The most interesting and unique section of the show is Chinese Inspiration, where the items differ from previous exhibitions. Besides Cartier pieces inspired by Chinese elements, Liaoning Provincial Museum has selected over 100 pieces from its own collection. The two parties make the exhibition "an event where the East meets the West", according to Ma Baojie, the museum director.
This section features jewelry made for the Chinese royal families during the Qing Dynasty, including a gilded copper belt buckle inlaid with gems, white jade bracelet carved with two dragons offering a pearl, and peach-shaped jadeite earrings. Unlike Cartier's Western style, these pieces have typical traditional royal Chinese style: rich in jade and ivory, smooth, curving, in yin and yang balance, delicate, and exquisite in ornaments.
According to Pierre Rainero, style and heritage director of Cartier International, this part is a comparison or confrontation between two cultures. Visitors can find many similarities in Cartier pieces and those from Liaoning Provincial Museum.
A small box, with black lacquer finish all over and mother-of-pearl and radiant gold pieces, has a scene from the Chinese classic work Romance of the West Chamber on the cover.
The love story was so famous that a Cartier table cigarette box created in 1925 has an exact same picture on it. It is made from gold, silver, and platinum, and decorated with ruby cabochons, rose-cut diamonds, coral and black enamel. Visitors who are interested can compare the two in terms of skills, materials, the picture's structure, and the vivid expressions on the characters.
The third section of the exhibition, Precious Objects, consists of objects used on elegant occasions, including bags with jewelry, a little umbrella, boxes for pens, and other stationery.
For the past 30 years, Cartier has purchased various precious items of the label from auctions and personal collectors, which then formed the famous Cartier Collection. Now, it has more than 1,500 pieces, not only jewelry, but also gadgets for daily use.
It was invited by various museums around the world to hold exhibitions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, National Museum in Tokyo, and British Museum in London. This is the 26th time that the Cartier Collection has been presented to the public.
Liaoning Provincial Museum is the fourth in China to present the collection.
"This exhibition is one of a kind, because all the selections are of Shenyang-guided Cartier pieces," Rainero says. "Here, you have also very interesting pieces of jewelry, and also a lot of other daily objects. But our focus here is on the delicate craftsmanship."
In 2004, Shanghai Museum held the exhibition, with all exhibits from Cartier. In 2009, the collection went to Palace Museum in Beijing, and the exhibition was about power and the royal family. Last year, the Palace Museum in Taipei held the exhibition to show the comparison between jewelry from the East and the West.