Australia will host the first showing outside the USA of a collection of one of America’s most fascinating modern cultural artefacts.
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has announced it will host the Terracotta Republicans (pictured above) in March as its first blockbuster exhibition for 2019.
The NVG’s director of exhibitions, Mervyn de Prave (pictured), told The Bug the gallery was ecstatic at securing the show.
“The Terracotta Republicans have dazzled and indeed puzzled world audiences since they were discovered around January 2017,” Mr de Prave said.
“They are believed to be guards of the powerful but erratic Emperor Hai Per Bo Lee from the Smallhans Dynasty.
“The Emperor created chaos and corruption within his own imperial court in the Yuge Province by stacking it with family members and reputedly going out of his way to put offside former allied nations and peoples.
“He even wanted to construct his own Great Wall and went out of his way to divide his empire by demonising peoples from surrounding nations,” Mr de Prave said.
Head of the Department of Archaeology at Monash University, Professor Clay Fondler, (pictured) said although guards were a common feature in all imperial courts, the Terracotta Republicans were unique.
“US researchers have been struck by the rigidity and immobile appearance of the Terracotta Republicans,” Prof Fondler said. “It’s as if they have been frozen in time.
“Remnants of the guards of previous emperors showed distinct signs of activism and involvement which indicates they were prepared to move against an emperor when it was deemed necessary and in the best interests of the empire. But these recently discovered Terracotta Republicans appear to have lost the power to speak or move.
“That’s a clear indication that the Terracotta Republicans were unwilling to act against their emperor even when they knew he was doing the wrong thing by them and the empire.
“This is thought to reflect their belief that they might benefit personally from the Emperor’s actions or that the inhabitants of their nation may punish them if they tried to rein in the Emperor,” Prof Fondler said.
Mr de Prave said the NGV’s Terracotta Republicans Exhibition would run until November 2020.
“We know it’s a long time to have them out of the United States. But they weren’t doing anything there anyway,” he said.