Spotlight: Chinese treasures on show around world wow visitors

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BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — Numerous Chinese cultural and art treasures have been put on show in many parts of the world this past year, with sculptures, calligraphy, ceramics and imperial belongings showcasing the charm of the Chinese civilization on the global stage and facilitate cultural exchanges.

Last December, New Zealand’s national museum in Wellington launched a four-month exhibition of the Terracotta Army, an imperial icon of ancient Chinese art and civilization, under the theme “Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality.”

Early on the opening day, local residents queued up to see some life-size clay models of Chinese soldiers, horses and chariots that were meant to guard the tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang about 2,000 years ago.

More than 160 pieces of ancient Chinese antiques made of gold, jade and bronze were also on display, providing visitors with a glimpse of the long-standing charm of Asian civilization.

It was a “once in a lifetime” experience, said Rebecca Rice, the exhibition’s curator. One can appreciate the individuality of each terracotta warrior and the incredible creativity needed to build the Terracotta Army, she said.

At the opening ceremony, New Zealand Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said the exhibition “will encourage more New Zealanders to continue the journey to engagement and understand China, one of our most important partners.”

Treasures showcasing the lives of emperors and empresses of China’s Qing Dynasty also went on display in museums in Washington D.C. and Moscow in the first half of 2019, with over 100 exhibits on display, including imperial portraits, narrative paintings, furnishings, jewelry and costumes from the Palace Museum in Beijing.

Elena Gagarina, general director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, said the exhibition “Treasures from the Palace Museum: The Flourishing of China in the 18th Century” in Moscow was a success. Russian visitors very much appreciated these exhibits from China, she said.

Museums have explored new techniques and innovative ways to add more fun to visitors’ experience of appreciating Chinese cultural relics.

On Jan. 30, ahead of the Chinese Spring Festival, a creative Chinese cultural exhibition kicked off at the Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts in Paris, offering people an interactive and immersive experience with Chinese New Year customs and rituals.

Via a China-developed Wechat app on a smartphone, visitors could design scarves using exquisite patterns of ancient paintings from the Mogao Grottoes, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site in northwest China’s Gansu Province, and wear their self-designed scarves to celebrate the traditional Chinese festival.

Receiving red packets of “lucky money” from senior members of a family, a tradition for Chinese New Year, was presented in a digitalized form at the exhibition through mobile payment technology.

Digital technologies have also created new ways to exhibit treasures from China. In early 2019, China’s tech giant Tencent and France’s union of national museums (RMN) signed a strategic cooperation memorandum to enhance cultural exchanges, traditional cultural inheritance and innovation.

Under the cooperative framework, the two sides unveiled a number of exhibitions to present the Chinese treasures collected by French museums in digital forms online.

Patrick Dambron, chairman of France-China Art and Culture Academy (AFCAC), said Internet technologies have enabled cultural heritage to regain its vitality, and encouraged younger generations to inject vigor into modern and traditional arts and culture.

Chinese and foreign museums have been forging exchanges to facilitate dialogue between civilizations and foster people’s understanding of and engagement with cultures that interest them.

The British Museum opened an online souvenir store on Alibaba’s Tmall shopping platform in July 2018. In more than a year, the shop has accumulated more than 1.04 million followers.

Items that online buyers snap up integrate elements of the artefacts into daily objects, such as mugs in the shape of the Gayer-Anderson Cat, one of the best-loved items in the museum’s collection, and silk scarves with patterns from Italian majolica plates.

The British Museum has inked a deal last December with Tmall to expand their partnership beyond sales to include marketing, localized content and product licensing for three years.

An important mission of the museum is sharing the exhibits with the rest of the world, said British Museum Chairman Richard Lambert, adding that the collaborative project brings them closer to Chinese people.

Chinese museums have inked deals with their counterparts in such countries as Australia, Russia and Greece to enhance cooperation in the exhibition, protection and scientific research of cultural relics.

The Acropolis Museum in Athens, for instance, has established partnerships with the Shanghai Museum and the Palace Museum for exhibitions and art workshops.

Dimitrios Pandermalis, president of the Acropolis Museum, said the collaboration between the Acropolis Museum and Palace Museum is excellent and fruitful, adding that such synergies bring the two cultures closer and broaden Sino-Greek ties.

The dialogue between the two cultures can continue, said Pandermalis, adding that both sides can share their experience in many more fields of expertise.

“I think a chapter (that is) very interesting is conservation,” he said. “We can exchange experience.”

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