Exhibiting interwoven cultures

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-20 07:34
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A Chinese embroidery show opened in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday, with 60 masterpieces offering visitors a peek into this ancient art.

The works, which fall into the more than 2,000-year-old Suzhou embroidery category, demonstrate such various styles as single-sided, double-sided, flat, crisscross and cut silk. Some of them feature subjects with a distinctive Middle Eastern flavor, such as eagles, Arabian horses or camels in a desert.

More than 200 visitors attended Thursday's opening ceremony, and many were amazed by the delicacy and elegance of the art.

"This is unique. They are the best I've ever seen ... maybe the best exhibition of 2010," said Ismet Yilmaz, under-secretary of Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry.

He said Turkey and China plan to hold a series of activities to promote cultural relations in 2010 and 2011, adding the embroidery show was the "best example" of Turkish-Chinese cultural communication.

Fatina Ayhan, a researcher on art and design at the Ankara-based Gazi University, gazed at an embroidery representation of the Peking Opera facial make-up and admiringly muttered "so beautiful".

"These are wonderful. Chinese are already at the top of art," she added.

Exhibiting interwoven cultures

Chinese ambassador in Turkey Gong Xiaosheng said the exhibition was a big event in Chinese and Turkish cultural exchanges.

"The glamor of art is not confined by national boundaries ... China and Turkey used to be connected by the ancient Silk Road and today's embroidery show once again brings us together," said Gong.

Yilmaz said Turkey also boasts its own traditional embroidery art, saying the two countries share a close cultural link.

He had a taste of the painstaking work necessary to make Suzhou embroidery by sitting at an unfinished piece in the exhibition hall and carefully making several stitches with the help of a Chinese artist.

"This needs tremendous patience," he said.

One of the four major embroidery styles in China, Suzhou embroidery was produced on a large scale during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and became famous for its intricacy, elegance and neatness in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Some art pieces shown on Thursday combine elements of Western art with Chinese skills, creating a visual impression resembling oil paintings.

The works have been displayed in countries like Jordan, Tunisia, Syria and Saudi Arabia since 2007 and were scheduled to tour three Turkish cities including Samsun, Ankara and Istanbul between March and April, said Yu Jian, cultural counselor of the Chinese embassy in Turkey.


(China Daily 03/20/2010 page11)