Art: An Age of Innovation and Withdrawal

In 1279, his empire overrun by the invading Mongols, China's last Sung emperor was cast into the sea. Kublai Khan became lord of an empire that stretched from Korea to Mesopotamia. In the next 90 years under the Yuan dynasty, which he founded, China experienced what seems to have been a wideranging artistic reorientation. Yet until recently, Chinese scholars could never bring themselves to study in depth this hated era of foreign domination.

Seeking to re-evaluate the little-known period, Cleveland's Museum of Art this week unveils a 316-piece exhibit, "Chinese Art Under the...

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