Denver Art Museum’s Linking Asia: Art, Trade, and Devotion Surveys Cross-Regional and Cross-Cultural Influences in Asian Art

The Pan-Asian exhibition will showcase objects from 20 countries that span 2,000 years

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) today announced that it will present Linking Asia: Art, Trade, and Devotion, an exhibition that will explore how trade routes inspired and influenced art over time and across the Asian continent. The exhibition will feature approximately 150 sculptures, ceramics, textiles, scrolls and other multi-dimensional works from 20 countries that span 2,000 years, with most drawn from the DAM’s Asian art collection and a handful of complementary loaned objects. Linking Asia will be on view Dec. 17, 2017 to April 1, 2018 in the Gallagher Family Gallery on level one of the Frederic C. Hamilton Building.

Qiu Ying, attr. (1502-1552), Tribute Bearers (detail), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), China, 1500s. Ink and color on silk; 12-3/4 x 268 in. Denver Art Museum: Gift of Dr. Robert Rinden, 1971.40

“This fall, Linking Asia will offer visitors the opportunity to discover the interconnectedness of Asian culture through artistic style, materials and subject matter,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director at the DAM. “We also look forward to presenting a unique artistic journey for those who visit to learn about the cultural exchange between people in the Asian continent.”

The Pan-Asian presentation, curated by Tianlong Jiao, Joseph de Heer Curator of Asian Art at DAM, will consider themes such as inspiration and hybridization, continental and maritime trade, ink art trends in East Asia and religious links before the 20th century. Linking Asia will dive deeper into the influence of the Silk Road and how the flow of ideas, beliefs and techniques, together with the commodities and population movements, profoundly affected the development of Asian art. Enterprising businessmen of the time would commission artisans to make objects similar to those imported from afar. During this process of imitation, foreign elements were often incorporated into local shapes and forms, producing many cross-cultural hybrid styles in a variety of media.

Garuda, Indonesia, Bali, about 1875. Polychromed wood; 29 x 18 x 17-1/4 in. Denver Art Museum: Purchase for the Frederic H. Douglas Collection, 1956.8

“We hope Linking Asia will give visitors a chance to see the Asian art collection from a new perspective,” said Jiao. “Visitors will recognize some objects like visitor favorite Shiva Nataraja but also see many for the first time, including objects from three shipwrecks, which is exciting to us. This exhibition will show us what it would be like to layout our collection in a Pan-Asian format, which is something we are considering for the future.”

A catalog accompanying the exhibition will be the first major record of the DAM’s Asian art collection, which originated in 1915, and spans a period from the fourth millennium B.C. to the present. The catalog will feature new scholarship through essays and contextual information and will be available in The Shop in winter 2017.

The exhibition will be included in general admission and free for members and youth 18 and under.

Exhibition Organizers and Sponsors

Linking Asia: Art, Trade, and Devotion is organized by the DAM. It is presented with the generous support of the donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4, Comcast Spotlight and The Denver Post.

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About the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro citizens support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit

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