CHANGSHA, China, June 26, 2024 — The “Beauty Personalized – Han and Roman Female Cultural Relics Exhibition” opened at the Hunan Museum on June 15. The exhibition features precious national cultural relics, including genuine unlined clothes of plain yarn with curving-front, displayed for the first time. The exhibition will run until October 7.


Jointly organized by the Hunan Museum and Roman Cultural Heritage Supervision Administration, the exhibition showcases over 200 artifacts from 19 museums, including the Hunan Museum and Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museums) in Rome, Italy. The collection includes bronze, pottery, gold and silver, glassware, textiles, jade, and sculptures.

Focusing on women and their family, social, and emotional lives, the exhibition offers a colorful perspective on female narratives in Eastern and Western cultures 2,000 years ago. By connecting Eastern and Western cultural relics, the exhibition reveals the unique beauty of women from diverse cultural backgrounds and their shared pursuit of aesthetic values.

The unlined clothes of plain yarn with curving-front, showcased for the first time, represent the pinnacle of textile technology in the Western Han Dynasty. Weighing 48g, this garment is the earliest known example of such thin and lightweight clothing made from undyed plain silk with square holes and a cuff and collar decorated with silk. Unearthed from Tomb One at Mawangdui, known as the Tomb of Xinzui, the garment belonged to the wife of Li Cang, Prime Minister of the Changsha State of the Western Han Dynasty. She lived over 2,200 years ago and died at around 50 years old.

Also on display for the first time is a piece of clothing with a pattern reading “live a long and happy life”. The relics of this clothing were found in a bamboo box in the west of Mawangdui Tomb 3, where “two boxes of clothes” were discovered. The characters for “live a long and happy life” are the earliest loom-woven examples of their kind found in unearthed silk fabrics.

The “Painted Plaster Mural of Perseus and Andromeda”, a Roman treasure from Capitoline Museums, is making its public debut. The director of the Roman Cultural Heritage Supervision Administration told the media that “this half-moon mural, from the second half of the 4th century AD, depicts a mythological story of heroes saving beauty.” The 138 Roman artifacts on display are primarily from the Capitoline Museums, all exhibited in China for the first time.

Source: Hunan Museum

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