The Search for Immortality
During the last two centuries BC, the Western Han dynasty of China forged the first stable empire covering all of China and presided over a golden age that shaped much of subsequent Chinese art and culture. From family values to the structure of the civil service, Han thinking and philosophy continue to pervade Chinese society up to the present day - indeed, the majority of Chinese people consider themselves 'Han Chinese'. In their search for immortality, the Han imperial family left an artistic legacy of spectacular beauty and power. The finest of these treasures to have survived - including exquisite jades, silver and goldwork, bronzes and ceramics - have been found in the tombs of the Han imperial family and of a rival 'emperor' of Nanyue and are brought together for the first time in a landmark exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The accompanying catalogue, written by an international team of leading scholars in the field, presents a ground-breaking account and is sumptuously illustrated by nearly 500 striking photographs, many of them specially commissioned.