En route to Qing­ming Fes­ti­val

The China Post - - ARTS -

Far from be­ing a day for re­mem­brance, re­spect and fam­ily re­unions only, the popular hol­i­day is also an op­por­tu­nity to think of those who have made im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions to our lives and be­yond, to the his­tory of China.

If you want to have an in­sight into the hus­tle and bus­tle of an an­cient Chi­nese city dur­ing the Qing­ming Fes­ti­val (清明節), you should con­sider the mul­ti­me­dia map “Along the River Dur­ing the Qing­ming Fes­ti­val” (清明上河圖) on dis­play at the Na­tional Palace Mu­seum (國立故宮博物院). scenes, cap­tur­ing the daily life of peo­ple from the Song dy­nasty in the cap­i­tal, Bian­jing (汴京), to­day’s Kaifeng (開封) in He­nan (河南) . The paint­ing cel­e­brates the fes­tive spirit dur­ing the Qing­ming Fes­ti­val, rather than the hol­i­day’s cer­e­mo­nial as­pects, such as tomb sweep­ing and prayers, un­veil­ing the life­style of all lev­els of so­ci­ety from rich to poor in ru­ral ar­eas and in the city. It also of­fers glimpses of pe­riod cloth­ing and ar­chi­tec­ture.

The scroll, which is more than 5 me­ters long, has three ma­jor sec­tions, namely the right- hand side, de­pict­ing the ru­ral area of the city, the mid­dle sec­tion, high­light­ing the var­i­ous char­ac­ters living in the city and the great bridge cross­ing the river, and the left half, fea­tur­ing

Many ver­sions of the fa­mous paint­ing have sur­vived over the ages. The Na­tional Palace Mu­seum in Taipei owns eight, of which the most fa­mous of which is the “Qing Court Ver­sion” (清院本) . This par­tic­u­lar hand­scroll was com­pleted through the ef­fort and co­op­er­a­tion of five Qing Dy­nasty court masters — Chen Mei (陳枚) , Sun Hu (孫祜) , Jin Kun (金昆) , Dai Hong (戴洪) and Cheng Zhi­dao (程志道).

This ver­sion has been the sub­ject of a doc­u­men­tary film, printed in post­card and jig­saw­puz­zle form, pub­lished in a de­tailed study and as a chil­dren's book, pro­duced as a mul­ti­me­dia disc, and even re­pro­duced in full size in a beau­ti­ful mul­ti­me­dia in­stal­la­tion.

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