The Beginning of the World

Dragons, Phoenix and other Chimera

11 November 2020 - 23 May 2021


Since time immemorial, China has been interested in the Great Narrative
of the Universe. Even before the first dynasties, observers of the Heavens
tracked the movement of celestial bodies. Cosmology, then astronomy,
became State sciences, and the emperors – the Sons of Heaven – became
custodians of the interdependence between the sky and the Empire.
China was considered as much part of Heaven as of Earth. The exhibition
The Beginning of the World: Dragons, Phoenix and other Chimera vividly
illustrates how the story of this relationship can be observed through the
prism of jade. Arching back over eighty centuries, this venerable stone is a
mirror reflecting Heaven, Earth and mankind. Its inner beauty enchants and
delights yet also leaves us pondering.
The exhibition features emblematic symbols, mythical creatures, and ritual
implements – over two hundred remarkable jade pieces from the collection
of Sam and Myrna Myers, a collection they began in Switzerland in 1966
when they visited Wladimir Rosenbaum’s art gallery in Ascona. The jades are
complemented by other gems: agates, turquoises, and crystal, as well as
delicate liturgical silk fabrics embroidered with gold thread, which are all also
part of this exceptional collection.
The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual publication (French and English).