Bruce Museum receives Chinese ceramics

Fred and Jane Brooks’ gift has made the exhibition possible at the Bruce Museum. —Bob Capazzo

Fred and Jane Brooks’ gift has made the exhibition possible at the Bruce Museum. —Bob Capazzo

The Bruce Museum is now the proud owner of six Tang Dynasty ceramics, thanks to Fred and Jane Brooks of Greenwich. This generous gift and the promise of additional donations from the Brooks collection establish the Bruce as an important center for the collecting and study of Chinese antiquities.

All of the donated works date from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), which is regarded as one of the greatest periods of artistic creativity in China. Highlights of the gift include a dramatically animated, tri-color glazed ceramic Lokapala, or worldly protector, one of the deities who rule the directions of space according to Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism.

In addition to the Lokapala, the gift also includes several ceramic Bactrian camels, some of which are decorated with bright clear glazes and brilliant colors including cobalt blue. The Silk Road between China and the Middle East passed through Bactria and their camels were used to ferry people and goods. While the practice of tri-color glazing had already been developed in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.), it came to its greatest fruition in the Tang period.

The new donations have been on view since March 7 together with two other outstanding, colorful Lokapalas that are part of the promised gifts from the Brooks Collection. Executive Director of the Bruce Museum, Peter Sutton, hailed the gift as “an exciting new chapter in the formation of a distinguished permanent collection that reflects all world cultures.”

Mr. Brooks, an avid collector, added that he hoped his example would be an inspiration to others, “attracting donations that will distinguish the Bruce as a destination museum for the study of Chinese art.”

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