In 1925, Pope Pius XI (1857-1939) organized a major exhibition at the Vatican to showcase the beauty of cultures from across the globe, bringing together over 100,000 superb works of art, which aimed to demonstrate the Catholic Church’s high regard for the culture and artistry of all the peoples of the world.
Today we bring to the Palace Museum Chinese artifacts from the collection of the Vatican Museums. The Vatican collection includes a great variety of approximately 5,000 items from China, spanning the ages. Those shown here are divided into three sections:, Catholic Art, Buddhist Art and Secular Art. The Palace Museum, in a gesture of friendship and generosity, has furthermore added masterpieces of its own to be exhibited alongside works from the Vatican Museums.
The exhibits include gifts which bear witness to centuries of China-Vatican friendship as well as exquisite artifacts which integrate Catholic and Chinese arts. There is also a wonderful oil painting from the Vatican Museums—Adam and Eve in the Earthly Paradise. This painting expresses the desire for harmony between humankind and nature that heads of states of both countries have often spoken of.
As the name “Beauty Unites Us” indicates, we hope this journey into the beauty of the art of China and of the Vatican helps to unite us on the road towards a future of lasting friendship.