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Ancient Chinese gown on display for first time

Updated: 2024-06-22 10:17 ( Xinhua )
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CHANGSHA — A garment made with incredibly thin material that was worn by a Chinese noblewoman 2,200 years ago is on exhibit for the first time in Changsha, the capital of Central China's Hunan province.

The simple unlined gauze gown with its curved hem and weighing just 48 grams is on display as part of an exhibition titled She Walks in Beauty: Women of the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire, which opened on June 15 at the Hunan Museum.

The exhibition showcases more than 200 objects from 19 museums across Italy and China. Among them are the gown and a T-shaped painting on silk from the tomb of Lady Xin Zhui, both of which are national treasures in China.

The gown, described as "thin as a cicada wing" and "light as smoke", has never before been on public display.

It is longer and wider — yet 1 gram lighter — than a plain, unlined gauze gown with a straight hem that is on display as part of the Hunan Museum's Mawangdui Tombs exhibition. The garments showcase the pinnacle of textile techniques during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24).

Both gowns were unearthed from Lady Xin Zhui's tomb at the Mawangdui relics site. Xin Zhui, who died around the age of 50, was the wife of Li Cang, the chancellor of the Changsha Kingdom.

Among the Italian artifacts on display is a fresco depicting Perseus and Andromeda, which is being exhibited outside the Capitoline Museums for the first time since it became part of the museums' collections.

Capitoline Superintendent of Cultural Heritage Claudio Parisi Presicce says that the objects from Rome are being exhibited for the first time in China.

"In particular, there are some female statues that have never been lent before," he says.

The exhibition focuses on the family, social and emotional lives of women 2,000 years ago in both the East and the West and will continue until Oct 7.

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