The Carpenter gallery is usually home to Chinese paintings, of which the Museum of Fine Arts holds one of the world’s great collections. The current exhibition is a departure. It does feature some Chinese paintings, but it also includes works from Tibet. Since the fourteenth century, Chinese and Tibetan art have engaged in a vigorous and mutually sustaining dialogue, each side learning from and influencing the other. “Tibet/China Confluences” explores that dialogue.
Tibetan paintings first appeared in China in large numbers during the fourteenth century. Their vibrant colors, intense imagery, and bold compositions attracted Chinese viewers, and Chinese painters began to borrow aspects of Tibetan style. In turn, Tibetan painters emulated the sensitive naturalism of the Chinese tradition—botanical paintings and landscapes in particular. The resulting works are sometimes called “Sino-Tibetan” or “Tibeto-Chinese,” reflecting the fact that the traditions are often so closely interwoven as to constitute new, hybrid styles.