The exhibit covers the period from 1215 to 1368; my story in Daughter of Xanadu takes place right in the heart of that time frame, in 1275-6, when Khubilai Khan's empire was nearing its peak of power. The Met exhibit includes items from daily life and religious life, paintings and calligraphy, decorative arts and textiles. I knew about the pottery of that period - but textiles? Can fabric survive for 700 years? Apparently yes! The exhibit shows many examples, including the Mongols' favorite: elaborate patterns in gold.
The exhibit includes statues of marble, jade and pottery; hats and belt buckles; hanging scrolls; Nestorian Christian headstones (!); porcelain bottles; a water dropper in the shape of a turtle (?); and silk tapestries.
But my favorite - by far! - is the portrait of Chabi, Khubilai Khan's chief wife. She's pictured above, with the ridiculously tall hat and the sweet smile. She was Emmajin's grandmother, and had a big impact on her in the book - as you'll see when you have a chance to read it. Unlike what you might expect, Chabi was a gentle soul, a Buddhist, and she convinced her husband to show mercy.
I'm eager to go to New York and see this exhibit before it closes on January 2.
- October 6, 2010 -