Ink Wonders of San Wu: Masterpieces of Ming Calligraphy

Zhejiang University

An exhibition themed on “Ink Wonders of San Wu” kicked off in the Zhejiang University Museum of Art and Archaeology (ZJUMAA) on May 18. The exhibition displays notable masterpieces of Ming calligraphy from Jinmotang Collection and some cultural relics borrowed from other museums in a bid to present a whole picture about the development of the calligraphy centered in Wumen in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

Featured at the exhibition are 93 pieces (sets) of calligraphy and paintings, most of which are open to the public for the first time. This is also the first special academic exhibition that focuses on private collections at ZJUMAA.

The 82 pieces (sets) at the exhibition are provided by LIN Xiao, a ZJU alumnus and chairman of the Board of Directs of Jinmotang Calligraphy Foundation. “Public museums occupy a dominant position in the collection of precious cultural relics, but some private collections are also impressive,” said Prof. BAI Qianshen, dean of the School of Art and Archaeology and director of ZJUMAA, “I hope that this exhibition will promote a favorable cooperation mechanism between public museums and private collections.”

“The vast majority of works at this exhibition are open to the public for the first time,” said Prof. XUE Longchu at the School of Art and Archaeology, who is also the curator of this special exhibition, “The exhibition not only gives visitors a tangible feel of calligraphy, but also offers an in-depth exploration of scholars’ lifestyle in historical contexts. I hope that different spectators will gain different things from the exhibition.”

As a teaching museum, this exhibition is also a crucial opportunity to train students. Several postgraduate students in art history are involved in exhibit screening, catalog compilation, exhibit labels and English proofreading. “Holding an exhibition of private collections is an important challenge in terms of professional competence. The whole exhibition planning process is a continuous learning process for faculty and students alike. In addition to focusing on the quality of the exhibits, we also endeavor to discover more of their significance,” said XUE Longchun.

“Hopefully, students majoring in history, cultural preservation, museology and chemistry as well as relevant associations can benefit from the exhibition,” said BAI Qianshen, who also expressed his cordial gratitude to LIN Xiao for his generous support, “In the future, with the approval of the owner of the collection, the cultural preservation team of our school will also carry out sampling and testing and conduct all-round research by taking advantage of the University’s cross-disciplinary strengths.”

In order for the visitors to gain more experience and deepen their feeling and understanding of calligraphy, ZJUMAA will offer academic workshops, lectures and hands-on workshops during the exhibition.

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