VMFA Director given ambassador title in advance of Terracotta Army opening

Shaanxi partner presents honor during special exhibition preview event

The Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau in China has named Alex Nyerges, Director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), as an Ambassador of Shaanxi Cultural Heritage. The honor was presented during an exclusive preview for exhibition sponsors, VMFA leaders, and visiting Chinese dignitaries of Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China, which opens on November 18, 2017.

The honor reflects Nyerges’s long-term development of cultural partnerships across China and particularly in Shaanxi Province, where the Terracotta Army exhibition is rooted. The Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau implements policies for security, conservation, foreign affairs and promotion of cultural heritage for the province, and is the lead organizing partner for this exhibition.

“It is a great honor to celebrate the grand opening of this exhibition with friends and colleagues,” said Qian Jikui, Deputy Director General, Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, who traveled to Richmond for the exhibition preview. “We are grateful for Director Nyerges’s kind invitation and support, and delighted to host the exhibition in a place that has such a significant influence both in the United States and all around the world. I believe this exhibition will not only show the splendid culture of ancient China, but also enhance the understanding and friendship between China and the United States.”

Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China will showcase 130 works of art, drawn from the collections of 14 art museums and archaeological institutes across the Shaanxi province in China. The exhibition will tell how the Qin state developed into an empire under Ying Zheng (259–210 BC), who unified China and declared himself Qin Shihuang, or the First Emperor of Qin. His quest for immortality began soon after he became king of the Qin state in 246 BC.

The exhibition is organized by VMFA and the Cincinnati Art Museum, in partnership with Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, Shaanxi History Museum (Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center), and Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum of the People’s Republic of China. The exhibition is curated by Li Jian, VMFA’s E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Curator of East Asian Art, and Hou-mei Sung, Curator of Asian Art at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

“I am humbled by this extraordinary honor, particularly as building these partnerships and relationships have been among the highlights of my work here at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” Nyerges said. “Art and archaeology are ways that we can deepen our understanding of other people and cultures, and I’m honored that these partnerships have allowed us to bring an unparalleled exhibition to VMFA. I must also credit Li Jian, who used these relationships as important avenues for co-curating an exhibition that tells a broader story of the Qin nation.”

Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China is presented by Altria Group and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. The exhibition program at VMFA is supported by the Julia Louise Reynolds Fund.

The special preview was held Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at VMFA.

About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the largest comprehensive art museums in the United States. VMFA, which opened in 1936, is a state agency and privately endowed educational institution. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art, and to encourage the study of the arts. Through the Office of Statewide Partnerships program, the museum offers curated exhibitions, arts-related audiovisual programs, symposia, lectures, conferences, and workshops by visual and performing artists. In addition to presenting a wide array of special exhibitions, the museum provides visitors with the opportunity to experience a global collection of art that spans more than 6,000 years. VMFA’s permanent holdings encompass nearly 40,000 artworks, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside of Russia, the finest collection of Art Nouveau outside of Paris, and one of the nation’s finest collections of American art. VMFA is also home to important collections of Chinese art, English silver and French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British sporting, and modern and contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan, and African art. In May 2010, VMFA re-opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its 80-year history. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the only art museum in the United States open 365 days a year with free general admission. For additional information, telephone 804.340.1400 or visit www.VMFA.museum.

Media contact:
Anthony Backherms |
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