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

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

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

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