Paris hosts Chinese cultural heritage and design exhibition

2024-07-10 08:15:57China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Sun Media Group Chairperson Yang Lan gives a speech at the opening ceremony of the exhibition "REVIVING CRAFT, Chinese Handicrafts and Contemporary Design" at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris on Saturday. (Photo by Li Chunyan/For China Daily)

The Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris unveiled a new exhibition on Saturday: "Reviving Craft: Chinese Handicrafts and Contemporary Design".

The opening ceremony drew more than 70 distinguished guests from China and France, representing diverse fields including culture, media, art, and diplomacy.

Running until July 19, the exhibition features more than 100 works from 40 renowned artists and designers, and more than 20 participating brands and institutions.

Included in the framework of the Sino-French Year of Cultural Tourism in 2024 by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the exhibition celebrates the unique blend of Chinese intangible cultural heritage craftsmanship -- including wood and bamboo weaving, tea making and ceramics -- and contemporary design.

Visitors can enjoy an immersive and interactive experience through advanced technologies such as video, multimedia and artificial intelligence, thanks to the exclusive display technology from BOE Technology and the AI support from Future Intelligence.

"The beauty of life lies in creation. Intangible cultural heritage embodies human creative labor, representing sustainable production and ways of life. In the era of artificial intelligence, let us rediscover together the beauty of craftsmanship and the wisdom it entails," said Sun Media Group Chairperson Yang Lan in her opening speech.

Yang is the co-curator of the event with Su Dan, deputy director of the China National Arts and Crafts Museum. The exhibition results from a collaboration between Sun Media Group and China National Brand Network, with support from TopBrand Union. Yang added: "With 43 elements inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, China ranks first in the world."

Wang Yin, cultural counselor of the Chinese Embassy in France, said in her speech that as one of the earliest countries to join UNESCO's Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, China places great importance on the protection and transmission of intangible cultural heritage.

"Artisans who have ancestral gestures that they know how to transmit, allow us to think about the future simply because ultimately these gestures become eternal. And this notion of time which means that we are in memory, in vision, allows us to create something common together; and it is because we create something common that we will have lasting relationships, with your culture, a culture over 5,000 years old, and French culture or European culture," said Anne-Marie Sargueil, president of the French Institute of Design.

Wang Chenhua, vice-president of Chinese fashion giant Bosideng Group, said that culture plays a crucial role in shaping a clothing brand's identity .

Wang said: "Bosideng has consistently been committed to promoting outstanding traditional Chinese culture, as well as innovative development and creative transformation in down jacket design."

The unity of heaven and humanity is a Chinese philosophy. The exhibition is organized around spaces dedicated to each of the five traditional Chinese elements --- metal, wood, water, fire and earth -- showcasing their mutual generation and inhibition, as well as transformation and integration. Each element is represented through various crafts and technologies.

For example, earth symbolizes balance and stability in Chinese culture. The "Earth" space highlights weaving and embroidery works, including the famous embroidered version of the Mona Lisa by Chinese arts and crafts master Yao Jianping, who uses delicate techniques and a rich color palette to bring an oriental touch to this icon of the Italian Renaissance.

Fire, a symbol of warmth and passion, is beautifully represented in the ceramics space, particularly through He Qin's work. Inspired by the "Orchid Pavilion Preface" by Wang Xizhi, He skillfully combines Xuan paper, mud, and glaze, offering a new dimension to ceramic art.

Other impressive works include wood crafts, ranging from delicate mortise and tenon structures to complex wood carvings; the modern replica of Emperor Wanli's crown, made of gold wire by Cheng Shumei, illustrating innovative metalworking techniques; and tea and wine culture and traditions, reflected in Fan Yi's "Orchid Pavilion Repair Map" and "Tang Dynasty Music Image".

In parallel with the exhibition, various supporting activities were planned, including a Bosideng fashion show, tea tastings by Fuding White Tea, and intercultural events such as the "Chinese and French Cultural Light Dinner".

When asked about the initial motivation for curating the exhibition, Yang said: "In the past, some people had biases against 'Made in China,' for example, thinking it involved cheap and inferior products or lacked originality by copying designs from others, etc. Actually, I want to say that Chinese people have always been highly creative."


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