Chinese ceramics, culture and commerce featured in new exhibition at Jule Collins Smith Museum

Dragon jar and coverAUBURN – The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art has a new exhibition, “On the Silk Road and the High Seas: Chinese Ceramics, Culture and Commerce,” on view through Nov. 26 in the Bill L. Harbert Gallery.

“On the Silk Road and the High Seas” was organized by the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Fla., and features more than 70 pieces of porcelain, stoneware and carved jade from the permanent collection of the Norton Museum. Through this exquisite selection of decorative arts, the exhibition highlights, both chronologically and geographically, the paths of trade, commerce and cultural exchange that developed along the ancient Silk Road. Visitors will learn about the innovations and distinctive styles that arose as a result of the bountiful cross-cultural exchange.

Since the second century BCE (Before the Common Era), the Silk Road stretched for thousands of miles from eastern China to the Black Sea. It served as a link between the great civilizations of East Asia and Southwest Asia and, thereby, Europe. In later centuries, the trade and cultural influences that flowed back and forth on land were transferred to the sea, as maritime shipping eventually came to dominate world commerce.

The superb examples of Chinese ceramics featured in this exhibition were prized at home and treasured abroad, where they were rarities until the mid-18th century.

For more information on this exhibition, go to or call (334) 844-1484.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Morris Bian, a professor in Auburn’s Department of History, will speak Thursday, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m., on “Explaining the Dynamics of Change: Transforlution of China’s Public Economy through Peace, Revolution, and War, 1928-2008.”

(Written by Colleen Bourdeau.)

Colleen Bourdeau, (334) 844-7075 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (