"Oracle Bone Script Art Showcase" kicks off in South Africa

  • World
  • Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

CAPE TOWN, April 19 (Xinhua) -- "The Spirits on Turtle Shells and Cattle Bones: Oracle Bone Script Art Showcase" kicked off on Friday in Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa, to celebrate the United Nations Chinese Language Day, which falls on April 20.

Hosted by the Iziko Museums of South Africa in collaboration with China's Central Academy of Fine Arts, ChinesePlus, and the Center for Language Education and Cooperation, this event takes place at the Learning Center of the Iziko Museums, located on the Groot Constantia Estate in Cape Town, from April 19 to May 5.

The exhibition features oracle bone inscriptions transformed into artistic creations. It showcases over 70 oracle bone art pieces, developed through a three-year collaborative effort involving experts in oracle bones, picture books, and text design.

These pieces cover various themes, including astronomy and geography, gods and ancestors, the miracles of life, human relationships, body organs, domestic life, fishing and hunting, feasts and songs, birds and beasts, and the emotional life of plants.

Ten young artists from China's Central Academy of Fine Arts have brought these inscriptions to life in unique artistic styles, enabling viewers to glimpse the ancient world through the eyes of our ancestors. The exhibition also highlights significant discoveries and research related to oracle bones.

Additionally, the exhibition celebrates the rich and diverse tradition of indigenous Late Stone Age rock art in South Africa. The San people, or Bushmen, who lived in the hunter-gatherer period, created the region's oldest rock paintings. These ancient artworks, renowned for their depth and detail, include depictions of humans, therianthropes, deities, various objects, and animals, captivating viewers with their exquisite precision.

Rock art, one of humanity's oldest and most widespread forms of expression, echoes the artistic heritage seen in China's oracle bone inscriptions.

At the opening ceremony of the event, You Wenze, Chinese consul-general in Cape Town, noted that the theme of this year's UN Chinese Language Day is "Chinese Language: Building Bridges for Mutual Understanding of Civilizations."

In this context, You said the exhibition will provide people a unique perspective and platform to perceive the long history and profoundness of Chinese language and culture.

"China is ready to promote exchange and cooperation on the Chinese language, use the language as a bridge to strengthen people-to-people exchange and cultural interaction and bring our peoples closer," he said. "By so doing, we can deepen communication between the Chinese civilization and other civilizations and add more vitality and diversity to the world civilization."

In her opening speech, Fahrnaaz Johadien, acting executive director of Iziko Museums of South Africa, noted that rock art appeared in both ancient civilizations of China and South Africa.

"At first glance, African and Chinese cultures could not seem more different. However, the production of analogous ancient art and its contemporary resonance with national identity and expression speaks to the remarkable unity of the human experience across the divisions of geography, language, and culture," said Johadien.

"The global production of such art affirms that the selection of southern African and Chinese art forms are but a sample of a global, unified reality: we are more similar than we are different," she added.

Guy Redman, head of the Western Cape Department for Cultural Affairs and Sports, said while delivering his speech at the opening ceremony that South Africa and China have enjoyed a long-standing relationship of mutual respect, including various areas of cooperation, and key among these being knowledge and cultural exchange.

Redman recalled his recent trip to China in September, during which he was able to visit the home of Confucius and gifted with a book with a selection of quotes from the Analects of Confucius.

"If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others," he quoted Confucius as saying.

"May we continue this journey of cherishing our ancient knowledge and cultures in our quest to acquire new knowledge so that through teaching others, we ensure that none are left behind," he said.

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