An exhibit of jade dreams comes to KC

Posted at 8:00 AM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 09:21:30-05

It is a chance to dream with your eyes wide open. A chance to dream The Dreams of The Kings.

Until April 1, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, you can travel back centuries and stand at the tomb of a king of Chu.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is the “Jade Suit for Eternity.”

This jade is harder than steel and cannot be cut; it has to be ground with abrasives.

The king was encased in this suit made from 4,248 plaques of jade knotted together with gold wire.

It was thought that this attire would protect the king from “malign influences” and decay.

And, it probably took the full five years of this king’s reign to complete.

Colin Mackenzie, Senior Curator of Chinese Art, is the right size… about 5’8” to fit into the suit.

Of course, he wasn’t given that chance. But he can tell us so much about the combination of art and history on display.

For example, jade is sometimes called “Chinese Soul” or “Chinese Gold.”

It was thought that this substance was so powerful that it could be used for medicinal purposes as well as artistic.

This is an exhibit that touches on many areas of thought: Art, history, theology and more.

It is a story told across cultures and decades, and preserved for us, in jade.

Learn more here