Treasures of China


In response to the latest government guidance, Tullie House will be implementing a phased closure in order to protect our staff, volunteers and visitors.

  • On Wednesday 18th March all galleries will be closed.
  • From Thursday 19th March the entire building and grounds will be closed to the public.

Decisions about eventual reopening will be made in accordance with the latest government guidance. This decision was not taken lightly and was done in conjunction with partners and stakeholders. With the health of our community uppermost in our minds we feel closing is the safest option. We look forward to reopening with our exciting programme of exhibitions and events as soon as possible.


A major new exhibition unveiling the splendour of almost 3,000 years of imperial culture.

Treasures of China brings together rarely seen porcelain, embroidery, calligraphy, silk, jade and other precious items from nearly four-thousand-years of Chinese imperial culture. Featuring beautiful and exquisite loans from Durham University’s Oriental Museum, accompanied by objects from our own collection of porcelain and textiles.

Discover the dynastic history of China and the splendour of the Imperial Court with displays of the sumptuous clothing and precious jades that showed wealth and status, the beautiful objects related to the scholarly tradition and an extraordinary collection of porcelain. Many of the objects are richly decorated and the exhibition will reveal the hidden meanings and symbolism used in the decoration.


Objects from the Tullie House collection will trace the journey of tea, silks, porcelain and artworks that made the six-thousand-mile journey to Carlisle, exploring how tourism and the Silk Road impacted upon Imperial China and the West. A stunning display of contemporary art from Chinese artists will show how the fascinating history and symbolism of Imperial China continues to inspire and inform Chinese culture today.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of events for all audiences, click on an event to find out more.

  • February Half Term – Drop in craft sessions for families, inspired by the exhibition and Chinese culture.
  • Wednesday 12 February, 11 March and 8 April – Enjoy a taste of Chinese culture and language at our China Café with Isabella Chen exploring a different topic each week. 
  • Every Tuesday from 4th February until 7 April – Learn the basics of Mandarin Chinese with a 10 -week course led by our Chinese Language Instructor, Isabella Chen.
  • Tuesday 24th March – Life Drawing – Our alternative life drawing takes inspiration from the symbolism of the bird in Chinese art with a relaxed and friendly evening in the Treasures of China exhibition.

Image credit: Woman’s silk jacket, late Qing dynasty, c.1880 , photographed by Blackfell Photography

Image credits: Stuart Walker Photography

With thanks to the Oriental Museum Durham University and Art Fund_ for helping to make this exhibition possible. 



Adult: Normal Admission charges apply Children: FREE with annual ticket holder


On: 25 th January 2020, 10:00 am Until: 26 th April 2020, 4:00 pm


Art Gallery