Half-day Seminar: Ancient Silk Road in Ningxia with Dr. Susan Whitfield & Professor Puay-peng Ho

As a finale to our 20th Anniversary celebration, The Hong Kong University Museum Society is proud to sponsor the exhibition, The Silk Road in Ningxia, from 13 December 2008 to 15 March 2009, (please see page13) and present this half-day seminar to our members and the community.

Lecture 1: Ningxia and its Place on the Silk Road with Dr. Susan Whitfield

This lecture will give an overview of the role of Ningxia from the opening of the Silk Road in the second century BC through the defeat of the Tanguts and the rise of the Mongol dynasty in the thirteenth century. It will consider how the geography and position of this region has led to be open to a mix of cultures: the steppes to its north, Tibet to its south, the desert oases to the west and China to the east, and will consider the arts and beliefs engendered by these dynamics.

Lecture 2: Western Xia Buddhism and its Art with Professor Puay-peng Ho

Buddhism was promoted as a state religion by Yuan Hao who inherited the throne in 1036. He sponsored many building and translation projects as well as the printing of Xixia Tripitaka. The promotion of Buddhism continued throughout the two millennia of Western Xia (Xixia). This lecture will outline the development of Buddhism during the Western Xia period and their architectural and artistic expressions. It will demonstrate the sinicization process adopted by the State of Western Xia through their support to Buddhism.

Intermission 8 Jan.-Feb. 2009

Lecture 3: Sogdian Traders in Ningxia: life and death with Dr. Susan Whitfield

Many of the tombs excavated at Guyuan were of Sogdians, the great traders of the Silk Road, who set up communities in the market towns stretching from their homes in Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkent, through to Chang’an. This lecture will look at their art and beliefs and how they both influenced and were influenced by their encounters along the Silk Road and with China.

Lecture 4 Xumishan Buddhist Grottoes with Professor Puay-peng Ho

One hundred and thirty two caves at Xumishan, Ningxia province, spanning from Northern Wei to the Tang dynasty, can be considered as one of the most substantial grotto sites in China. Located along a silk route from Chang’an just outside the important trading town of Guyuan, the site retains many important examples of Buddhist sculptures of Sui and early Tang. This lecture will explore the characteristics of Xumishan Grottoes in relation to the sites in Maijishan and Binglingsi grottoes.

About the Speakers

Dr. Susan Whitfield is an historian of China and the Silk Road. She works in the British Library where she is the Director of the International Dunhuang Project, whose purpose is to make the manuscripts, paintings and artefacts from the Eastern Silk Road freely available to all via the Internet. She has lived and travelled extensively in China and along the Silk Road and has written many books on history and art, among them Life Along the Silk Road. She curated the exhibition, The Silk Road: Trade, War and Faith held at the British Library in 2004 and is currently working on another major Silk Road exhibition to be held in Brussels in 2009.

Professor Puay-peng Ho, currently Dean of Students, is Chairman and Professor of the Department of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received his First Class Honours degree in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D. in Art History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His thesis was focused on Buddhist art and architecture of the Tang dynasty. Professor Ho is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Society of Architectural Historians. His research interests and publications are in the areas of Chinese art and architectural history, vernacular architecture, and architectural theory.

Tour: The Art of Ding Yanyong with Professor Mayching Kao in Cantonese

It is a rare privilege for members to have Professor Mayching Kao as our guide
at the exhibition No Frontiers: the Art of Ding Yanyong, which is being held at the Hong Kong Museum of Art from 19 December 2008 to 5 April 2009. This tour with Professor Kao is organized as a continuance of her lecture the day before on 10 January 2009. View,experience and enjoy the selection of Ding Yanyong’s ink and oil paintings from the collection of the Ding family as well as from various private collectors and institutions.

Ding Yanyong was born in the Guangdong province of China in 1902. Between
1919 and 1925, he studied modern art at the Tokyo College of Fine Arts and was particularly attracted to the works of Matisse and the Fauves. Although at first he studied oil painting, Ding subsequently turned to traditional Chinese painting. Ding’s unique style is perhaps best expressed in his paintings of animals, legends and opera singers. He brought his subjects to life with precise execution and his unparalleled mastery of the ink and brush.

Ding settled in Hong Kong in 1949. In 1956, he helped found a special art course at the New Asia College, the precursor of the Department of Fine Arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he taught until his passing in 1978.

Among the works on loan being shown at Master Ding’s retrospective at the Hong
Kong Museum of Art will be the following two paintings that the HKU Museum Society donated to UMAG in 1997.

Lecture: The Art of Ding Yanyong in Time and Place with Professor Mayching Kao in Cantonese

Edged between the cultures of East and West and the passage from the past to the present, the artist Ding Yanyong (1902-1978) and his life experiences shed light on the triumphs and tribulations of a nation in a tumultuous era.

Ding studied Western painting in Japan and returned to China to join the art scene in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing. He became a motivating force in the New Art Movement that spearheaded the changes to revolutionize Chinese art, in the company of such masters as Xu Beihong, Liu Haisu and Lin Fengmian. As an art educator, he achieved the pinnacle of his career as President of the Guangdong Provincial Art Academy in Guangzhou between 1946 and 1949.

The political turnover in 1949 forced Ding to flee to Hong Kong, leaving behind an illustrious career in mainland China to come to an island where he was a complete stranger. All alone without his family and suffering extreme financial hardship, Ding persevered in the apathetic artistic environment of Hong Kong during that period. His revolutionary efforts to blend Western Fauvism with Chinese traditional literati painting and archaic seal-carving,formed his signature style. His comical and yet mystical art will be unfolded in the drama of his personal life, which has been intimately interwoven in the complex artistic milieu of Hong Kong.

Professor Mayching Kao is the former Chair Professor of Fine Arts and the Director of the Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She specializes in Chinese painting with an emphasis on the Ming, Qing and modern periods, as well as cross-cultural influences and art education. Her publications include European Influences in Chinese Art, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries, Lin Fengmian: A Butterfly Broken Free from Its Cocoon,The Art of Wu Guanzhong, The Mei Yun Tang Collection of Paintings by Chang Da-chien, Celebration of Nature: The Life and Art of Chao Shao-an, Gao Jianfu and the Ceramics Industry in Modern China, Ding Yanyong: His Life and Art and Fang Zhaoling: Her Times, Life and Art.

Home Visit with Barbara Park

Barbara Park’s house on Lugard Road is a colonial bungalow built in 1924 by the renowned architects of the time, Palmer and Turner, for their partner Lennox Godfrey Bird.

It suffered badly during the war, but was rehabilitated by the then owner of Kelly and Walsh bookstore, a bachelor with a great gift for gardening, and some of his gorgeous trees are still doing well.

Barbara describes her house as “half Museum, half junk shop” as she’s collected Asian artefacts for forty years, many of them costing very little, but which are crafts disappearing during our lifetime, and they’re bound to make you laugh, including 178 Asian hats which she hopes to donate to a museum in the near future.

She runs a business named Plant a Park, which designs and manufactures man made plants for the hotel and shopping mall industry and has retail premises in Peel Street,Central. She’s lived in Hong Kong since 1966.

Barbara serves on the Committee of the Oriental Ceramic Society and, if the Xmas tree doesn’t take up too much room, you’ll see her collection of Imperial Yellow Porcelain.

The fires will be lit for your arrival.

Evening at the Museum: Members Reception & Opening of the Exhibition

To celebrate art and friendship, members are invited to join us for an Evening at the Museum to coincide with the opening of the exhibition The Fame of Flame: Imperial Wares of the Late Ming Period. This reception promises to be a fun event for members to meet other members over wine, hors dӯeuvres and music amidst the lovely art collections exhibited in the picturesque University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG). This event is also one way of saying “thank you” to our members for past support.

About the Exhibition
The Fame of Flame: Imperial Wares of the late Ming Period will feature over 120 pieces of imperial wares dating from the Jianjing to the Wanli periods, chosen from the collections of the University Museum and Art Gallery and local private collectors.

About UMAG
The Museum is elegantly situated in the Fung Ping Shan Building and the lower three floors of the TT Tsui Building. The Fung Ping Shan Building, originally donated to the University by Mr. Fung Ping-shan in 1932 for a Chinese book library, was converted into the Fung Ping Shan Museum of Chinese Art and Archaeology in 1953.

With further extension into the TT Tsui Building in 1996, the Museum changed its title to the University Museum and Art Gallery and remains one of the oldest and most distinguished museums in Hong Kong, housing over one thousand items of Chinese antiquities in ceramics, bronzes, paintings, Chinese oil paintings, as well as carvings in jade, wood and stone.

Parkview Art Collection

In Chinese, the literal meaning of collecting (shou cang) is “to acquire and to hide”, but the collectors of these museum quality artworks has given shou cang a new meaning. It is “to acquire, to exhibit and to share”. This unique art collection has been acquired by three generations of passionate art lovers of the Wong family. Selected with discerning eyes, it is permanently exhibited in the Parkview Clubhouse on the hilltop of the Tai Tam Country Park and is open to all visitors of this facility.

The Parkview Art Collection showcases a wide range of disciplines in world art. Without favoring any particular genre, it is comprised of the following:

– Modern and contemporary Western art – includes works from famous artists
– Picasso, Andy Warhol, Miro, Chagall, Monet, Van Gogh and others. This collection has a focus on the sculptures of Salvador Dali.

– Asian contemporary art’ includes works by artists who stood at the forefront of contemporary art in China – Yue Minjun, Zhang Xiaogang, Wang Guangyi,Zeng Fangzhi and others. There are also many artworks of emerging artists
from China as well as newly acquired works from Korea and Indonesia.

– Chinese classical paintings and calligraphy – formed part of the earlier collection,including a large number of famous literati paintings and calligraphy (Wang Yuanqi, Wang Hui and Bada) as well as imperial hand scrolls.

– Buddhist sculptures – a unique collection with some very rare pieces dating from Northern Wei to Qing dynasty. This collection has been exhibited at the City University of Hong Kong and has also been well documented by established international scholars.

– Chinese antiquities and curios – include early bronzes from the period of the Warring States, a mix of distinguished pieces of cloisonn-, jade ruyi, ceramics,seals and other artifacts from around the world.

In-house Curator Lucie Chang Yu (MA from SOAS, University of London) or her colleague will guide us through the collection. We will enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Clubhouse after the viewing.

Studio Visit: Nigel Szeto, his Style and Philosophy

Born to a family of artists, Nigel Szeto (司徒乃鍾) is the son of Lingnan Painting School master Szeto Kei and grandson of the famous poet Szeto Mei.

In the early 1960’s and 70’s, Szeto studied art under masters Chao Shao An, Guan Shan Yue, Li Xiong Cai, Yang Shan Shen, Chang King Hung and Chan Shu Soo in Hong Kong and China. Later, he attended Capilano College, Emily Carr College of Art & Design in Canada and graduated with highest honors.

His artworks have been collected and exhibited extensively around the globe, including the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum; the Museum of Civilization of Ottawa, Canada; the Nanjing Museum, Jiangmen Art Museum, and the Memorial Museum of Lingnan School of Painting, China; and many corporate and private collections.

Nigel Szeto is currently a member of the China Artists Association; Director of the Hong Kong Cang Cheng Art School and Founding Chairman of the Cang Cheng Art Association,Canada; Professor of Fine Arts Faculty, Director and Vice-Principal of Lingnan Art Study in Guangzhou Art Academy; Vice-Director of the Zhejiang Museum West Lake Academy of Chinese Painting in Hangzhou; Honorary Consultant of the Asia Program, University of Indianapolis, USA; Associated Member of The Federation of Canadian Artists; and Vice-Chairman of the Lingnan Art Study Association of Macau.

During this morning’s visit to his studio, Szeto discussed and shared with us his work that exemplified his personal style and philosophy in art. He demonstrated his unique ink painting style that had received wide acclaim. In addition, we were able to view his eclectic collection of ink stones, brushes and antiques. It was an informal occasion to enjoy Chinese art in a relaxed, cozy atmosphere over tea and cake, with dim sum lunch after.

Shenzhen Weekend New Museum and Old Walled Villages

This trip will be a leisurely weekend excursion to visit the new Shenzhen Museum, a garrison town, and two old historic walled villages including an overnight stay in the comforts of the Interlaken (OCT) Hotel, built in a luxury resort replicating an alpine Swiss village in the large ecologically protected scenic hills of Eastern Shenzhen. Along the way, we will have opportunities to savor some of the delectable cuisines that our neighboring town offers.

The new Shenzhen Museum (深圳博物館) opened in late 2008. It has numerous permanent galleries, two of which feature the ancient history and ethnic groups in Shenzhen. The exhibits will provide an ideal introduction to our understanding of the history and culture of Shenzhen.

One of the best preserved garrison towns in China, Dapeng Garrison Town (大鵬鎮鵬城) was founded in 1394 to protect the eastern coast. Preserved up to this day, the city wall is now a National Heritage.

Occupying an area of 25,000 square meters, the walled village of Dawan Shiju (大萬世居) is located in Longgang Town (龍崗鎮). The village belongs to a Tsang clan that is related to the Tsang Tai Uk (曾大屋) of Shatin. Listed as a Provincial Heritage, it is the largest and one of the best preserved walled villages in Shenzhen that has now been converted into a museum of the Hakka people.

Longtin Shiju (龍田世居) is also located in Longgang (龍崗鎮). The walled village was built in 1837. It belongs to a Wong clan of Hakka people that migrated from northeastern Guangdong's Meizhou District (梅州地區).

We are privileged to have as our guest lecturer, Dr. Joseph Ting (丁新豹博士), formerly Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of History. Dr. Ting received his Ph.D in 1989 from the Department of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong. He joined the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1979 as Assistant Curator II and was transferred to the Hong Kong Museum of History in 1988 to become the Curator. After retiring from the Hong Kong Museum of History, Dr. Ting remains Honorary Adviser to a number of cultural institutions both in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Lecture and Dinner with Professor David Lung on The Disappearance of the Meaning of Chinese Courtyard House

Lecture Synopsis:

This lecture will review the cultural significance of the traditional Chinese courtyard house; tracing its philosophical foundation to the harmony of man and heaven, and the ways in which the Confucian ideal of a family is being institutionalized in this physical built form. It makes reference to houses found in the New Territories and the Pearl River Delta.

The Speaker:

A registered architect by profession, Professor David Lung ( 龍炳頤教授 ) is the Professor of Architecture and the Founding Director of the Architectural Conservation Programme at the University of Hong Kong. With over thirty years of work researching, teaching and publishing in the area of cultural heritage, he currently holds the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Heritage Resource Management and the Associate Deanship in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong.