China Exhibition Review

The exhibition “China: Through the Looking Glass” at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts is a fascinating collection of designer garments. Unfortunately, the entrance was not as grand as the collection; there were three floors designated to this show. The second floor, which was the entry or street level, had a few items on display but did not guide you to the beginning otf the collection located downstairs. Hence, point of entry was a bit ambiguous. The stairway that connects the second floor to the tirst was colored in dark green and red lanterns hanging from the ceiling.

The name of the exhibition was projected on the wall appearing like a hologram. The combination of these elements set a projection of what is to come. The seemingly long U stairway heightens one’s expectation. The dark colored walls continues into the main room downstairS. Upon arriving, the viewer is faced withthree rows. The beautiful garments are on right and left wall and in the middle two massive movie screens, which are essence two screens back-to-back, have created two columns.

The background for the clothes is a made out of silver metallic plates acting as a mirror, reflecting the screens light onto to it. This effect catches the viewers’ eyes.On the two columns information Directionality appeared to be a personal preference, one can start from the left or right; However, there was few elements that disrupted the course of movement. A smaller closed-off room was located on the right hand site; therefore, suggesting a logical direction to start from the left side of the room; then entering the small room and continuing upstairs.

Get quality help now
4.7 (657)

“ Really polite, and a great writer! Task done as described and better, responded to all my questions promptly too! ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The second element was that the most crucial informationwas placed on the right wall next to the small room. The reader to look for it and the location was not immediately apparent.

Even though splashes of orange, red, and yellow light are dancing on the metallic plates behind the dress, the lights did not balk the attention from the viewer. Those silver plates allowed the back of the garments to be seen. The old Chinese garments were placed in a circular frame
while the new clothes made by designer, such Yes Saint Laurent and Ralph Lauren, were placed in the from. This room loudly expressed the inspiration and influences that westerm designers draw from the east. This enlightening comparison was successfully brought to the audience’s attenton.

In the small room, there are two rows of glass bOxes on either side of the wall and a movie screen in the back wall. The garments are placed in the box where lights from below highlighting their glamor. The text on the first box on the right explains the story of qipao and its
emergence between the two wars. Actressesat this time, influenced by the west, incorporated elements such as body slimming, narrower fit, and shorter lengths, in their traditional attire. The viewer can understand this contrast because of the ancient garments in the pervious room. Also, the screen in the back provides visual aid for contextualizing these ropes.Consequently, the concept of each room becomes immediately apparent.

The other room was emphasizing the west-east exchange by playing symphonic music with Asian influences whereas in this room the audienceis listening to western music or western inspired Asian music representing the opposite direction of this exchange. Despite the perfect synchronization of the two rooms, there was a disconnect between the two rows in the small room. The right clear boxes contained
contemporary and moden interpretation of the Chinese garments by designers such as Marc Jacobs and as early as 2001. In order to understand why these clothes are place there, the viewer has to disrupt her route and come back to the entrance of the room; instead of continuously walking in U-shaped manner around the room and interrupting the flow of the floor.

Upon arriving the third floor, one is faced with three elegant garments in glass boxes. The walls are covered with black metallic plates, which engage the eye more intensely on the lighted gown. To the right, a replica of a Chinese mo0on gate with Chinese characters on top provided a threshold to the fallowing rooms. Beyond the gateway, there is a Chinese courtyard with a pond in the middle. The dresses appear to be floating on the water. Traditional Chinese music plays in the back ground with occasional water splashing sounds. This serene and almost spiritual environment brings a certain respect to the pieces. The calm energy in the room militate the viewer to stay silent and render more attention and appreciation to the works of art.

Cite this page

China Exhibition Review. (2023, Mar 10). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7