Just got these images from the museum’s Asian Art Curator Shawn Eichman (that’s him on the far right in the photo). He’s in the middle of leading the tour Great Civilizations Along the Silk Road, which stops in Beijing, Urumqi, Kuche, Kashgar, Turpan, Dunhuang, Xian, and Shanghai. The tour is organized in collaboration with the company China Advocates, which works with institutions across the country to tailor grand expeditions for their memberships. Museum donors were invited to participate in the trip. Pictured above, left to right, are great museum supporters David Mullikan, Marcy Katz, Noreen Mullikan, Trustee Vi Loo, Trustee Robert Katz, Trustee Indru Watumull, Dr. Gene Doo, Trustee Cecilia Doo, and Gulab Watumull in front of the 18th-century Nine Dragon Screen in the Forbidden City.

You couldn’t have a better guide than Shawn. He speaks fluent Mandarin and received his B.S. in Chinese Studies from Georgetown University, an M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese Literature from the University of Hawai‘i–Mānoa, and a second M.A. in East Asian Philosophy from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Before assuming the curatorship in Honolulu, he worked at The Art Institute of Chicago, the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. A specialist in Chinese art, he has been involved in numerous exhibitions and publications, including Taoism and the Arts of China at The Art Institute of Chicago in 2000, and Masterpieces of Landscape Painting from the Forbidden City at the Honolulu Museum of Art in 2011.

He has a special way of making art hundreds of years old seem immediate and thrilling. I’d love to hear what he has to say about these swimming dragons.