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Mythical Creatures: China and the World

December 21, 2023–June 1, 2025

This exhibition will explore the theme of diversity by comparing mythical creatures from different cultures. While these fantastical animals may look different, they serve a similar purpose – to help humans make sense of the world.

On view in Gallery 339 will be classic Chinese legendary mythical creatures—the dragon, phoenix and qilin—juxtaposed with collection highlights from Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, as well as Persia and Western Europe, to show the diversity of mythical creatures throughout the world, as well as their similarities and differences. Elaborately embroidered costumes and silver headdresses created by Miao, Yi and other minority peoples decorated with dragons, phoenixes, and creatures relating to origin myths will be on display in Gallery 326. In a third space (Gallery 321) Chinese contemporary works of mythical creatures by artists Xu Bing and Ai Weiwei show how the past continues to inform art today.

Main Building


Mythical Creatures: China and the World is made possible by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Global.


Hiromi Kinoshita, The Hannah L. and J. Welles Henderson Curator of Chinese Art

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