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Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices


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Treasure Ships, the largest, deepest research exhibition into Art in the Age of Spices, takes us around the world from the 16th to 19th centuries and washes up on the shores of Australia.

With 300 artworks on display, the Art Gallery of South Australia tells the story of artistic and cultural interaction between Europe and Asia, driven by maritime trade at a time when maps were first being drawn and shared and Christianity, along with black pepper, ivory and turtle shell were being peddled from coast to coast.

Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia said this landmark exhibition and the accompanying publication highlight the Gallery’s international reputation for presenting spectacular exhibitions of historical Asian and European art.

The artworks include rarely seen pieces of ceramic, furniture, prints and paintings, engravings, textiles, metalware and decorative arts from private and public collections in Australia, India, Portugal, Singapore and the United States.

Curators James Bennett and Russell Kelty have worked on this exhibition for more than three years, and the exhibition runs alongside a massive and diverse public program of more than 550 events, spanning age groups and appeal.

Among particular highlights for South Australia are two works from the personal collection of Queen Adelaide, our city’s namesake. There are also significant religious pieces, and a 19th Century Chinese punchbowl depicting Sydney Cove, that pinpoints Australia within this global history.

Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices runs at the Art Gallery of South Australia until 30 August. Beyond Adelaide, it will travel to the Art Gallery of Western Australia from 10 October 2015 to 31 January 2016.

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