New Zealander Rewi Alley’s connection to the highest levels of China’s communist leadership, including Chairman Mao, helped establish the most extensive collection of Chinese art in New Zealand. That collection, housed at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, is the subject of a Marsden Grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand. This website is being used as a curation and research tool, to piece together missing information. Art historian Dr Richard Bullen from the University of Canterbury and historian Assoc. Prof. James Beattie from the University of Waikato are the two principal investigators on the three-year project.

The researchers are investigating the scope of the collection, why and how it developed and the extent to which the artefacts encouraged favourable perceptions of a ‘New China’ in New Zealand. Project findings will significantly advance knowledge in many areas of art, exhibition and diplomatic history, and New Zealand-China relations.

This site is a curation tool, connecting researchers together to share knowledge about the artworks in the collection.

China, Art and Cultural Diplomacy is edited by Richard Bullen and James Beattie, with editorial assistance from Xiongbo Shi.