The opening ceremony of "The Majesty of All Under Heaven: The Eternal Realm of China's First Emperor", the largest-ever exhibition in Hong Kong of Qin terracotta figures, was held today (July 24) at the Hong Kong Museum of History. Officiating at the opening ceremony was the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam.
Other officiating guests were the Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mr Li Gang; the Vice-Minister of Culture and Director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, Mr Li Xiaojie; the Director-General of the Department of General Affairs of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the HKSAR, Mr Ma Zhanling; the Director of the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, Mr Zhao Rong; the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; the Steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Dr Donald Li; and the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung.
Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, the exhibition is co-organised by the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center with the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust as the sole sponsor. Running from tomorrow (July 25) until November 26, the exhibition is one of the highlight programmes celebrating the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR.
The exhibition features 120 cultural relics, including 20 terracotta figures of different types, which outnumbers the previous display of Qin terracotta figures in Hong Kong. It also combines heritage and science through the reconstruction of magnificent scenes of the Qin terracotta army through cutting-edge digital animation technology, enabling visitors to enjoy an in-depth presentation of the 600-year history of the Qin from its rise to its unification of China.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Mrs Lam noted that the spectacular Qin terracotta army was one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in China and the world in the 20th century. She also noted that the scale of this exhibition is unprecedented as the number of national treasures and terracotta figures on display exceeds the ceiling imposed on loan exhibitions outside the Mainland.
Mrs Lam said that the Qin dynasty made immense contributions to Chinese history, unifying China for the first time and setting up institutions as well as a system of commanderies and counties at the local level. The Qin also standardised calligraphy, currency, weights and measures throughout the country, and served as the model for a unified regime.
"It is noteworthy that when our country was being unified more than 2,000 years ago, the Lingnan region, which included Hong Kong, was officially put under the centralised authority. This makes it especially meaningful to present this exhibition when we are celebrating the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China's sovereignty," Mrs Lam said.
The exhibition is divided into two sections – the Cultural Relics Display Zone and the Multimedia Experience Zone. Featuring numerous relics, panel text and a video, the Cultural Relics Display Zone tells the story of Qin from its rise to its annexation of the other six warring states. It also introduces the structure and cultural relics of the Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang, and the protection of the Mausoleum under China's policy to conserve national large-scale sites of archaeological interest.
There are six multimedia programmes in the Multimedia Experience Zone - "The Qin and their Horses", "Discovery of the Underground Kingdom", "True Colours of the Terracotta Warriors", "Secrets of the Terracotta Army", "Journey into the Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang" and "Terracotta Warrior Workshop" which takes a light approach in explaining the deep-rooted history, culture and stories behind the terracotta figures.
To tie in with the exhibition, more than 20 programmes have been organised for the exhibition period. They include lectures, a symposium, guided tours and workshops for the public. In addition, outreach workshops, special guided tours for people with hearing and visual impairment and disabilities, and book displays at libraries will publicise the exhibition to a wide range of communities and groups to foster public interest in history and culture.
The museum and the Art Promotion Office have also worked with the Hong Kong Design Centre to organise four public art programmes based on terracotta warriors to engage young people in art and design activities. There will be an animation and video design competition, a product design competition, a Qin terracotta robot workshop and a fashion design competition, all of which are highlights of 2012 Hong Kong Design Year.
"The Majesty of All Under Heaven: The Eternal Realm of China's First Emperor" will be open daily from 9am to 10.30pm, with 17 scheduled viewing sessions. Each session will last one and a half hours and accommodate 230 visitors. The first session will start at 9am while the last admission will be at 9pm. Aside from public holidays, the exhibition gallery will be closed on Tuesdays, the museum's rest day.
Admission to the exhibition is $10 per session for all visitors. Children under 4 years old are entitled to free admission when accompanied by an adult. As this is a special exhibition, free admission on Wednesdays and concession tickets are not applicable. Admission tickets are being sold in three phases as follows:
* Phase 1: from July 9 (for dates from July 25 to September 2)
* Phase 2: from August 20 (for dates from September 3 to October 14)
* Phase 3: from September 24 (for dates from October 15 to November 26)
Advance tickets are available through all URBTIX outlets, the Hong Kong Museum of History's box office, Internet booking via URBTIX (www.urbtix.hk) and credit card telephone booking (hotline: 2111 5999). So far, more than 23,000 tickets have been sold since the first phase of advance tickets went on sale on July 9. Most of the tickets for this weekend (July 28 and 29) have been sold out and only a small number of tickets are still available. The exhibition is expected to attract about 400,000 visitors.
For details of ticketing arrangements and ticket sales updates, please visit the exhibition website at firstemperor.lcsd.gov.hk or call the museum (tel: 2724 9042) or URBTIX (tel: 2734 9009) for enquiries.
Free vouchers for LCSD Museum Pass holders will be distributed at the museum in four time-slots commencing at 8.45am, 11.45am, 2.45pm and 5.45pm for viewing sessions between two time-slots (free vouchers for the last viewing sessions of the day will be distributed at 5.45pm) and the quota, 30 vouchers for each session, will be on a first-come, first-served basis. An LCSD Museum Pass may be purchased at the seven major museums under the LCSD, namely the Hong Kong Museum of History, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, the Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum, the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Hong Kong Space Museum.
Schools and registered non-profit-making organisations, may apply for free admission along with a guided tour and free coach service for group visits of 20 or more people during the daytime and non-public-holiday sessions. Applications should be made two weeks before the visit is planned and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Application forms can be downloaded from the exhibition website at firstemperor.lcsd.gov.hk .
The museum has launched a thematic website (firstemperor.lcsd.gov.hk) and is using various communication channels such as Facebook, Twitter, smartphone apps, QR codes and more to enable visitors to obtain exhibition information easily.
The Hong Kong Museum of History is located at 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Its website is at www.hk.history.museum . For enquiries, please call 2724 9042.
Ends/Tuesday, July 24, 2012
This terracotta kneeling archer is depicted with his hair tied in a bun on the right of his head. He is kneeling with his right knee on the ground. The figure appears to have been holding a crossbow to the right of his chest, with the right hand facing up to grip the bow's handle and the left hand facing down to hold the arm of the bow, ready to deploy. Originally painted all over, more than half of the figure's colours have faded. The paints remaining on the body gave viewers a glimpse of its original vibrant colours. This terracotta is a collection of the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum.
This terracotta is a seated musician. With his gaze focused on his hands, this terracotta figure exudes an air of serenity. He is wearing a soft cap, a long robe with the left lapel over right, trousers and plain cloth stockings. He is sitting on the ground in an L shape. Both hands are cupped in a loose grip, indicating that he once held an object, possibly a stringed musical instrument, but is now missing. This terracotta is a collection of the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum.
Two kinds of war horses have been excavated from the Qin terracotta army pits: saddled horses for the cavalry and chariot horses. This terracotta cavalry horse, similar in size to a real horse, stands boldly on its four legs. On its back it bears a slightly curved saddle. Below the saddle is a representation of a saddle blanket; girth and flank cinches serve to fasten the saddle. When the saddled horses were unearthed, they were lined up behind the terracotta cavalrymen in a rectangular formation. This terracotta cavalry horse is a collection of the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum.
This fragmented convict epitaph is believed to be the earliest epitaph discovered in China, and was found covering some human bones during excavation. The inscriptions on the tile read "Yu, the deceased, had the fourth order of nobility, came from Yongli Hamlet, Bochang County, and was sentenced to perform manual labour in lieu of fine", proving that many labourers from the former six states of the east were deployed to construct the Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang. This tile provided the prototype for later epitaphs in history, and they represent an important resource for research into the historical development of epitaphs in China and Chinese characters. This is a collection of the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum.
This skull of an approximately thirty-year-old male was discovered with a bronze arrowhead embedded above the left temporal bone. A burial object was also found, a silver toad with the characters "Shaofu" inscribed in its mouth. "Shaofu" was the superintendent of the lesser treasury collecting tax revenues and providing for the emperor's needs. It is one of the seven skeletons found in the 17 tombs from the Qin dynasty discovered in Shangjiao Village. Most academics agree that these tombs belong to members of the Qin royal family and court officials who were slain by the Emperor Qin Ershi. However, the bodies were buried in poses that do not conform to the Qin tradition, and the identity of these skeletons requires further investigation. This is a collection of the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum.