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Museum Hours
Thurs: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
Cafe Hours
Fri-Mon: 10 AM—4:30 PM
Thurs: 1—7:30 PM
Location
200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
415.581.3500
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Video

The Forbidden City

In 1420, in an effort to consolidate his control over the throne, the emperor of the Ming Dynasty moved China’s capital to a site in the North, now known as Bejing. There, he built a vast complex of palaces and administrative buildings now covering 178 acres. Because access was restricted to the imperial family and to those who had business with them, it came to be known as the Forbidden City. Learn more in this short documentary.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College and Beyond

Background Information

The Development of Landscape Painting in China: The Song (960–1279) through the Ming (1368-1644) Dynasties

Invasions in the north by the Jin Tartars in the 12th century forced the Song dynasty to retreat to the south where a new court was established at Hangzhou in 1127. Under the Emperor Hui Zong the Imperial Painting Academy already was moving in the direction of closer views of nature, both in landscapes and in images of birds, flowers, and insects. The intent was to capture the vital life spirit of these subjects as well as an understanding of their true form, texture, and movement in space.

GRADE LEVEL: High School (9-12), College and Beyond

Background Information

The Development of Landscape Painting in China through the Tang Dynasty (618-906)

When one thinks of Chinese painting one might think of hanging scrolls and handscrolls. Wall paintings were an early form of painting, preserved today in cave temples, temple buildings, and tombs. Written records describe paintings on palace walls and in humbler dwellings. One of the first advocates of landscape painting, Zong Bing, wrote in the 5th century about the joys of having landscape paintings on the walls of his house so he could imagine himself in the untrammeled world of mountains and streams, mists, trees, and rocks. Hanging scrolls of silk provided wall decoration that could be changed or removed. Handscrolls, primarily used for written documents, became vehicles for the illustrations of paragons of virtue or of supernatural spirits as well as panoramic landscapes, and bird and flower paintings.

GRADE LEVEL: High School (9-12), College and Beyond

Background Information

Teahouse Alcove (Tokonoma)

Learn about the objects found in the alcove (Japanese: tokonoma, pronounced “toe-ko-no-ma”) of a traditional Japanese teahouse and the traditions of the Japanese tea ceremony.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College and Beyond

Artwork

Seated Buddha, 200–300

Seated Buddha, 200–300. Pakistan; perhaps Jamalgarhi, Peshawar valley, ancient region of Gandhara. Schist. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60S393.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College and Beyond

Artwork

Hindu Deity Vishnu, 1100–1200

The Hindu deity Vishnu, 1100–1200. India or Bangladesh; northern Bengal. Phyllite. The Avery Brundage Collection, B62S4+.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College and Beyond

Artwork

Hermit in landscape, approx. 1618–1652

Hermit in landscape, approx. 1618–1652, Chen Hongshou (1598-1652). China; Ming dynasty (1368–1644) or Qing dynasty (1644-1912). Hanging Scroll; ink and colors on silk. Museum purchase, B79D8.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College and Beyond

Background Information

Heian and Kamakura Period Tea (794–1338)

The first record of tea drinking in Japan occurs early in the Heian period (794–1185) whenit was introduced to the Japanese aristocracy by scholar-monks returning from Tang dynasty China. Learn more.

GRADE LEVEL: High School (9-12), College and Beyond

Artwork

Haniwa in the Form of a Warrior

Haniwa in the form of a warrior, approx. 300–552. Japan; excavated at Fujioka, Gunma Prefecture. Kofun period (300–552). Earthenware. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60S204.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College and Beyond

Artwork

Four seated musicians, approx. 700–750

Four seated musicians, approx. 700–750. China Tang dynasty (618–906). Earthenware. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P316, B60P317, B60P3186, and B60P319.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College and Beyond