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"The Pride of China" features new set of exhibits

Phase II of the talk-of-the-town exhibition "The Pride of China: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy of the Jin, Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties from the Palace Museum" started today (July 23) with a new set of exhibits.

Selected from the Palace Museum, Beijing, 32 world-acclaimed masterpieces of Chinese painting and calligraphy are on display in two phases at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The first phase of the exhibition ended yesterday (July 22) and was well received by the public. The second phase will run until August 11. In order to not miss this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, visitors are strongly advised to purchase tickets in advance.

Tickets are now available for booking through all URBTIX outlets and on Internet. About 700 door tickets will be made available on a first-come-first-served basis at the Box Office of the Museum of Art and 700 quotas will be reserved for the department's yearly/half-year museum pass holders daily during the exhibition period. During the normal closure of the museum on Thursdays, visits will be arranged for pre-booking school groups and voluntary organisations.

Special measures tailored made for this exhibition will continue in Phase II. These include advance sale of tickets, setting up a special gallery to feature the six-metre long scroll "Copy after Along the River During Qingming Festival" by Qiu Ying of Ming dynasty and regulating the admission by hourly sessions. The museum will exercise measures of crowd control where necessary by setting a time limit to view the long scroll.

There are 16 exhibits featured in phase II of the exhibition. Star exhibits include 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, Zhou Wenju's "A Literary Gathering" of the Five Dynasties, Li Song's "Puppet Play of a Skeleton" and Chen Rong's "Ink Dragon" of the Southern Song dynasty. Other highlights are calligraphy by Zhao Ji, Emperor Huizong of the Northern Song dynasty, and the works of calligraphy by the four masters Su Shui, Huang Tingjian, Mi Fu and Cai Xiang.

Replacing Zhang Zeduan's "Along the River During the Qingming Festival", the copy by Qiu Ying of Ming dynasty is the jewel of crown of the phase II exhibition.

The original artistic masterpiece "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" by the Northern Song painter Zhang Zeduan offers glimpses of the institutions, economy, culture and customs in the Song capital, Bianjing, the most prosperous metropolis in the world more than a millennium ago. Ever since Zhang Zeduan had produced the scroll, there have been dozens of imitations. Of these, the one by Qiu Ying is considered to be the best. Qiu's painting is largely a replica of the original scroll except for the Jinming Pond which is added. The architecture, gardens, transport vehicles, businesses, figures and costumes, however, are those of the Ming dynasty, especially Suzhou. The most obvious departure is having the disproportionately large stone arch bridge typical of Suzhou in place of the rainbow bridge in the original. It is not only of special significance as an object of art but also a visual record of its time.

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. It is co-sponsored by HSBC and the Friends of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, with Dragonair as the official carrier. It is one of the signature events to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of HKSAR.

To tie in with the exhibition, an international academic lecture series will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from July to August 5. Speakers include more than 20 scholars from overseas, Mainland China and Hong Kong. The lectures will be conducted in English, Putonghua 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 exhibition opens from 9am to 10pm daily and is closed on Thursdays for bookings from schools and voluntary organisations. Admission to this exhibition is $30 with half-price concession available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, full-time students and people with disabilities. "Free Admission on Wednesdays" and the department's Weekly Pass are not applicable to this exhibition. 

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 . For enquiries, call 2721 0116.

Ends/Monday, July 23, 2007
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