Museum unveils rich tapestry of Sichuan artistry through three exhibitions

[Photo provided to]

On Friday, the Guang Hui Art Museum, a distinguished nonprofit private art gallery in Chengdu, Sichuan province, unveiled a trio of exhibitions designed to offer a comprehensive exploration of modern and contemporary art evolution since the 20th century, spotlighting artists native to the vibrant Sichuan region.

The museum, situated in Chengdu — renowned for its pandas and hot pots — opened its doors to the public on Friday, presenting a diverse array of artistic expressions. The first exhibition, a collection showcase, features masterful ink paintings by luminaries like Zhang Daqian, Qi Baishi, Lin Fengmian, and Xu Beihong, influential figures who have significantly shaped the landscape of Chinese art.

Exhibition of ancient bronzes in Hong Kong illuminates culture, history

A bronze zun, a drinking vessel, exhibited at the Hong Kong Museum of History. ZHU WEI/XINHUA

During her five-day study trip to Central China’s Henan province in April last year, Chun Wai-wa marveled at the high degree of development of ancient Chinese civilization while exploring the ruins of cities dating back 2,000 to 4,000 years.

“How can I pass on my deep feeling to the audience in Hong Kong?” pondered Chun, assistant curator of the Hong Kong Museum of History, as she and her colleagues crafted plans for the first exhibition of the General History of China Series.

One year later, more than 150 sets of cultural relics from 15 institutions in eight cities in Henan have been transported south to Hong Kong and are on display in the museum of history from April 3 to July 8, telling the story of Chinese civilization in this international metropolis.

Central plains origins

Titled Center of the World, the exhibition aims to trace the origin of Chinese civilization, focusing on the Xia (c.21st century-16th century BC), Shang (c.16th century-11th century BC) and Zhou (c.11th century-256BC), the three earliest dynasties in Chinese history, which are collectively referred to as the Bronze Age.

But why Henan? According to Hui Siu-mui, curator of the HKMH, Henan houses the ruins of the capitals of all three dynasties, and numerous cultural relics have been unearthed in the region.

The Hong Kong curators’ idea was echoed by their Henan counterparts as soon as the latter was contacted.

“We have always paid great attention to cultural exchanges via relics, as it is a good way to vividly tell the story of Chinese civilization,” said Ren Wei, director of the Henan Provincial Administration of Cultural Heritage.

Cultural relics from Henan embodied the essence of Chinese civilization and could definitely unleash unique charm in Hong Kong, where diversified cultures exchange and blend with one another, Ren added.

Upon returning to Hong Kong, Chun and her colleagues started going through a large amount of photos, videos and documents collected during their trip to Henan and picked out the most representative relics to piece together a holistic picture of China’s Bronze Age.

A total of 15 institutions coordinated, and finally agreed to offer collections, including large and complete sets of bronze, jade and bone wares, pottery, and oracle bones. It’s noteworthy that 33 items are grade-one national treasures and about 40 items are on display outside Henan for the first time.

As both the Hong Kong and Henan teams aimed to display more of the latest achievements in Chinese archaeology, there are also 44 items unearthed after the year 2000.

A lot of details of the exhibition also demonstrate the joint efforts made by the two sides during a year of intensive cooperation. For instance, to provide high-definition pictures for the catalog, the Henan team made efforts to find a venue suitable to take a group photo of a huge set of bronze ritual objects.

Shanghai Museum hosts Prado’s Mona Lisa

Ages of Splendor: A History of Spain in the Museo del Prado, running in Shanghai’s Museum of Art Pudong from Apr 23 to Sept 1, marks the largest presentation of the Prado Museum’s collection in China. [Photo provided to China Daily]

One of the most famous paintings of all time, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has a fine copy in the collection of Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.

It was believed to be done by the pupils of the Renaissance master during his lifetime, with details and changes that mirrored those of the original at the Louvre in Paris, France.

The Prado’s Mona Lisa is among 70 paintings on exhibition in Shanghai’s Museum of Art Pudong from Apr 23 to Sept 1.

Exhibition lauds cases of solid work to build beautiful, better China

Songs of the Earth, a survey exhibition at the China Millennium Monument, hails those who carry out social reforms under the banner of “beautiful China”. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In his poem The Song of the Land of China, Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda (1904-73) wrote: “The land of China, I wish to speak to you, only in the language of land, only in the free language of paddy, only in the crimson language of flame …”

The passion mixed with a deep sentiment underlying the lines of Neruda has touched the hearts of the people in the country, and these days, members of different social sectors are “speaking” to their homeland by endeavoring in the extensive fields under the banner of “Beautiful China”.

Painter’s floral works a transplantation of Monet’s garden

Watercolorist Xu Minghui’s works on show usher the audience into the dynamism and vibrancy of spring. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Watercolorist Xu Minghui says she was enthralled at the moment she entered the prosperous garden at Claude Monet’s villa in Giverny, in France, known for its blooming flowers which were planted to the planning of the impressionist himself and became a recurring motif in his creation.

“The colorful blossoms, with pleasant smells, erupted with vigor in the bright sunlight,” she recalls of the visit in May 2010. “It was a celebration of life, and a hub for one to pacify his heart and soul.”