A journey through history
Sacred Slit Gong, wood, Papua New Guinea, 19th century. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Max Hollein, director of the Met, describes the exhibition as "a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity", because the artworks on show usually cannot leave the United States.
According to Hollein, the Met's department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas was established in 1969, when Nelson Rockefeller gave the museum more than 3,000 works of art, a specialized library and the Visual Resource Archive. The artworks were collected by his son, Michael C. Rockefeller, who disappeared in New Guinea's Asmat tribal region after his catamaran overturned, at the age of 23, in 1961. In 1982, the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing at the Met was opened to the public.
"The objects on show in Shanghai have been there ever since, and have been one of the most popular and engaging areas of our collection," Hollein explains. "It's only because we are currently renovating this particular part of our museum that these objects can travel for the very first time."