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Australian-first Exhibition from the National Museum of China showcases Chinese art and calligraphy

(People's Daily Online)    15:07, April 09, 2019

Australian-first Exhibition from the National Museum of China showcases Chinese art and calligraphy (Photo by Quanjiao Wang)

Canberra, April 9 (People’s Daily Online / Jin Xie) An Australian-first exhibition from the prestigious National Museum of China (NMC) explores the grand historical sweep of Chinese art and traditions, and extends the cultural ties between the two nations at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) in Canberra, with more than 100 objects from China on display for the first time.

The exhibition consists of more than 100 objects from China, as the exchange exhibition of the 2018 Australian National Museum exhibition Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists in China.

The mesmerizing animation of 1764 scroll depicting Emperor Qianlong’s historic inspection tour to the southern provinces (Photo by Quanjiao Wang)

“This is a historic day which brings two great cultural institutions together and builds on the cultural ties between Australia and China,” said Dr. Trinca, Director of NMA. He also noted that the exhibition would tell the Australian audience the story of China so that the Australian audience can not only get to know the living historical figures but also witness the vitality and beauty of modern ink painting. “Through this exchange exhibition, we can not only understand the culture and history of China but also deepen our understanding of ourselves,” he said.

The highlight of this exhibition is a rare replica of a 20-meter-long 1764 scroll depicting Emperor Qianlong’s historic inspection tour to the southern provinces. The exhibition features a mesmerizing animation of the scroll, in which the historical figures, including Emperor Qianlong and his entourage, come to life across a massive digital screen. More than 2,500 models were made to create the animation.


Chinese characters spelling experience (Photo by Quanjiao Wang)

Calligraphy and paintings from three modern Chinese artists Wang Naizhuang, Xie Yun and Xiao Lang are also on display in the exhibition. With different forms of calligraphy including seal, clerical and semi-cursive scripts, the exhibition hall is set up with several Chinese character experience screens, where the audience can continue the calligraphy creation.

The exhibition also explores the strong Chinese–Australian connection through the NMA’s stunning Harvest of Endurance Scroll. The scroll is an artistic representation, in magnificent detail, of two centuries of Chinese contact with, and migration to, Australia.

Shan Wei, Deputy Director of the National Museum of China, said that in recent years, China and Australia have carried out a series of exchanges in the fields of collection protection, display, social education, museum management and so on, with fruitful results. “Through this exhibition, we hope to share with the Australian audience the artistic interpretation of Chinese painting and calligraphy on history and life, the aesthetic concept contained in it, the spiritual pursuit embodied in it, and the philosophy of Taoism in life and nature,” said Shan Wei.

Audiences observe the excellent calligraphy and painting works from three modern Chinese artists (Photo by Quanjiao Wang)

Additionally, Shan Wei mentioned that the selection of the exhibition includes Chinese history and modern works. As a national museum, it is equally important to tell ancient Chinese stories as well as contemporary ones. The National Museum of China is committed to letting the world see Chinese art and find commonalities to demonstrate the diversity of Chinese culture.

Attendee Julie Spence told reporters that she enjoyed the exhibition. She noted that the dynamic scroll used to display the Harvest of Endurance Scroll was “unbelievable”, and said she was also impressed by the realistic modern paintings.

The exhibition is on at the NMA from 5 April until 28 July 2019 and is open to the public free of charge.

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