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China's Terracotta Warriors are coming to the NGV

Written by
Ben Neutze

The National Gallery of Victoria's latest winter blockbuster was a look back at the last 130 years of modern art, but their major 2019 winter exhibitions are looking a fair bit further back. All the way to the third century BCE.

For more than 2,000 years an army of 8,000 life-sized terracotta warriors have stood guard at the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, in the Shaanxi province. The army was entirely unknown until it was discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974. It's not every day you stumble across one of the wonders of the world.

In winter a delegation of eight warriors will visit Melbourne as part of an exhibition at the NGV called Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality. True, eight warriors out of 8,000 feels a little bit measly, but they'll be presented alongside more than 150 treasures from ancient China.

But the NGV is a gallery that always has one eye on the present and the future, which is why it's presenting another exhibition from China this winter: all new works from contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang, inspired by his home country. At the centre of his exhibition is an installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds flying high above visitors' heads. 

Cai Guo-Qiang, digital render for 'Murmuration', 2018

Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality and Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape will be at NGV International from May 24 to October 13 2019.

Check out the NGV's immersive summer blockbuster and continue your art adventure with the best exhibitions this month.

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