Museum Qualities

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Greeting visitors at the first floor are two enormous stone lions that were in the Imperial Park at Beijing and date from the Qing Dynasty--the same crew whose imperial court started off the show. And that's pretty much it, which makes the first floor a fairly weak link. Viewers will hunger for more, which is obviously what the museum had in mind: Close to those stone lions is the gift shop, right on the way to the parking lot.

There's only one drawback to Imperial Tombs of China--it's too popular and too crowded. Then again, think about poor Emperor Qinshihuang. He had to share his home with a cast of 8,000--for all eternity, no less.

Imperial Tombs of China, through March 16 at the Denver Museum of Natural History, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, 322-7009.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia