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Calligraphy exhibition explores Chinese history

By Ren Zhongxi
China.org.cn staff reporter

A visitor stands in front of calligraphies. 一位参观者站在书法作品前欣赏
A visitor stands in front of calligraphies.

An exhibition of the calligraphies of renowned politicians, writers and artists who lived and gained fame during China's republic period (1912-1949) is now on show in Beijing's Yanhuang Art Museum. 一场集合了民国时期活跃的知名政客、文学家和艺术家书法作品的展览正在北京炎黄艺术馆展出。
Jiahe Room's Collection features about 200 pieces from a private collection that are revealed to the public for the first time in China. “嘉和居长物-近代先贤书法展”展示的200余件私人收藏品都是首次在国内亮相。
"Besides Xu Beihong, Zhang Daqian, Qi Baishi, whose works are frequently seen in art market, there are a lot of politicians' handwritings such as Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, Huang Xing and Zhou Enlai," said Xu Shiyan, manager of painting and calligraphy department of Beijing Tranthy International Auction Co., Ltd. "These works are not allowed to be auctioned in China." “这次展览除了艺术品收藏市场上常见的艺术家如徐悲鸿、张大千、齐白石等书画家的作品,也包括了很多民国时期的政治人物的手迹,像孙中山、蒋介石、黄兴、周恩来等,”北京传是国际拍卖有限责任公司书画部经理徐世琰介绍说。“像这种国家机要人员的手写文件在我国是禁止拍卖的。”
The 50-year-old owner refers to himself simply as "master of Jiahe Room" – the room in his home where he stored the paintings. He had taken the name, Jiahe Room, from a calligraphy piece. A landscape designer, he has spent more than 20 years collecting artworks and now owns about 10,000 pieces of traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphies, jade ware and pottery. 展品的主人自称为“嘉和居主人”,嘉和居是他收藏书画作品等藏品的居室,名字取自一副书法作品。藏家是一位50岁的园林设计师,从事收藏已有20余年的经验,他收集了一万多件中国书画、玉器、陶器等藏品。
The works, which have high artistic and social meanings according to Xu, are arranged in time sequence and divided into two groups by the revolution of 1911. Artists in first group were born between 1820 and 1860 and received traditional Chinese education. Their calligraphies are closer to the classic style. Artists in the second group were born in the late 1800s and were greatly influenced by Western culture. Their works are more innovative. The two groups together illustrate the artistic panorama at that time. 徐经理说,这次的展品具有非常高的艺术和社会价值。它们按照时间顺序排列,以辛亥革命为节点分为前后两大阶段。辛亥革命前活跃的书法家出生于道光、咸丰年间(1820-1860年),他们受到传统封建文化教育,作品更贴近中国传统书法风格。辛亥革命之后活跃的书法家大多出生于光绪年间(19世纪后期),他们受西方文化影响很大,作品带有新时代特征。两组作品共同呈现了民国时期的艺术全貌。
Unlike other exhibitions of its kind, many works are personal correspondences, travel notes, opinions on historical issues and excerpts from Chinese classics. A poem written by Wang Jingwei in 1942, known as his formation of a Japanese-supported collaborationist government in Nanjing during World War II, showed his hesitation of working with Japanese. 与同类展览不同的是,这次的展品涵盖了私人信件、旅行游记、对历史事件的看法以及中国古典文学作品节选等丰富的内容。例如,二战期间南京伪政府头号人物汪精卫在1942年写的一首诗体现了他在跟日本合作时的矛盾心情。
"These works allow us to see through the veil of time and get to know the real history, which is our purpose of holding this event," Xu said. “这些作品让我们有机会穿透时间的迷雾,看到历史的真面目,这也是我们举办这次展览的目的,”徐经理说。
The works will also serve as a standard with which to judge the authenticity of Chinese art works. According to Xu, people's handwritings are easier to recognize than their paintings. These works give collectors an opportunity to better know artists' signatures and will help them distinguish real works from fake ones. 此外,这些作品还具有书画鉴定“标准器”的作用。根据徐经理介绍,人的笔迹比画作更容易辨认,这些作品让收藏者能够更好地了解书画家的签名,从而分辨藏品的真伪。
Sponsored by China Minsheng Banking Corp., Ltd., the exhibition will run until May 28 before moving to Shanghai and Qingdao in June.


(China.org.cn 任仲希 译)

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