Quentin Roosevelt's China

    May 13, 2011 - September 19, 2011

    This exhibition unites approximately one hundred works of Naxi religious art primarily acquired by Quentin Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, and botanist-explorer Joseph Rock in the early- to mid-twentieth century, for the first time.

    The Naxi—one of China's fifty-five ethnic minority nationalities—traditionally practiced the Dongba religion. Dongba has distinct artistic expressions, though it reflects influences from Bon, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Mongolian shamanism, and popular cults. The religion's ritual corpus, comprising some one thousand ceremonies, is contained in manuscripts filled with Dongba script—the only living pictographic language in the world. Examples of these manuscripts, as well as funeral scrolls, altar sticks, thangka paintings, and ritual objects reveal Naxi art as it was found in Lijiang before China's Revolution in 1949.

    To learn even more about Quentin Roosevelt's China and the Naxi, read the press release.

    Curated by Cindy Ho, Christine Mathieu, and Martin Brauen

    This exhibition was funded, in part, by the Peco Stacpoole Foundation.


    Become a member to attend an exclusive members-only viewing on May 19.


    Quentin Roosevelt's China: Related Programs

    Naxi Conference

    May 14 - 15, 2011

    A conference to mark the opening of Quentin Roosevelt's China: Ancestral Realms of the Naxi (May 13–September 19, 2011). While the exhibition showcases the art and artifacts of the Naxi as they lived over seventy years ago, at this conference anthropologists, linguists, preservationists, and other professionals will exchange knowledge and ask questions about the current situation of the Naxi and and look to the future.


    Related Media

    Video: Dongba Blessing Ceremony & Interview

    Play Video
    Opening day of the exhibition Quentin Roosevelt's China. Dongba priest He Limin blesses the exhibition and scholar Yang Fuquan sings a traditional funeral song.

    Video: Interview with Cindy Ho and Susan Roosevelt

    Play Video
    Co-curator Cindy Ho discusses her initial encounters with the Naxi and the discovery of Quentin Roosevelt's personal effects, on view in the exhibition.

    Audio & Video: Naxi Conference

    Download audio and video selections from iTunes U

    This selection of talks and presentations from the conference features: Michael Oppitz, Helen Rees, Charles McKhann, Karl Debreczeny and Dongba priest He Limin.


    Exhibition Resources

    Audio Tour

    Download the exhibition audio tour from iTunes U

    Exhibition Catalogue

    This catalogue offers a comprehensive introduction to centuries of Naxi culture, art, and religion and presents outstanding objects from public and private collections, including those collected by Quentin Roosevelt in China.
    Learn More

    Installation Photographs

    Click here to view the installation of Quentin Roosevelt's China: Ancestral Realms of the Naxi.


    Exhibition Interactives

    Explore Quentin Roosevelt's Travels in China

    Explore the route that Quentin Roosevelt II took through China while collecting Naxi art works. See original photographs taken by Roosevelt and read his correspondence along the way. Learn about the Roosevelt family tree and discover the relationship between Quentin II and other Roosevelts throughout history.

    Explore Dongba Pictographs

    Write in another language! Create your own Dongba manuscript and sentences with the Pictograph Interactive above.