Celebration Of Chinese Culture Past And Present At The NGV

17 December 2018

Ancient Chinese culture will come together with dynamic contemporary art in the National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) next Melbourne Winter Masterpieces blockbuster Terracotta Warriors | Cai Guo-Qiang.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley announced the exhibition today, which will be the centrepiece of the gallery’s bumper Autumn/Winter 2019 season.

The latest exhibition follows this year’s MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art exhibition, which welcomed more than 400,000 people, becoming the second biggest ticketed event ever hosted at the NGV.

Visitors will explore two exhibitions in one, with the iconic Terracotta Warriors going on display alongside works by one of the world’s most exciting contemporary artists Cai Guo-Qiang.

Dating back to 209-201 BC, the Terracotta Warriors are a series of large-scale sculptures buried alongside the Qin Emperor, the first Emperor of China, to protect him in the afterlife. Discovered in 1974, the Warriors are widely described as the eighth wonder of the world.

The exhibition will feature eight warrior figures and two life-size horses alongside more than 150 priceless artefacts from leading Chinese museums and archaeological sites, bringing to life more than a millennium of Chinese history.

Presented in parallel, the contemporary exhibition Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape, will see renowned artist Cai Guo-Qiang create new artworks – including an installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds – inspired by his home country’s culture and its enduring philosophical traditions.

The Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series was established in 2004. Since then, more than six million people have attended a Masterpieces exhibition, including hundreds of thousands of interstate and international visitors.

The Melbourne Winter Masterpieces presentation of Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality and Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape will be on display from 24 May 2019-13 October 2019 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

For further information, visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley

“Bringing together Chinese art and culture from the past and present, Terracotta Warriors | Cai Guo-Qiang will capture the imagination of visitors from near and far.”

“This is the next blockbuster exhibition in the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, which has become a hotly-anticipated event for our city and state.”

“Cultural tourism is vital to jobs and businesses in Victoria, injecting $2 billion into our economy last year – an 88 per cent increase in five years.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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