China: Through the Looking Glass

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"China: Through the Looking Glass" in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here, fashion inspired by Chinese opera are shown.
A silk couture dress by Chinese designer Guo Pei became a center piece of the exhibition[1][2]

China: Through the Looking Glass was an art exhibition held in 2015 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art focusing on the impact of Chinese design on Western fashion over the centuries. It was curated by Andrew Bolton (with the support of Harold Koda).[3] [4][5]

The exhibit was extremely popular in New York City and resulted in record attendance for the museum, drawing more visitors than that of the previous record holder among popular Costume Institute exhibitions, Savage Beauty.[6] Originally scheduled to run from 7 May to 16 August, it was extended through September 7 and stayed open through the night on its final weekend.[7]

The exhibition inverts Orientalism, choosing to focus on "the East as authentic".[4] The show "aims to readdress Edward Said's notion of Orientalism—a criticism of the West's depictions of the East as patronising and inauthentic."[8]

A documentary film about the exhibition, The First Monday in May was released on April 15, 2016.[9][10] The film is available on Netflix.[11]

Examples from China: Through the Looking Glass


  1. ^ "'China: Through the Looking Glass'". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ "China: Through the Looking Glass". The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Givhan, Robin (5 May 2015). "The fantasy of China: Why the new Met exhibition is a big, beautiful lie". Washington Post. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  5. ^ Holpuch, Amanda (4 May 2015). "Met's China: Through the Looking Glass show presents a fantasy of the far east". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  6. ^ "China: Through the Looking Glass show breaks Metropolitan museum record". The Guardian. Agence France. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  7. ^ Greenberger, Alex (27 August 2015). "Met To Remain Open Until Midnight for Final Weekend of 'China: Through the Looking Glass'". ArtNews. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  8. ^ Michalska, Julia (5 May 2015). "The Met launches China show, using a Western lens". The Art Newspaper. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  9. ^ Murphy, Mekado (22 February 2016). "Tribeca Film Festival Opening With Look at Met's Costume Show". New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  10. ^ Cox, Gordon (22 February 2016). "Tribeca Film Festival to Open With Met Museum Documentary 'The First Monday in May'". Variety. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  11. ^ "The First Monday in May | Netflix". Retrieved 2018-10-19.