“History of Brick Paintings—The Relief-Bricks from Song-Jin Dynasties Tombs in Luoyang” Grandly Opened in Prince Kung’s Palace Museum

Co-hosted by Prince Kung’s Palace Museum and Luoyang Ancient Art Museum, the “History of Brick Paintings—The Relief-Bricks from Song-Jin Dynasties Tombs in Luoyang” grandly opened on May 3, 2017 in Prince Kung’s Palace Museum.

As a national A-class museum, Prince Kung’s Palace Museum has been not only exploring, sorting out and studying the “princely mansion culture”, but also trying to protect, inherit and exhibit the outstanding traditional culture of China by creating a “dynamic cultural space” that appeals to different cultural backgrounds with rich connotations, profound details, realistic importance and educational significance. After years of implementations, a cultural brand with distinctive features in art, intangible cultural heritage, films and public education has been established.

Luoyang Ancient Art Museum is a thematic museum that mainly exhibits ancient grave objects to reflect ancient tomb culture. Consisting of three exhibition zones, including ancient grave, ancient wall painting and Jingling, the tomb of Emperor Xuanwu of Northern Wei Dynasty, the museum owns thousands of exhibits covering instruments, brick carvings, wall paintings and inscriptions from tombs, as well as 26 tombs in 9 dynasties from West Han Dynasty to Song and Jin dynasties, which has fully displayed the rich and extensive cultural connotations of Luoyang, the ancient capital of China.

The exhibition on brick carving of Luoyang in Song and Jin Dynasties co-hosted by Prince Kung’s Palace Museum and Luoyang Ancient Art Museum took the initiative to break the tradition of presenting the film by cameras; instead, they presented the brick carvings and wall paintings in Song and Jin dynasties to the audiences to represent the “film” of ancient China, as the brick carvings and wall paintings of these two dynasties reflect the highest achievements in terms of architecture and arts in the history of China’s ancient tombs. The aim is to promote the outstanding traditional culture in China and to implement President Xi’s important guidance to “recover the dynamics of cultural heritage by reasonable use of resources” ever since the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC.

The ancient China follows a tomb principle where “the dead should be served as if they were alive”. As a result, the ancient people attached great importance to the design and building of tombs. They have long been forming a tradition of building the tomb with layout and functions like the actual residence. The tomb building reached a climax in Song and Jin dynasties; at the time, in central China, wood structure, brick carving and wall paintings were very popular in tombs. Brick pillars, arches, doors, windows, as well as brick carved characters, animals, flowers and furniture, etc. were to decorate the tomb surroundings, in which the brick carving was the essence.

As an important part in Prince Kung’s Palace Museum’s art exhibitions in 2017, brick carvings of various categories, including carvings of feasts, carvings of food preparations, carvings of dramas and dances, carvings of horses and soldiers, carvings of praying for sons and fortunes, carvings of praying for peace, carvings of kids, carvings of peony, as well as carvings that tell stories about the complying with Confucian doctrine of filial piety and the prayer for god’s help, etc. were all exhibited. These brick carvings, based on the actual situation of social lives, have vividly recorded the customs and cultures at that time and directly reflected the social status of Song and Jin dynasties.

The exhibition consists of six inter-connected and independent parts, including “carp feast”, "travel protection”, "entertaining”, "prayer for sons and grandsons”, "peony”, and “good filial piety”. Apart from brick carvings, the exhibition also displayed brick rubbings, wall painting photos and video clips. Combining static and dynamic exhibits, the exhibition has not only enriched the forms of exhibiting, but also raised audiences’ interests. Hopefully, through the dynamic cultural space of Prince Kung’s Palace Museum, the audiences will understand the architecture, paintings and folk life of Song and Jin dynasties in Luoyang more directly, and at the same time, admire the exquisite skills of our ancestors.

"Only the peony is really a national beauty with its bloom shocking the capital.” So in this exhibition, Prince Kung’s Palace Museum have selected several brick carvings decorated with “peony patterns” and hundreds of peony branches delivered from Luoyang, hoping that the “top-notch” Luoyang peonies and peony patterned brick carvings in Song and Jin dynasties will add brilliance to each other and bloom a more brilliant luster.

The exhibition opened in a warm and grand atmosphere. Sun Xuguang, director in Prince Kung’s Palace Museum delivered the opening speech. Ma Guocang, Chairman of China Press and Publication Media Group and chief editor of “China Press and Publication Radio and Television News”, Luo Yang, famous calligrapher and former head of the Party Committee of the Chinese Folk Writers and Artists Association, Li Shufeng, Deputy Secretary of China Academy of Art and Vice president of China Photographers Association, Yuan Guangkuo, professor of history in Capital Normal University and Zhu Shiwei, director of Luoyang Ancient Art Museum then delivered speeches one after another. On the Opening Ceremony, Director Sun Xuguang, on behalf of Prince Kung’s Palace Museum, accepted the books and documents donated by Luoyang Ancient Art Museum and issued collection certificate to Luoyang Ancient Art Museum.

Experts and scholars at present also include: Luo Yang, famous calligrapher and former head of the Party Committee of the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Association, Ma Guocang, Chairman of China Press and Publication Media Group and chief editor ofChina Press Publication Radio Film and Television Journal, Li Liusan, deputy director of National Museum of China, Wang Jun, Director of Art Exhibitions China, Jin Hongkui, former deputy director of the Palace Museum, Ling Xingwu, deputy director of Luoyang Cultural Heritage Bureau and member of the Party Committee, Guo Yinqiang, former director of Luoyang Cultural Heritage Bureau and chairman of the Council of Luoyang Ancient Art Museum, Xu Yanjuan, chief editor ofPopular Photography, Yuan Guangkuo, professor and doctoral supervisor in Department of History of Capital Normal University, Wang Ling ofEconomic Daily Pressand Huo Hongwei, research fellow with National Museum of China, etc.

The exhibition will end on July 3.

(By Comprehensive Business Department)

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