A Wondrous Wooden Gate from the 1800s

This imposing gate once formed the entrance to the main courtyard of a middle-class urban family compound. The four-character panel over the doorway reads “履謙漸豐” (“Humility brings prosperity”). The gate demonstrates the hallmarks of traditional Chinese architecture: a post-and-lintel structure and the bracketing that support a graceful gable roof. Intricate supporting rafters and brackets extend the eves and provide decoration. As in other traditional Chinese architecture, no glue or nails are used, and the gate is assembled using only joinery and wooden pins.

The gate comes from Shanxi province, which, because of its dry climate, contains the largest concentration of surviving wooden historic structures in China. An inscription on a once-adjoining building dates the gate to 1858, during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912).


Generous support for installation of the Gate of Prosperity and Sit Investment Associates gallery is provided byRuth Ann Stricker, Beverly Grossman through the N. Bud and Beverly Grossman Foundation, Nivin MacMillan, Douglas and Wendy Dayton Foundation, David A. Wilson and Michael J. Peterman, John and Nancy Lindahl,Marianne Short and Raymond Skowyra, Jr., John L.Burbidge, Richard and Jennie Carlson, Kaywin Feldman and Jim Lutz, Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison, Head FamilyFoundation, Stephen and Barbara Hemsley, Hubert Joly, Laurie and Mark Jordahl, Carol and John Prince, Joan and John Rex, Sit Investment Associates, Eleanor and Fred Winston, and donors to the 2017 Mia Gala

Related opportunity:

Buddhist Court, reinterpreted: View a selection of masterworks, spanning nearly 2,000 years, that reflect the great stylistic variation of Buddhist sculptural imagery. From the Buddha’s homeland in northern India, practitioners carried devotional objects to other parts of Asia, where artists created new models that reflected local aesthetics and norms. Opens August 30 in the Sit Investment Associates Gallery (G200).