Poly Cul­ture Group Un­veils Rare Chi­nese Ar­ti­facts at New Art Gallery in Van­cou­ver

CAIFU - - Contents - By Cather­ine Skrzyp­in­ski

VAN­COU­VER– China’s lead­ing arts and cul­ture in­sti­tute, the Poly Cul­ture Group, opened the doors of its flag­ship art gallery in Novem­ber 2016 with the hopes of trans­form­ing down­town Van­cou­ver into a cen­tre for in­ter­na­tional art and cul­tural ex­change.

Poly Art Gallery’s in­au­gu­ral in­stal­la­tion, val­ued at more than $60 mil­lion USD, fea­tures more than 40 rare ar­ti­facts and an­tiques from the Qian­long pe­riod, in­clud­ing price­less pieces of jade, porce­lain and a gilt bronze ele­phant mu­si­cal clock made by a clock mas­ter in Lon­don. Cul­tural achieve­ments in China flour­ished dur­ing the Qian­long pe­riod.

“The An­tiques of the Qian­long Pe­riod: A Mir­ror Re­flect­ing a Chi­nese Em­peror’s At­ti­tudes to the Past and the West” col­lec­tion also in­cludes four bronze-cast an­i­mal heads de­pict­ing a mon­key, ox, pig and tiger from China’s famed old Sum­mer Palace. The an­i­mal heads were part of a col­lec­tion that rep­re­sented the 12 an­i­mals of the Chi­nese zodiac. This marks the first time these pieces

have left China since they were repa­tri­ated from Western col­lec­tions.

“This his­toric art in­stal­la­tion … marks the be­gin­ning of a rich cul­tural ex­change that will en­hance the lo­cal mul­ti­cul­tural art com­mu­nity for years to come,” Yi Chen, CEO of Poly Cul­ture North Amer­ica, said in a news re­lease in Novem­ber 2016. “We are pleased to be part of the vi­brant cul­tural scene here in Van­cou­ver, and we look for­ward to mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to­ward en­hanced cul­tural ties be­tween Canada and China.”

The bronze- cast heads were among the trea­sures looted in1860 dur­ing the de­struc­tion of the old Sum­mer Palace in Bei­jing. They were orig­i­nally in­stalled at the zodiac wa­ter clock in the Im­pe­rial Gar­den. Cul­tural ex­perts say the an­i­mal heads ex­em­plify the ex­quis­ite crafts­man­ship of Im­pe­rial China.

“Poly Cul­ture is proud to present these ex­cep­tion­ally rare and valu­able Chi­nese ar­ti­facts from the pros­per­ous Qian­long pe­riod to cel­e­brate the start of a his­tor­i­cal re­la­tion­ship be­tween Bri­tish Columbia and Poly Cul­ture Group,” Yingchun Jiang, CEO of Poly Cul­ture Group, said in a news re­lease in Novem­ber 2016. “Launch­ing our North Amer­i­can head­quar­ters in Van­cou­ver and open­ing our state-of the-art gallery will serve to pro­mote and strengthen ties be­tween the East and West.”

B. C. Pre­mier Christy Clark an­nounced in De­cem­ber 2015 that Poly Cul­ture se­lected Van­cou­ver as its North Amer­ica hub dur­ing a trade mis­sion to Bei­jing. “The cul­tural and ances­tral ties be­tween China and Bri­tish Columbia run deep,” said Pre­mier Clark. “The op­por­tu­nity to … see price­less sculp­tures that have never been seen out­side China is a sign that those ties are grow­ing

stronger ev­ery day. I know Bri­tish Columbians of all back­grounds will ap­pre­ci­ate the new Poly Art Gallery and all that it brings to Van­cou­ver.”

Poly Cul­ture’s art gallery, auc­tions, cin­e­mas and the­atre per­for­mances will help con­trib­ute to the growth of B.C.’S arts and cul­ture sec­tor and will foster greater un­der­stand­ing of Chi­nese cul­ture in Bri­tish Columbia, added Teresa Wat, min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Trade and min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for Asia Pa­cific Strat­egy and Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism.

Poly Cul­ture Group op­er­ates the world’s third- largest auc­tion house – af­ter Christie’s and Sotheby’s – as well as a broad spec­trum of mu­se­ums, the­atres and other cul­tural venues in China. Its par­ent com­pany, China Poly Group Corp., is one of the largest con­glom­er­ates in China, with in­vest­ments in real es­tate de­vel­op­ment, fi­nan­cial as­set man­age­ment and de­fence tech­nol­ogy.

China’s largest art and cul­tural com­pany will tap into Van­cou­ver as its North Amer­i­can base to ex­pand its arts busi­ness and auc­tions, cin­ema in­vest­ment and man­age­ment, and per­for­mance and the­atre man­age­ment.

“Poly Cul­ture Group’s open­ing of its North Amer­i­can head­quar­ters in Van­cou­ver is a ma­jor en­dorse­ment of our city and prov­ince as a head of­fice lo­ca­tion,” Yuen Pau Woo, HQ Van­cou­ver pres­i­dent, said in a news re­lease in Novem­ber 2016. “As a di­verse, vi­brant city, Van­cou­ver is at­trac­tive to head­quar­ters across many sec­tors, in­clud­ing arts and cul­ture.”

The Poly Art Gallery, lo­cated in down­town Van­cou­ver at 905 West Pen­der Street, is free to the pub­lic. The 18th cen­tury col­lec­tion of rare Chi­nese ar­ti­facts is on dis­play in Van­cou­ver un­til the end of Fe­bru­ary 2017.

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