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Celebrating the Year of the Rabbit

January 21, 2023–January 30, 2024
Previously on view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 207
Free with Museum admission

This exhibition presents sixteen remarkable Chinese works illustrating how rabbits have been a prominent artistic subject since ancient times. Their earliest depictions are featured on jade pendants and sacred ritual bronze vessels dating from China’s Shang (ca. 1600–1048 BCE) and Western Zhou (ca. 1046–771 BCE) dynasties. A popular figure in literature and folklore, a rabbit is believed to inhabit the moon and assist the goddess Chang’e by preparing her elixir of immortality, as shown on the back of an eighth- to ninth-century bronze mirror as well as on a nineteenth-century embroidered silk mirror case. Also on view are images of the zodiac animals in jade and ceramics that were meant to adorn people’s homes as well as dispel harmful influences.

The exhibition is made possible by the Joseph Hotung Fund.

Exhibition Objects

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Twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, Jade (nephrite), China
18th–19th century
Two rabbits, Jade, China
14th–15th century
Chariot linchpin with rabbit, Bronze, China
11th–9th century BCE
Plaque in the shape of a rabbit, Jade (nephrite), China
Marquee: Vase. China, Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Porcelain painted in cobalt blue under a transparent glaze, H. 23 in. (58.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of Mary Clark Thompson, 1923 (24.80.168)