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May
Chinese national treasures to go on show
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Thirty-two world-acclaimed masterpieces of Chinese painting and calligraphy dating back 1,000 years will be put on display in Hong Kong to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of HKSAR.

Entitled "The Pride of China: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy of the Jin, Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties from the Palace Museum", the exhibition, unprecedented in its kind, features gems finely selected from the Palace Museum. They will be shown in two phases, from June 29 to July 22 and from July 23 to August 11, at the Hong Kong Museum of Art.

The works include Zhang Zeduan's "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" of the Northern Song dynasty, Feng Chengsu's "Copy after Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Gathering" of the Tang dynasty, Wang Shen's "Light Snow over a Fishing Village" of Northern Song dynasty, Zhao Ji (Emperor Huizong of the Song dynasty)'s "Auspicious Dragon Rock" of the Northern Song dynasty, Wang Xun's "Letter to Boyuan" of the Jin dynasty, Yan Liben's "Emperor Taizong Receiving the Tibetan Envoy" of the Tang dynasty, Dong Yuan's "The Xiao and Xiang Rivers" of the Five Dynasties, Su Shi's "Letter on the Consignation of Author's Graveyard" of the Northern Song dynasty, Liu Songnian's "Landscapes of the Four Seasons" of the Southern Song dynasty, and Li Song's "Puppet Play of a Skeleton" of the Southern Song dynasty.

Speaking at a press conference today (May 31), the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow, said most of these works were graded as first-class cultural relics, making this exhibition an ensemble of exceptional national treasures.

"Free admission will be offered on July 1 and 2 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary to enable our citizens to view these masterpieces. To complement the exhibition, scholars and experts will be invited to give lectures at an international lecture series. The exhibition will leave an unforgettable memory of artistic appreciation in people's minds," Mr Chow said.

"Over the years, we have presented significant exhibitions with world-class museums, bringing to Hong Kong the best-known masterpieces and cultural treasures. These exhibitions attained great popularity but they were also costly. They would not have been possible without generous support and sponsorship from the public and private sectors, for which we are most grateful.

"This year The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is again providing generous sponsorship to 'The Pride of China'. With sustained support to the development of art in Hong Kong and confidence in the museum throughout the years, the Friends of the Hong Kong Museum of Art again offers generous sponsorship for the exhibition and the international lecture series. We are also grateful for Dragonair's support as the official carrier. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all the sponsors for their unfailing support and generosity," Mr Chow said.

The exhibition is jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Palace Museum and is jointly organised by the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Palace Museum. The exhibition is one of the highlight programmes to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of HKSAR.

Other officiating guests attending today's press conference included the General Manager Global Co-Head Commercial Banking of HSBC, Mrs Margaret Leung, Committee Member of the Friends of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Mr Horace Wong, and the Chief Curator of Museum of Art, Mr Tang Hoi-chiu.

The Museum of Art will introduce a number of measures to allow more people the chance to see the exhibition. These include setting up a special gallery to show the five-metre long handscroll "Along the River During the Qingming Festival", extending the museum's daily opening hours to 9pm, accepting pre-bookings for visits by school groups and non-profit-making organisations on Thursdays, when it is normally closed.

To enhance viewers' appreciation of the exhibition and Chinese painting and calligraphy as well, an education gallery will be set up with introductory text, books and interesting activities. Audio guides, free public guided tours, video programmes and an exhibition web-kit will also be available during the exhibition period. In addition, the Chinese Civilisation Centre of the City University of Hong Kong will also launch a series of activities such as exhibition, webpages, lectures and competition from June to August.

To tie in with the exhibition, an international academic lecture series will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from June 29 to August 5. Speakers include more than 20 scholars from overseas, Mainland China and Hong Kong. The lectures will be conducted in English, Mandarin or Cantonese. Admission is free and 150 tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis one hour before each lecture is started.

A fully illustrated catalogue and a booklet will be published for sale at the Gift Shop of the Museum of Art.

"The Pride of China" exhibition will open from 9am to 9pm daily and be closed on Thursdays, except public holidays. Admission for this exhibition will be $30. A half-price concession is available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, full-time students and people with disabilities. "Free Admission on Wednesdays" and the LCSD Weekly Pass are not applicable to this exhibition. Admission tickets will be available for advance booking at all URBTIX outlets from June 7.

The Museum of Art is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For details of the exhibition, visit the Museum of Art's website at http://hk.art.museum . For enquiries, call 2721 0116.

Ends/Thursday, May 31, 2007
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