Elder Scroll

A few bullet points to recap the 11th century:• Ovid completed the five-volume Tristia, a poetic lament on the misery of his exile in Tomis.• Illyria, a region of the modern-day Balkan peninsula, was cleaved asunder, becoming the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia. • In China, perhaps even around the time that the usurper Wang Mang outlawed the use of crossbows, thereby earning the enmity of ancient ancestors of Ted Nugent, an obscure artist named Qiao Zhongchang completed a work called the Red Cliff Scroll, now in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak, 816-751-1278). Illustrating a poem by a fellow artist named Su Shi, Qiao demonstrated his almost single-minded focus on line work, excluding from his repertoire the era’s uses of color and half-tone ink washes in order to develop his own distinct visual language. You’d best feast your eyeballs now: Like Harrison Ford, the scroll is so old and fragile that it can be displayed only under low-light conditions and, on August 1, it will be returned to storage for a minimum of five years in order to preserve it for the eyeballs of future generations.— Chris Packham

Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: July 7. Continues through Aug. 1, 2010