China, Tang dynasty (618-907), Pair of flying dragons, 8th century, gilt bronze, Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton 2000.87.2.1,.2

Year of the Dragon: Mystical Creatures of the Sky

Year of the Dragon: Mystical Creatures of the Sky

February 10, 2024 - May 5, 2024
Cargill Gallery
Free Exhibition

From the dragon’s first appearance in art some eight to nine thousand years ago, during the early Neolithic period, these ferocious beasts have occupied an honored place in Chinese culture. Their majestic power has inspired art in nearly every medium—jade to bronze, ceramics to paintings. Originating in mythology as scaly water beasts who controlled the rain and wind, they have evolved in form and symbolism, taking to the skies to become the auspicious creatures we know today: four-legged, horned, snakelike beings who breathe clouds (not fire) and represent not only heavenly power and prosperity but Chinese culture itself.

To celebrate the Year of the Dragon in the lunar calendar, this exhibition features objects from Mia’s own Chinese art collection that represent the evolution of dragon imagery and symbolism, from the ancient world to today.

China, Tang dynasty (618-907), Pair of flying dragons, 8th century, gilt bronze, Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton 2000.87.2.1,.2