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Displaying items by tag: ming: fifty years that changed china

In the year 1400 a visitor from outer space would have probably concluded that the Chinese state was the most powerful and civilized on Planet Earth. Other places might have caught this fictional Venusian’s attention: Brunelleschi’s Florence, Mamluk Cairo, Iran, India, and Venice, for example. But in all manner of ways the Middle Kingdom was bigger, better organized, and more advanced.

Plenty of proof of these claims is to be seen in “Ming: Fifty Years that Changed China,” on view at the British Museum through January 5. This is a sumptuous display full of blue and white porcelain, paintings, lacquer-work, weapons, and luxurious objects of every kind. The British Museum, strictly speaking, is not a museum of art but of history. So this is an exhibition intended to teach visitors about a culture distant in time and space, about which most will know little. Accordingly, it is also dense with facts.

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