Museums have long been thought to be vital contributors to nation building and the creation of identity narratives, yet the stories they tell must be negotiated within the constraints set by differing levels of interpretive freedom. This paper examines how museum exhibitions changed between 1982 and 2009 at the museums serving the five capital sites of the non-Chinese Kitan-Liao dynasty (907–1125). While some of these places, such as Beijing, have now become unquestionably central to the national narrative, others are deep in rural areas and are peripheral even to provincial concerns. Exhibitions at these five museums vary considerably in the degree to which they either consider the Kitan and the Liao dynasty in their own right or attempt to place them within a national narrative. The wide range of approaches reflects the differing present-day concerns of the museums’ host locations, as well as the new multivocality that is developing in—among other places—China's regional cultural institutions.
|Journal||Modern Asian Studies|
|Early online date||25 Oct 2013|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2014|