April 19, 2004 Vol. VIII, No. 14

'Mysteries of Ancient Chinese Art' to Debut at Oviatt

The Tseng Collection's Rare Jade, Bronze, Earthenware Antiquities Span 6,000 Years

An exquisite collection of Chinese antiquities spanning more than 6,000 years of Chinese history will go on display Thursday, April 22, in Cal State Northridge's Oviatt Library. Entitled "Possessing the Past: Mysteries of Ancient Chinese Art," the exhibition will be open to the public through August 27.

Marking the first public showing of The Tseng Collection, the exhibition will include more than 100 pieces of archaic jade, an assortment of ancient bronze, Neolithic pottery, earthenware and Stone Age tools.

Collection highlights include a unique 3,000-year-old gold and bronze vessel valued at $5.5 million, a bronze bull with inlaid gold and silver dated between the eleventh and sixth centuries B.C.E., a glass water buffalo weight dated between 400-221 B.C.E., and a Stone Age axe blade believed to be between 1.5-2 million years old.

In fall 2003, entrepreneur Roland Tseng pledged to Cal State Northridge a collection of Chinese antiquities valued at up to $38 million.

Designated for public display and academic study, Tseng's donation was the largest in the history of Cal State Northridge and the California State University system. The antiquities now are part of the Special Collections and Archives area of the Oviatt Library.

Visitors to the exhibition in the library's C.K. and Teresa Tseng Gallery-named for Roland Tseng's parents-will be struck by the detail and fine craftsmanship that went into each piece, said curator Tony Gardner.

"I personally was amazed at the level of craftsmanship of these ancient artisans," Gardner said.

Tseng, a veteran art collector who also has helped the Chinese government with its own preservation efforts, said he chose Cal State Northridge for the collection because of the university's strong connections with China, and because the university is a place where the antiquities can be publicly shown and studied in many different disciplines.

In recognition of the gift, the CSU Board of Trustees in January approved renaming the College of Extended Learning as the Roland Tseng College of Extended Learning, and the west wing of the Oviatt Library-where the prized art will be displayed-as the Tseng Family Wing.

Roland Tseng is a corporate founder and inventor, an internationally published author, a photographer and martial arts expert. His gift also will establish an endowment to permanently support the collection, expected to become a focus for academic research by the university's own faculty and students, and by researchers from around the world, including China.

@csun | April 19, 2004 issue
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