Touching Chinese ancient art at London Book Fair

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Brushing a carved wooden block with red ink, covering it with a piece of white paper and pressing the paper gently, you will find a painting finished before your eyes.

A lady watches a newly-made copy of Four Beauties by Gao Fei (R) from China Printing Museum in the 42nd London Book Fair at Earl's Court Exhibition Centre in London, Britain, April 17, 2012. London Book Fair, one of the world's largest book fairs, kicked off on Monday. China is honored as the Market Focus country at the event for the first time. [Xinhua]

At the London Book Fair, an artist from the China Printing Museum just finished a painting of Four Beauties, and handed it to Alicja Wiacek.

"It is amazing," the Polish press editor said. "It is the first time I see such an art performed right in front of me."

According to Zhang Zhengxian, vice curator with the museum, they came here on Monday when the book fair started. "We are here to exhibit the Chinese culture," he said.

Zhang noted that paper making and printing both started in ancient China. Chinese people started to make paper some 2,000 years ago, and printed with a carved block at the beginning of the seventh century. Realizing it hard to correct the mistakes if printing from one single block, people then used small movable blocks instead.

"With such an exhibition, we could enable foreign visitors understand more about the Chinese culture and China's contribution to the world civilization," said the vice curator.

Each day, they distributed hundreds of pieces of such paintings to the visitors.

A worker with the museum told Wiacek in English that in the past, such paintings were displayed in the bedroom. "I will find a framework for it and display on the wall," Wiacek said.

British girl Emily Dalton was satisfied with having such a painting, and Zhang asked her to have a try.

"It was interesting," Dalton said later. "I was very relaxed and feeling peaceful while doing it."

Fan Dachuan, a famous Chinese painter was writing for visitors beside the printing table.

"Many foreigners like Chinese calligraphy and they said each character was like a picture," said the 50-year-old artist.

Each day he would finish 40 to 50 works for visitors, most of which were calligraphy piece of visitors' Chinese names.

Dalton didn't know much of Chinese, but she gave herself a beautiful Chinese name: Lin Daiyu, which was name of the heroine in ancient novel Dream on the Red Mansion.

Mr. Fan wrote these three characters on her painting.

"This is very meaningful to me," Dalton beamed. "I will keep it well."

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