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Auckland salon celebrates traditions with artistic spectacle

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-15 06:14

AUCKLAND — In a vibrant celebration of Chinese culture, the Lanting Cultural Salon took place in New Zealand's largest city this month. Hosted by the China Culture Center in Auckland, the event brought together an audience of art enthusiasts, scholars and community leaders.

Mike Dawson, president of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, shared his passion for Chinese culture. "When I was a child, I first saw calligraphy in Chinese restaurants and I was fascinated," says Dawson, who has recently begun to practice Chinese writing and calligraphy.

Carlos Cheung, a New Zealand member of parliament, said in his speech that calligraphy is important to Chinese culture.

"It represents history and is an important window for people to know the country of China. This event also provides an opportunity for more New Zealanders to understand Chinese culture," Cheung says.

Both speakers emphasized the importance of cultural exchange and understanding between the two countries.

Attendees were treated to a feast of artistic expression. A replica of Lanting Xu (Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion), Wang Xizhi's masterpiece of ancient calligraphy from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), was displayed and discussed. Participants marveled at the delicate brushwork and timeless elegance of the iconic work.

Additionally, exquisite replicas of paintings by Italian missionary Giuseppe Castiglione, who was known in China as Lang Shining, were also displayed and discussed. Visitors immersed themselves in the rich fusion of Italian and Chinese art.

Yuan Zong, founder of the Auckland International Gallery, presented a thought-provoking analysis of work by Maori artists, highlighting the interconnectedness of artistic expression across cultures.

The event was not limited to visual arts. The enchanting sounds of the guzheng (a zither-like stringed instrument) filled the air as a talented musician performed classic melodies, and attendees witnessed a captivating Song Dynasty (960-1279) tea ceremony.

Guests were also invited to interactive sessions to play friendly games of weiqi (Go) and to try their hand with brushes and ink in a calligraphy workshop.

Among them was Tiana MacDonald, a University of Auckland student, who discovered her passion for Chinese culture during her summer school studies.

She found the experience both fascinating and rewarding. "I wish I could have a chance to visit China and learn more Chinese," she says.

To complete the cultural exchange, delicate traditional Chinese pastries were served to delight the palate.

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