AT LONG LAST
A one of a kind exhibition about the famous Soong sisters is now taking place in Shanghai and it tells of their life stories through authentic historical artifacts and documents
to both houses of the US congress, speaking about the Chinese people’s determination to fight against the Japanese invaders.
In 1995, she made a rare public appearance when she attended a reception held on Capitol Hill in her honor as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The original crimson dress and silk shawl that Mei-ling wore at this reception are among the rare exhibits, alongside historical photographs of her 1943 lectures in the US.
“ItwasherlastvisittoWashingtonDC and again, her appearance and speech reflected the spirit of Chinese people which won the respect of the American people. Without the victory of the war against the Japanese invaders, there would not be today’s China,” said Hau Pei-tsun, a politician from Taiwan who was in the Kuomintang army during the war.
Hau added that he remembers Mei-ling as a “warm and friendly lady, who treated us like her own children” and noted that she would often crack jokes and evoke much laughter at banquets.
Also among the exhibits is the wedding gown that Mei-ling wore in 1927. The white dress features a Chinese qipao- style collar line and a drop-back hem. It is believed that Mei-ling, who was later known as Madame Chiang, had contributed to the design. This bridal look, complete with a white headscarf fastened with a hair clasp, was widely copied at the time, as evidenced by vintage photographs showing a number of celebrities donning similar gowns.
Another significant war-related artifact at the exhibition is the medal that Ching-ling, who was a Communist, received from the Kuomintang government in recognition for her contributions during the war against the Japanese. Ching-ling was also the person who had introduced western authors and journalists to Chairman Mao who was based in Yan’an of Shaanxi.
“Despite their differences, the three sisters each made great contributions to the victory of the war. When you put together the stories of all the three sisters, you’ll get a complete picture of the war,” said Xiao Guiyu, chairman of the management council of Sun Yatsun cultural relics in Shanghai.
Xiao added that the Soong sisters are fine examples of the fusion of Chinese and Western cultures who have made a significant impact on the generations of men and women after them.
Ching-ling or Mei-ling did not have any offspring while Ai-ling was survived by two sons and two daughters.
In attendance at the exhibition was Chiang Fang Chi-yi, the widow of Chiang Hsiao-yung. The latter’s father is Chiang Ching-kuo, the son of Chiang Kai-shek and his first wife Mao Fumei.
Fang Chi-yi has been the keeper of the dairies of Chiang Kai-Shek and • Duoyunxuan Art Center, 1188 Tianyaoqiao Road, Xuhui district, Shanghai • Apr 28 - Jul 31 • 10 am – 5 pm daily • Tickets are priced from 80-100 yuan and can be purchased through the official box-office agency www. gewara.com