Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Chinese treasures attract 40,000 Tokyo visitors

TOKYO - A special exhibition highlighted by the world-renowned Chinese painting "Life along the Bian River at the Qingming Festival," had attracted about 40,000 visitors after it was opened to the public in the Tokyo National Museum on January 2, organizers said Monday. Outside the gate of the museum, a board reading that it takes an 80-minute wait in line before one is able to view the famous hand scroll is put up conspicuously. The officials of the museum told Xinhua crowd disorder had happened during the exhibition, due to the popularity of the treasured painting from the Song Dynasty some 1,000 years ago, The work is one of a selection of 200 exhibits in the event, which is part of the efforts to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations this year. Those masterpieces include calligraphic works and paintings not yet shown outside the Palace Museum by artists in the Song and Yuan dynasties, and the court dress and other accessories used in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The event will last until February 19 at the Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries of the museum, but the famous painting will be wrapped up on January 24.

Among the Song- and Yuan-dynasty calligraphic works and paintings admired by all fans of Chinese art, Life along the Bian River at the Qingming Festival (Northern Song dynasty, 12th century) is an especially renowned masterpiece. This hand scroll, painted by Zhang Zeduan and measuring over 5 meters long, vividly depicts in detail festivities in the Northern Song-dynasty capital, Bianjing (present-day Kaifeng). The fame of this work as one of the highest points of Chinese art has spread far and wide. However, it is rarely exhibited, even at the Palace Museum in Beijing, and it has only been shown outside of the museum at the Shanghai Museum, the Liaoning Provincial Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. At all these places it was displayed for a limited period of time and was so popular that the exhibition venues, to which art fans flocked from around the world, recorded waiting times of several hours. For the first time, China’s “national treasure of national treasures” is crossing the sea to go on display in Tokyo.

For more information, click on the site of the Tokyo National Museum

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