The expressiveness of Zhang’s figures does not rely solely on his reference to images from the ancient past. Zhang’s encounter with American ceramicists had almost as profound an impact on his sculpture as his encounter with the site of the First Emperor’s tomb. Zhang arrived in the United States in 1992 as an experienced teacher. Thanks to the rigorous training he received in China’s national art schools, he already was adept at working in a number of different media. Before coming to the Unites states, an abstract metal sculpture of his had won first place in a major Chinese competition and is not in the collection of the National Gallery, Beijing. But his arrival in America exposed him to influences he could never have found in China.