From China To Cardiff: Ancient Dazu Sculptures To Go On Display In Wales

Carvings Date Back To Middle Of Seventh Century

The World Heritage site at Dazu dates back to the 7th century CE

The World Heritage site at Dazu dates back to the 7th century CE

As the U.S. welcomes the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, the National Museum Cardiff in Wales is set to welcome some decidedly more stone-faced guests this month. The BBC reports that a set of ancient rock carvings from the World Heritage site at Dazu, Sichuan province, have arrived in Cardiff and are being readied for their first appearance outside of China. The free exhibition, running from January 26 to April 3, “will contain examples of the carvings that have become detached from their original setting, along with accurate replicas of some of the most important sculptures still in situ and dramatic large-scale images, to give some idea of what it is like to visit these spectacular places.”

From the BBC:

First Minister Carwyn Jones will officially welcome guests from China at the exhibition’s launch.

Li Fangyin, curator of Art Museum of Dazu Rock Carvings in Chongqing, China, said Wales’ “history and culture” were the reason why it was chosen to host the first appearance of the Dazu rock carvings outside of China.

“As a world cultural heritage, Dazu Rock Carvings should not only be taken as a treasure for local people of Dazu, but should also be recognized as a cultural property of the whole world.

For all the talk of panda diplomacy, China has increasingly sought to project its soft power through exhibitions of its ancient arts around the world.  In recent years, China has focused more intently on “cultural diplomacy” with the U.K., sending a contingent of Qin Shihuangdi’s terracotta warriors to the British Museum in London, a production of “Hamlet” to Edinburgh, and a set of Qing Dynasty “Scholar’s Rocks” to Leeds. The U.K., in turn, has sent theatre troupes to China, pledged closer cultural ties with Hong Kong, and allocated more funding towards marketing British tourism to the Chinese market.

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