Taoist Gods from China:Ceremonial Paintings from the Mien

Taoist Gods from China: Ceremonial Paintings from the Mien 

The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Manning Hall
21 Prospect Street
Phone: (401) 863-2065
Hours:  Tues. - Sun., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Brown University holidays

Rare Taoist ceremonial paintings in the collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University were on view in the exhibition, Taoist Gods from China: Ceremonial Paintings from the Mien, opening at Manning Hall on January 13th. 

The Mien, one of the many hill-tribes who inhabit South China, North Vietnam, Laos and Northern Thailand, have adhered for centuries to an early southern school of Chinese Taoism.  This ancient Taoist tradition differs significantly from the Taoist practice found in most parts of China, although it still exists in some parts of Taiwan and among a few Chinese communities in Southern China.  In this early Taoist tradition, paintings play a central role in religious practices and serve as the abode of the gods.  

This exhibition included paintings from the Museum's collection dating to the 17th century depicting the major gods of the Taoist religion.  It also explored the symbols and religious concepts depicted in these paintings. This exhibition coincided with the Year of China initiative at Brown and was accompanied by an exhibition at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art entitled "From the Land of the Immortals:  Chinese Taoist Robes and Textiles" which opened Friday, January 13 and was on display through Sunday, April 22, 2012.