Rare Chinese art exhibit opens at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in time for Chinese New Year

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - On Sunday, billions of people in Asia will celebrate Chinese New Year.

In Kansas City, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art will welcome the Year of the Snake with a special art exhibit and celebration.

The rare exhibit called "Journey Through the Mountains and Rivers – Chinese Landscapes Ancient and Modern" opens on Friday at the museum.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum is one of only a few museums in the world that will get to showcase these works of art.  Many ancient pieces are extremely fragile so it is rare for them to go on display.

Included in this collection is 14 paintings by Xu Longsen. His work ranges from small fan-shaped paintings to a monumental, horizontal scroll which is the largest Chinese landscape painting ever created.  This piece has never been displayed in public.

"I feel this will be transformative for many people," said Senior Curator of Chinese Art, Colin Mackenzie, Ph. D. "It's something you can meditate in front of. It's something that you will see things you haven't seen before and feel things you hadn't felt before."

Mr. Xu is currently in Kansas City as part of the Nelson-Atkins Museum's special exhibit, which will remain open until April 28.

In addition to this special exhibit, the Nelson-Atkins Museum is also hosting a Chinese New Year celebration Friday evening to ring in the lunar New Year.

Nelson-Atkins Chinese New Year Celebrations:

5 p.m. Gallery L14 – Tai Chi demonstration.
Tai Chi is a form of Chinese martial art.

5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Atkins Auditorium – Performance by Lily Taylor.
Lily Taylor is originally from Beijing. She won the National First Prize of Performance and was a member of the Chinese Dancers Association. She was also the lead female dancer for the largest dance troupe in China.

6 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Bloch Lobby – Lion Dance
The Shaolin Lohan Pai Dance Troupe will perform the traditional Lion Dance.

8 p.m. Gallery L14 – Jasmine Chinese Dance Group
There will also be art activities, games and activities for the entire family throughout the evening.

According to Chinese culture, the snake is mysterious, thoughtful, intuitive and refined. Having a snake in your house is considered good luck because it means you will never go hungry.

People born in 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 and in 2013 are snakes.

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