Mactaggart Art Collection
April 20, 2005 was an auspicious date for the University of Alberta Museums and Collections. At a standing-room-only media conference, University President Dr Rod Fraser publicly announced that local philanthropists Sandy and Cécile Mactaggart had donated a collection of approximately 700 pieces of rare ancient and modern Asian art and textiles to the University of Alberta. Valued at more than $37 million, the Mactaggart Art Collection will have an enormous influence on the study of East Asian culture for students, faculty, and scholars worldwide. The Collection will also give the public an opportunity to view never-before-seen artefacts that range from intricately embroidered twelve-symbol Emperor's robes to one-of-a-kind painted hand scrolls.
The Mactaggart Art Collection consists of works of art and textiles from a range of countries, time periods, and traditions. More than 600 textiles, costumes, and related artefacts date from the Song (960–1279), Ming (1314–1644), and Qing (1644–12) dynasties. There are also many fine and rare examples of seventeenth and eighteenth century Chinese Court costumes and silk fragments. The art collection includes works dating from the Yuan Dynasty (thirteenth century) to the 1980s and is comprised of hanging scrolls, hand scrolls, albums, and engravings. The Qing court paintings, in particular, are exceptional. Notable among these is the Southern Inspection Tour Scroll from 1698, which documents Emperor Kangxi's boat voyage of 1698 through southeast China. Janine Andrews, Executive Director of Museums and Collections Services, expressed her excitement at the University's acquisition of this collection and its potential for teaching and research. "This is the kind of collection that most museum directors dream of," said Andrews. "The artefacts in this collection are extraordinary and have been expertly researched, curated, and documented by the Mactaggarts who have a depth of knowledge equal to many scholars."