIABANK; The Wagner Foundation; Janice Parmelee and Bill Hammack; the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative, funded by the Walton Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation; Sara and David Kelso; Patrick F. Taylor Foundation;  Dr. Scott S. Cowen; The RosaMary Foundation; The Azby Fund; the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency; The Collins C. Diboll Private Foundation; Burkenroad Foundation; Marian Dreux Van Horn Education Endowment; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation;  Ruby K. Worner Trust through the PNC Charitable Trusts Grant Review Committee; The Harry T. Howard III Foundation; New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.; Harvey and Marie Orth; The Bruce J. Heim Foundation; and Mrs. Bennett A. Molter, Jr. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.