The V&A possesses one of the most comprehensive and important collections of Chinese art dating from 3000 BC to the present time, including textiles, ceramics, prints, export art, metalwork, carvings and furniture.
Traditional Life in China: Living
Traditional-style Chinese houses consisted of a number of single-storey rooms arranged around a courtyard. The homes of well-off families would have been made up of several courtyards. There were separate areas for men, women and servants. In all but the humblest of homes, essential furniture would consist of a table, chairs and chests for storage.
Traditional Life in China: Eating and Drinking
While people the world over must eat and drink, not many have felt the need to develop such a complex cuisine as the Chinese. Perhaps because famine has been a frequent occurrence in the past, the preparation and consumption of food has always been a matter of great interest to Chinese people.
Traditional Life in China: Burial Customs
The custom of burying grave goods with dead bodies lasted a long time, so the artefacts that remain range from Neolithic times (about 5000 BC) to the end of the Ming dynasty (1644). Inevitably, most of them come from the graves of the few with wealth and power; the lives of most people passed into history unrecorded.
Traditional LIfe in China: Ruling
The Chinese term for the emperor of China was 'Son of Heaven', and he was considered to be the sole link between heaven and earth. The emperor's unique status was emphasised in many ways: he used a special word for 'I' which nobody else was allowed to utter, he wrote in red ink while his courtiers used black, he alone faced the south while his subjects faced north and knelt down low before him.
Spring Poppy Fields No. 31
In Spring Poppy Fields No. 31 by Zhang Huan, the surface of the picture is completely carpeted with whirling vibrant colours, creating a unique sense of push and pull. Gazing at it from a distance, the spectator is drawn into a hallucinatory state similar to that induced by opium, a substance obtained from the flower that gives its name to the picture.
Style Guide: Influence of China
The expansion of British diplomatic, trade and religious activity in China in the 1850s and 1860s brought previously unknown examples of Chinese art and design to the attention of British collectors and designers. Chinese ceramics, in particular, had a great influence on British potters.
Fashion in Motion: Ma Ke Wuyong
The Ma Ke Wuyong Fashion in Motion live catwalk event took place on May 16 2008. Ma Ke is one of the most prolific fashion designers working in China today, she graduated from the Suzhou Institute of Silk Textile Technology in 1992 and four years later set up her own label Exception de Mixmind.