The Met Hosts Virtual Lunar New Year Festival on January 29 to Celebrate Year of the Tiger
Zodiac figure: Tiger. Chinese, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Porcelain, in the biscuit and with turquoise and aubergine glazes, H. 6 in. (15.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Birgit and Peter Morse, in memory of Betty and Sydney Morse, 1992 (1992.100.2)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art will host a Virtual Lunar New Year Festival in celebration of the Year of the Tiger on Saturday, January 29. The festival will honor Lunar New Year traditions from across Asia and feature artist-led workshops, performances, and interactive activities for participants of all ages to engage with from home, anywhere in the world.
Highlights will include a dance showcase by members of the Vietnam Heritage Center, a performance by artist Vincent Chong, Storytime with special guest Yuhua Hamasaki from Drag Queen Story Hour NYC, art-making activities with teaching artists Chemin Hsiao and Padma Rajendran, The Met’s popular Insider Insights talks conducted in both English and Mandarin, and more. All Lunar New Year Festival programming is free on The Met’s online channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Festival participants are invited to share their celebrations by tagging #MetLunar. All programs are prerecorded with captions in English, Simplified Chinese, Korean, and Spanish and will be available to stream indefinitely.
Virtual Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Tiger has been made possible, in part, by Council Member Keith Powers and an anonymous donor. The festival is presented by the Museum's Advisory Committee on Cultural Engagement and Education Department.
Below is the current schedule of festival programming; some events will premiere at specific times, while others will be available throughout the day. The latest information with further details about where events can be streamed is available on The Met’s website.
The virtual festival will feature two performances. A dance by members of the Vietnam Heritage Center will showcase traditional Vietnamese áo dài garments (11:30–11:50 a.m.). Next, Vincent Chong, a queer, mixed-race Chinese American artist, will write gold calligraphy in sky-high heels (12:30–12:50 p.m.).
Throughout the day, artist-led art-making workshops will be offered as part of the festival. Using materials found at home, participants can create a mandala—a graphic pattern traditionally used for meditation—with teaching artist Padma Rajendran, while teaching artist Chemin Hsiao will share instructions on how to make a luminous paper lantern decorated with phrases of good fortune (11–11:15 a.m.).
Talks and Storytelling:
A talk on the exhibition Celebrating the Year of the Tiger with Jason Sun, The Met’s Brooke Russell Astor Curator of Chinese Art, will highlight depictions of tigers in the Museum’s collection (this program will premiere in English at 10:00 a.m. and in Mandarin at 10:30 a.m.). Other video content includes The Artist Project episode featuring Lee Mingwei’s exploration of Chinese ceremonial robes and a Met Stories episode starring Ariun Sanjaajamts, founder of the New York Mongolian Cultural Council, as she unexpectedly discovers her Mongolian heritage and a new place to share it.
Bilingual Storytime with Drag Queen Story Hour will invite guests to look, listen, sing, and have fun with picture books in English and Cantonese with special guest Yuhua Hamasaki from Drag Queen Story Hour NYC (12–12:15 p.m.). Storytime with The Met offers an interactive reading of Linda Sue Park’s Bee-Bim Bop!
The Met's collection of Asian art—more than 35,000 objects ranging in date from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the 21st century—is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Each of the many civilizations of Asia is represented by outstanding works, providing an unrivaled experience of the artistic traditions of nearly half the world. Works from the collection are featured in special exhibitions and displayed across the department’s many galleries.
Celebrating the Year of the Tiger (on view January 29, 2022–January 17, 2023) presents more than 20 works illustrating how tigers have been a prominent artistic subject since ancient times. Symbols of power and authority, they are often seen on the sacred ritual vessels of the Shang (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.) and Zhou (1046–256 B.C.) dynasties. During the late Zhou and Han (206 B.C.–A.D. 220) dynasties, rulers delegated military command to officers using tiger-shaped bronze tallies. Depictions of tigers permeate almost all aspects of Chinese culture. For example, the tiger symbolizes the western quadrant of the four cardinal directions. It is regarded as the king of all wild animals and used on military banners to illustrate bravery and swiftness. In Chinese folklore, the tiger is a protective deity able to dispel harmful spirits.
Other exhibitions include Companions in Solitude: Reclusion and Communion in Chinese Art (through August 14, 2022), exploring the twin themes of solitude and togetherness in Chinese art through more than 120 works of painting, calligraphy, and decorative arts; Shell and Resin: Korean Mother-of-Pearl and Lacquer (through July 5, 2022), showcasing nearly 30 outstanding works of Korean lacquerware from The Met collection; and Masters and Masterpieces: Chinese Art from the Florence and Herbert Irving Collection (through June 5, 2022), featuring works that represent the artistic sophistication and technical virtuosity of Chinese decorative arts from the 10th through the early 20th century.
The full list of Asian art exhibitions is available on The Met’s website.