Perfect Imbalance image

Perfect Imbalance, Exploring Chinese Aesthetics

On view June 1, 2008

Located in the: Online Interactive

“The nation has collapsed, but the mountains and rivers remain.”

So wrote the 8th-century Chinese poet Du Fu, reflecting on the political turbulence of his own era. Seeking constancy amidst change, these words have been recalled time and again over the centuries. Like Du Fu's mountains and rivers, aesthetics in Chinese art and culture have persisted through centuries of dynastic change, social upheaval, and the introduction of foreign ideas. Ultimately these aesthetic standards are a testament to the power of art and its transcendence over the vagaries of time. Although China is a diverse, longstanding and ever-changing culture, this exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum seeks to explore the unifying strands and continuities that link the neolithic and the contemporary, the imperial and the vernacular, the Daoist and the Maoist in Chinese art and culture.


Created for both students and teachers, this interactive is designed to engage students with objects and textual descriptions from the exhibition, and provides teachers with lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school classes.