China exhibition

Last week, I attended the opening reception of the major exhibition – China’s Hidden Century – at the British Museum. I got the invitation because I helped them with the section on Qiu Jin, China’s first feminist and revolutionary. I am just finishing a historical novel inspired by Qiu Jin. In fact, I was quoted there. Besides, on the right hand side of Qiu Jin screen, there’s a bar code. If you scan it, you can also hear her fascinating life story. I did the voice over.

The Qing Dynasty, especially its tail end, was a particularly violent and turbulent time, caused by the aggression by the Western powers, notable the British. It was also a time of intellectual fermentation. Ever since the Opium Wars smashed open China’s doors, all sorts of ideas flooded in. All of these are reflected in the exhibition, even though it is mostly apolitical.

Anyway, I had a great time at the reception. I met old friends as well as all sorts of interesting people, including a former British diplomat who donated a piece of calligraphy by Kang Youwei, a highly accomplished calligrapher as well as a prominent political thinker who launched the Hundred Days Reform, a modernization drive.

The organizers claim that the exhibition will “open a new page in public understanding of late imperial China.” It is really well-done. Go to see it when you can.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s