xi's moments
Home | Society

New exhibition in Shanghai puts donated relics on display

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-10-12 09:53

Visitors examine a bronze artifact displayed at the Shanghai Museum during the exhibition Harvest from Generosity: Gifts for the Shanghai Museum on Sept 28. GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY

A new exhibition at the Shanghai Museum, titled Harvest from Generosity: Gifts for the Shanghai Museum, features 145 treasured objects from the museum's collection of donated relics.

Yang Zhigang, the museum's director, said the institution began receiving donations from the city's cultural leaders, antiques collectors and business leaders even before its official founding in 1952.

The new exhibition, which opened on Sept 28 and will run through Dec 26, is the second in a series that puts the spotlight on the donated objects. The first exhibition, The Perpetual Prosperity, ran from June to July and featured 21 ceremonial bronze food vessels used in ancient China.

The museum, which has an exhibition area of 2,800 square meters and nearly 1 million cultural relics in its collection, including 120,000 fine cultural relics, will open its third exhibition of donated objects next year.

"We want to express our gratitude to everyone who supported and contributed to the development of the Shanghai Museum," Yang said at the launch of the new exhibition.

According to Yang, a commission for ancient cultural relics was established in 1949 in Shanghai to safeguard the city's cultural heritage.

In January 1950, the institution was officially named the Shanghai Cultural Heritage Management Committee and tasked with protecting and managing the city's cultural relics and historical buildings, as well as setting up a large museum to display items related to China's cultural traditions.

People from all trades came to help, Yang said, and this marked the first wave of donations to the museum, spanning the 1950s and '60s.

Among the donors in that period were several cultural leaders who designed the blueprint for the museum industry in China and donated their favorite antiques to the State, Yang said.

These donors included Xu Senyu (1881-1971), one of the founding fathers of the Shanghai Museum, and Xie Zhiliu (1910-1997), a connoisseur of ancient Chinese art, both of whom "inspired many people and collectors to follow suit and make donations", according to Yang.

Ma Chengyuan (1928-2004), an expert on bronze art and a former director of the Shanghai Museum, was also a donor. Among the relics at the ongoing exhibition is a wine vessel from the 13th to 11th century BC that was donated by Ma in 1955.

Pang Weijin, who donated silk artwork, including embroidery and kesi silk tapestries, wrote to the Shanghai Museum in the 1950s that "it means a lot more to have the object owned by all our people, recognized as part of the unique culture of our nation, than to keep it in one family".

During the late 1970s and '80s, as China began to open up to the world and the economy began to take off, many collectors, including overseas Chinese who formerly lived in Shanghai, were inspired to show their patriotism by donating to the Shanghai Museum. These people led the second big wave of donations to the museum.

To date, more than 800 individuals and 120 institutions have donated to the museum.

"They have substantially promoted the cause of museology and cultural heritage management, showing immense faith and enthusiasm for it, and have contributed to the continued prosperity of China's culture," Yang, the museum director, said at the current exhibition's opening.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349