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‘China is not just one entity’: major exhibition aims to showcase unseen diversity

Over 200 items from institutions in China and beyond will be on display at Cleveland Museum of Art, shining a light on the Jiangnan region and its long-running importance

Although little-known in the west, China’s Jiangnan region has played a pivotal role throughout thousands of years of the country’s history. “It’s as if Ohio produced 20% of the GDP of the United States,” said Clarissa von Spee, curator with the Cleveland Museum of Art. “It’s pretty powerful, this region, and it has remained so for centuries.” Producing many of the products most strongly associated with China – including jade and silk – it is a cultural powerhouse that is about to finally get its due in the United States.

For the past several years, Von Spee has worked with her colleagues at the Cleveland Museum of Art – including the museum director, William M Griswold – to create a major show on the Jiangnan region: this exhibition now sees the light of day as China’s Southern Paradise: Treasures from the Lower Yangzi Delta.

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