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Chinese Glass Paintings (Ralph M. Chait Collection)

DATES March 1928 through June 1928
COLLECTIONS Asian Art
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  • January 31, 1929: There is an unusually large collection of Chinese paintings on glass being shown at the Brooklyn Museum lent by Mr. Ralph Chait. The collection numbers 73 pieces in all. This is undoubtedly the most important collection of this phase of Chinese art now on public view in Greater New York.

    The pictures are of the Ch'ien Lung Period (1735-1796 A.D.) The painting is done on the underside of the glass and the back is sometimes silvered to make mirrors; this form, called "mirror painting", is rare and much esteemed by Chinese connoisseurs. Many of the pictures of this period show the influence of European art.

    Old paintings on glass, because of the particularly fragile nature of the material, are now very scarce. It would be difficult to duplicate this collection as in the forming of it nooks and corners of China were searched. Most of the pictures show some marks of time, which, however, seem to add to their charm, rather than detract.

    The pictures are important as they depict historical episodes. Any one well versed in Chinese history can determine what incidents are illustrated. They are very valuable as authentic documents of costumes of their period, as well as for architecture of temples and houses.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1916 - 1930. 01-03/1929, 012. View Original