Ming: The Golden Empire (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

Ming: The Golden Empire

Photo © Nanjing Museum / Nomad Exhibitions

The Edinburgh Art Festival presents an eclectic collection of artefacts from the Ming Dynasty period

From porcelain fish vats to civil service exam papers, Ming: The Golden Empire is strikingly eclectic. This ambitious exhibition enlightens the audience on the 276-year Ming Dynasty through a combination of intriguing artefacts and digital set-pieces.

The museum has catered well for a mixed audience: timelines, contextual information and thematic divisions speak to both the uninitiated as well as those with more background knowledge. These additions work alongside the physical exhibits, each accompanied by placards offering digressive but absorbing snippets that make the experience even more engaging. Digital media is used alongside typical displays to offer further insights, and the exhibition culminates with an excellent interactive version of the seventeenth-century world map of Matteo Ricci.

There is something for all interests here, with as much attention paid to the individually stamped bricks from the Nanjing City Wall as to the painted or embroidered landscapes. And while one would expect an exhibition on the Ming Dynasty to be heavy with Imperial artefacts, references to the general populace ground the show within the realities of everyday life in the period.

Successfully navigating the tricky line between novice and more informed audiences, Ming: The Golden Empire is an enjoyable exhibition that is capable of appealing to all.

National Museum of Scotland, 0300 123 6789, until Sun 19 Oct, £8/£6.50 under 12s free.

Ming: The Golden Empire

  • 3 stars

An overview of the legacy of the Ming Dynasty, which ruled China from 1368 to 1644 and which presided over an era of unprecedented national stability. During the Ming period, Beijing was established as China's capital city; the Great Wall took its present form; there were huge advances in printing and ceramics technology…