Orientations is a bimonthly print magazine published in Hong Kong and distributed worldwide since 1969. It is an authoritative source of information on the many and varied aspects of the arts of East and Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, from the latest scholarly research to market analysis and current news.
The Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879, celebrated a centenary of Asian art at the museum in 2021. Although the very first objects, a Qianlong period red lacquer tea bowl and a celadon vase, entered the collection as early as 1888, they were housed under the Department of Classical Antiquities and were looked upon as ‘curios’. A Department of Oriental Art was finally established in 1921 and included art from East, Central, and West Asia. Today, the department is the custodian of over 20,000 objects.
We also include four articles based on the findings of a joint project between the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France and the Palace Museum, Beijing, from 2016 to 2021 focusing on the artistic, cultural, and political exchange of French enamelled objects imported into China between the 17th and mid-19th centuries. The possession of European enamel objects and the subsequent adoption of the technique in China’s own artistic tradition was a symbol of universal imperial power for the Qing emperors.
To round out this issue of exchanges from East Asia to North America and from Europe to East Asia, we look at how the Yuan dynasty (1272–1368) in China and the Il-Khanid dynasty (1256–1353) in Iran cultivated cultural exchanges between East and West Asia, with Sino-Sogdian elements in Persian book illustrations a prime example of this phenomena.