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India refreshed its cultural linkage with China by unveiling Friday an exquisite collection of ancient artistic heritage in the first ever Chinese art and craft exposition of its kind at the National Museum in the capital.
The "Treasures of Ancient China" exhibition will be officially inaugurated Saturday by Culture Minister Kumari Selja.
The exhibition showcasing a historic panorama of 95 stone, bronze, jade, pottery, ceramics, gold, terracotta and glazed porcelain Chinese wares and solid sculpted art from 3rd century BC to 18th century AD is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Archaeological Survey of India and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China.
This is the first ever showcase of ancient Chinese art is in the country, according to organisers.
The exhibits, thrown open to the media Friday, will be on display till March 20 and will then be moved to Mumbai, Hydearabad and Kolkata.
For over two millennia, India and China have shared exchanges in art and culture that travelled along the ancient silk route.
The trade route emanating from China and spanning Asia became a conduit of cultures carrying Gupta, Gandhara and Buddhist art and culture from India to China - first through the accounts and documents ferried home by Chinese travellers to India like Fa Hien, Hiuen Tsang, I-Tang, Meng Zi and Sang Yun and then by traders along the route.
“The cultural and artistic exchanges were also strengthened by monks by Kasyapa Matanga, Dharmaraksha and Kumarajeeva who went to China with Buddhist scriptures. Silk and tea also bound the two nations together," director-general of Archaeological Survey of India Gautam Sengupta told IANS.
Sengupta said excavations by the ASI has revealed “widespread presence of medieval
Chinese art and artifacts in the capital (Delhi) during the 14th century AD when the capital was ruled by Mohammed Bin Tughlaq and his sucessor Feroz Shah Tughlaq.”
According to ASI additional director general B.R. Mani, remnants of Chinese pottery was found at Lalkot, Purana Qila and at Feroz Shah Kotla.
“We excavated Chinese pottery at Lalkot between 1992-1994 and before that at the Purana Qila and Feroz Shah Kotla in 1960s. We have listed the Feroz Shah find in our catalogue. It comprises 73 full (intact) Chinese pots and is believed to be the largest collection of ancient Chinese art outside China. The pots came to India during the 14th century AD,” Mani told IANS.
Two terracotta warriors from the mausoleum of Chinese emperor Qin Shihuang, were examples of the peak that terracotta carving had scaled during the Qin era between 221 to 207 BC.
A selection of glazed porcelain vases from the Ming and Qing dynasties dating back 1368 AD were majestic in their interpretations of Chinese folklores and dragon myths on their shimmering surfaces.
The exhibition will be officially inaugurated by Culture Minister Kumari Selja Feb 19 at the National Museum in the capital.