Art and Culture Part 2

Shanghai Tower unveils world’s highest art space

February 5, 2017

  • Ever since its completion last year, the Shanghai Tower has been the second tallest building on earth — just behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The 2,073 feet (632 meter) tall tower is opening the highest art space in the world. Located on the 126th floor of this 128-story building, it will feature an immersive auditory experience designed to serenade visitors to Shanghai. Grammy-winning composer and producer Simon Franglen, who is behind famous theme songs from Hollywood blockbusters “Avatar” and “Titanic”, was commissioned to create the symphony that will play in this venue.

Scientists unlock secrets of oldest surviving global trade map

February 3, 2017

  • The origins and secrets of the 17th Century ‘Selden Map of China’ – the world’s oldest surviving merchant map – have been revealed by scientists using state-of-the-art imaging techniques. Very little is known about the origin of the Chinese-style map, which arrived at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford in 1659 – having been donated by prominent London lawyer John Selden – where it remained until its ‘rediscovery’ in 2008. In his will, Selden stated it was ‘a map of China made there fairly’ and that it had been taken by an English commander

Large Neolithic site discovered in NW China


  • Archaeologists have discovered a large Neolithic ruin dating back more than 5,000 years in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. The site, covering over one million square meters, was found in Yulin City following a six-month excavation, according to the provincial archaeology institute. Dwellings and ditches made between 3000 B.C. and 1000 B.C. have been discovered in seven sites.

China issues guidelines to preserve traditional culture

January 26, 2017

  • The central government has issued guidelines on preserving and developing excellent traditional culture, eyeing a “marked boost” in the international influence of Chinese culture by 2025. Specific tasks were listed in the guidelines, including protecting traditional Chinese villages, residences, historic architecture, agricultural and industrial heritage; preserving dialects; and supporting Chinese poetry, music, dance, calligraphy, painting, historical and cultural documentaries, animation and publications.

Who Are the Most Popular Living Chinese Artists?

January 12, 2017

  • In fact, the Chinese art market is the third largest in the world, making up 19 percent of global art sales, according to the 2016 TEFAF Art Market Report. And it’s not only Chinese domestic art sales that drive interest. The Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report, compiled by artnet and the China Association of Auctioneers (CAA), asserts that overseas sales of Chinese art has more than quadrupled since 2009.

Chinese-Indian joint archaeological team discovers Chinese cultural relics in India


  • Recently, a Chinese team with the Palace Museum and an Indian team with Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), jointly working at the Kollam Port Site in India, discovered ancient Chinese porcelain and coins, reported the Paper, a news outlet from Shanghai. Kollam Port, located in Southwest India, is the second largest port in Karela, next to Cochin Port. Since February, 2014, a vast amount of ancient relics of many kinds have been discovered in the area, drawing much attention, especially from KCHR.

Forbidden City opens relic ‘hospital’

December 30, 2016

  • A state-of-the-art conservation center to “treat” ancient cultural relics in disrepair opened at Beijing’s Palace Museum on Thursday. The base, informally called the Relic Hospital, covers 13,000 square meters and boasts the nation’s most-advanced restoration workshops, said Shan Jixiang, the museum’s director. This year saw the release of the highly popular Masters in the Forbidden City, a three-part documentary that followed experts at the museum. A feature-length version was screened at cinemas this month. The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, was home to the royal court between 1420 and 1912. Today, it houses more than 1.8 million sets of cultural relics.

Chinese imperial seal sold for record $22m at auction

15 December 2016

  • An 18th Century Chinese imperial seal has been sold for a record €21m (£18m, $22m) – more than 20 times its estimated price. The sale, to an unnamed Chinese collector, took place in Paris on Wednesday after a heated bidding war, Drouot auction house said. The latest seal sold was originally acquired by a young French naval doctor who visited China in the late 19th Century, and had remained in his family ever since, Drouot said (link in French).

Xi urges artists, writers to inspire nation with works


  • President Xi Jinping on Wednesday urged Chinese artists and writers to strengthen their confidence in Chinese culture and create excellent works to inspire the nation. “To create outstanding works with vivid national characteristics and unique personal style, one must have a profound understanding of Chinese culture and a high level of cultural confidence,” Xi said.

Ancient art returning home

November 14, 2016

  • A year before that, the ceremonial vessel, known as the Min Fanglei, returned to its birthplace in Central China’s Hunan province to reunite with its lid after being separated for about 90 years. The vessel was scheduled for a Christie’s auction in New York in April 2014. A group of Chinese buyers from Hunan acquired the bronze in a closed-door deal with its European owner on the condition that it would be donated to the museum. The price was reportedly in the millions of US dollars, but the exact figure was not revealed.

China, ROK, Japan co-host art exhibition

November 5, 2016

  • An art exhibition co-hosted by the national museums of China, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan kicked off in the National Museum of China Friday. The six-week exhibition, the first ever collaboration of the three museums, features over 50 ancient Chinese, Korean and Japanese paintings from the l5th century to early 19th century.

The Chinese tea bowl that is a minor miracle

30 October 2016

  • Paradoxically, the superlative, must-see object in the London Asian Art Week sales is arguably also the easiest to overlook. This is the nogime tenmoku tea bowl offered by Sotheby’s London during its Important Chinese Art sale on 9 November. It is small, unassuming and apparently black. Cradle it in your hands, turn it and inspect it in good light – or better still, shine a torch into it (a phone flashlight does the trick) – and you are beholding a minor miracle.

Ancient cliff paintings discovered in N. China

August 6, 2016

  • Archeologists have discovered over 1,000 cliff paintings dating back more than 1,000 years in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The paintings are surprisingly well preserved, and feature sheep, camels, elks, tigers, wolves and people hunting, said Liu Bin, head of the Cultural Relics Bureau of Urad Middle Banner, on Friday.

Legends say China began in a great flood. Scientists just found evidence that the flood was real.

August 4 2016

  • It’s said the flood looked like “endless boiling water,” surging across the landscape. A wave as tall as a 30-story building would have crashed over the banks of the Yellow River, demolishing everything in its path. It soaked the streets of ancient China’s nascent cities and washed away the surrounding farmland. “The flood is pouring forth destruction. Boundless and overwhelming, it overtops hills and mountains,” goes a quote attributed to the legendary Emperor Yao. “Rising and ever rising, it threatens the very heavens.” If civilization was to survive, the people needed a hero who could tame the floodwaters and restore the land. That man was Yu, founder of China’s first dynasty, the Xia. Over the course of decades, Yu organized a dredging campaign, dug channels that would carry the water back to its source, and pioneered a tradition of great Chinese public works.

Ruins of Yin research sheds light on one of China’s oldest dynasties

July 21, 2016

  • BODIES buried at Yinxu, or the Ruins of Yin, one of China’s oldest archeological sites, were captives from ethnic minority groups, rather than slaves, according to an archeologist in central China’s Henan Province. The finding may help change the notion that the Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC), China’s first recorded dynasty, was a slave society, according to Tang Jigen, head of the Anyang research branch of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Characters on the oracle bones stated that more than 10,000 people were killed and buried with the dead aristocrats as sacrificial offerings. Tang had always wondered about the identities of those people.

China’s ancient rock painting enters UNESCO heritage list

July 16, 2016

  • A group of rock paintings dating back over 2,000 years in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was included into UNESCO’s world heritage list on Friday. The Zuojiang Huashan site, covering over 6,621 hectares, is home to more than 1,900 well-preserved drawings on the face of the Huashan mountains along the Zuojiang River, Chongzuo. The brownish red paintings depict the sacrifices of the Luoyue people, ancestors of today’s Zhuang ethnic minority, during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) and East Han Dynasty (25-220).

Researchers Uncover Ancient Shrine That May Hold Buddha’s Skull Bone


  • Archaeologists have discovered what may be a skull bone from the revered Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. The bone was hidden inside a model of a stupa, or a Buddhist shrine used for meditation. The research team found the 1,000-year-old model within a stone chest in a crypt beneath a Buddhist temple in Nanjing, China. Inside the stupa model archaeologists found the remains of Buddhist saints, including a parietal (skull) bone that inscriptions say belonged to the Buddha himself.

Archaeologists Find Evidence of Domesticated Rice in China 9,000 Years Ago

Jun 23, 2016

  • The earliest evidence of domesticated rice (Oryza sativa), one of the world’s most important cereal grains, has been found in China, and it’s 9,000 years old. The discovery, announced in the journal Scientific Reports, was made by an international team of archaeologists led by Dr. Yunfei Zheng from the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Hangzhou, China.

Ancient Documents Reveal Sunspots, Auroras and Other Solar Activity before Galileo

July 1, 2016

  • To that end, a team of historians and astronomers in Kyoto analyzed hundreds of handwritten Tang Dynasty documents from China as well as Japanese and European manuscripts from around the same period, the seventh to 10th centuries. As reported online in April in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, the researchers came across the terms “white rainbows” and “unusual rainbows” again and again. In fact, such spectacles were written about on the same dates in the documents from all three regions. Because people in such geographically distant locations simultaneously reported the phenomenon, the descriptions can only be explained as auroras, says lead author Hisashi Hayakawa, who is a student at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Letters. Auroras are caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with particles in Earth’s atmosphere. They usually occur as rings around our planet’s magnetic poles. Last year the group also published a comprehensive list of what most likely are sunspots mentioned in the official history of China’s Song Dynasty (10th to 13th centuries), where the spots are described as plums, peaches or eggs in the sun. Overall they have recorded 38 sunspots, 13 unusual or white rainbows, and 193 other auroralike events, which are compiled into a searchable, open database online.

Classic ink painting fetches US$35M in auction

June 6, 2016

  • A colored ink painting by Chinese artist Fu Baoshi (1904-65) sold for 230 million yuan ($35 million) at a Beijing auction over the weekend. The God of Cloud and Great Lord of Fate, dated 1954, was estimated to be worth 180 million yuan before the sale at Beijing Poly International Auction on Saturday. Zhao Xu, executive director of the auction house, said the winning bid was made by a Chinese mainland collector over the phone. He did not release a name.

One of the World’s Oldest Beer Recipes Unearthed in China

May 23, 2016

  • Two pits recently unearthed in China contained archaeological evidence of what could be one of the world’s oldest microbreweries. Located at the Mijiaya archaeological site in northern China, the pits contained a number of vessels of varying shapes as well as small stoves. The archaeologists studying the site say the ancient inhabitants had all of the tools necessary to produce a favorite fermented beverage from millet, barley and other grains. They also analyzed the yellowish coating found on the inside of the vessels and found evidence of steeping, mashing and fermentation — all steps in the beer-making process. Using carbon dating, the researchers estimate that the pits are anywhere from 4,900 to 5,400 years old.

2,100 years old: Archaeologists discover world’s oldest tea leaves in China

13 May 2016

  • Guinness World Records can today confirm the discovery of the world’s Oldest tea leaves during the excavation of an ancient tomb belonging to a Chinese emperor. The historical find was made by the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology during the examination of the Han Yang Ling Mausoleum between 1998 and 2005. The tea leaves were uncovered among treasures buried with Emperor Liu Qi, with scientific examinations confirming that the leaves are an incredible 2,100 years old.

Neolithic Rice Paddy Found in Eastern China

May 09, 2016

  • NANJING, CHINA—Archaeologists from the Nanjing Museum say they have discovered traces of a rice field at the Neolithic site of Hanjing in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu. Carbonized rice from the site was dated to 8,000 years ago. The ancient rice paddy had been divided into different parts, each of which had a different shape and covered less than 100 square feet. China Daily also reports that the scientists found evidence the paddy had been repeatedly planted with rice. Lin Liugen, head of the museum’s archaeology institute, said that 10,000-year-old carbonized rice has been found elsewhere, but this is oldest rice paddy to have been uncovered in China. To read about another recent discovery, go to “The Price of Tea in China.”

Oldest Large Water System in China Discovered by Archaeologists in Zhejiang Province

Mar 16, 2016

  • A large water project that dates back about 5,000 years was discovered by Chinese archaeologists in Zhejiang Province in east China, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Believed to be the oldest large water system in China, the finding included 11 dikes and it was found on the outskirts of the provincial capital Hangzhou. Archaeologists believe the dikes were used for irrigation, flood control and transportation.

Hunting weapons made from BONES found in Chinese cave: 35,000-year-old harpoons are the oldest found outside of Africa

3 March 2016

  • The ability of our ancestors to create their own tools was thought to be one of the key skills that set us apart from other early human species, and the rest of the animal kingdom. Now some of the oldest sophisticated bone tools to be discovered outside Africa have been unearthed in a cave in China. The sharp points, awls, harpoons and wedges were carefully carved out of bone up to 35,000 years ago.

Oldest Tea Discovered in China

January 12, 2016

  • The world’s oldest known tea has been discovered to have been buried along with Jing Di, a Han Dynasty Chinese emperor who died in 141 B.C., according to The Independent. The find suggests that tea was a favored beverage among Chinese royalty at least 2,150 years ago. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences looked at crystals on the surface of leaves found in a wooden box buried with the emperor and used mass spectrometry to establish that they were indeed tea. Millet and rice as well as weapons, pottery figurines, ceramic animals, and several full-sized chariots were also buried with the emperor in his capital, Chang’an, which is known today as Xi’an. The site was excavated in the 1990s, but analysis of the organic finds is only being undertaken now. To read about a find in China dating back 80,000 years, go to “An Opportunity for Early Humans in China.”

China’s top six archaeological findings in 2015


  • File photo shows bronze wares unearthed at the Zhouyuan ruins in Baoji City, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. The tomb of “Haihunhou” in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, the Neolithic site in southeastern Hainan Province, the Zhouyuan ruins in Baoji City, Shaanxi Province, the Jiangzhuang ruins of Liangzhu Neolithic jade culture in Jiangsu Province, the Taiji Hall ruins in Luoyang City of Henan Province, and the site of “Dandong No.1” in the Yellow Sea are selected as the six top archaeological discoveries in 2015 by the Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. (Photo/Xinhua)