Khubilai Khan

The exhibition is made possible by Bank of America.

The exhibition is also made possible by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Dillon Fund, The Henry Luce Foundation, Wilson and Eliot Nolen, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, the Oceanic Heritage Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Florence and Herbert Irving, and Jane Carroll.

It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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The World of Khubilai Khan: A Revolution in Painting

Program information

The exhibition The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty highlights the new art forms and styles created in China under the Yuan dynasty. The unification of China under the Khubilai Khan and the massive influx of foreign craftsmen from all over the vast Mongol Empire generated over a century of incredible artistic and creative innovation.

Maxwell Hearn outlines the history of China's unification under Khubilai Khan, describing the evolution of the relationship between the educated elite from the Southern Song region with the new court of Khubilai. Though the Mongol Empire spanned Asia from Korea to the Danube River, it was the literati of the Southern Song region who most impacted painting under the Yuan Dynasty, as they balanced new styles of painting created in protest of Khubilai's rule with the struggle to maintain traditional Chinese identity under China's first foreign rule. This is also a watershed moment for the status of Asian artists, marking the first time that the paintings of the Chinese illuminati were understood to be autobiographical. Using the exquisite paintings produced during this period of political turbulence, Hearn traces these artists' politics, moral deliberations, and styles through a revolution in painting.

Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Curator, Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Learn more about Chinese paintings:

Learn more about Zhao Mengfu:

Learn more about the exhibition The Yuan Revolution: Art and Dynastic Change:

The World of Khubilai Khan

Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty

September 28, 2010–January 2, 2011

Accompanied by a catalogue

This exhibition covers the period from 1215, the year of Khubilai's birth, to 1368, the year of the fall of the Yuan dynasty in China founded by Khubilai Khan, and features every art form, including paintings, sculpture, gold and silver, textiles, ceramics, lacquer, and other decorative arts, religious and secular. The exhibition highlights new art forms and styles generated in China as a result of the unification of China under the Yuan dynasty and the massive influx of craftsmen from all over the vast Mongol Empire—with reverberations in Italian art of the fourteenth century.