If you have the time and manage to get tickets (I heard it’s sold out), there is a fantastic exhibition in Hong Kong at the moment. The Animated Version of the Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival, which was exhibited at the China Pavilion of World Expo 2010 Shanghai China, is currently in Hong Kong! Projected on a screen of more than hundred and twenty metre long and six metre high, the picture is really amazing. It’s as if you were sent back to Bianjing, the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, nine hundred years ago. The animated version of the picture is thirty times the original. You can admire the bustling streets, the moving boats and the people walking in all directions. The picture shows night and day cycles lasting four minutes each.
Zhang Zeduan’s “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival” is among the top ten most famous Chinese historical paintings. It depicts the life of the various social classes in Bianjing during the Qingming Festival at the time of the Song Dynasty. The exhibition’s website states that “Cities in the Song Dynasty underwent drastic changes when compared with those in previous times. These were revolutionary changes for cities in China. On the one hand, the urban outlook changed a great deal such as appearance of shops and workshops along the streets, and on the other, the social life of people changed greatly such as enrichment in cultural life of civilians. In addition, the painting demonstrates the harmony among ancient citizens inside a city as well as that between urban and rural areas.” The entire piece was painted in hand scroll format. It is often called China’s Mona Lisa by the Chinese.
Here are two pictures of the original painting.