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“Chinese Rice Paper and Painting” Exhibition

On Thursday 11th October 2018, the exhibition “Chinese Rice Paper and Painting” was opened in the Sala delle Feste of the Regional Council of Tuscany, a selection of around 80 works on rice paper, created by 30 important artists of Chinese contemporary art.

This is the second stage of the exhibition, after the first one held previously in China which was created in the context of the "New Silk Road" and "Spreading Chinese Cultural Heritage" projects. It is organised by Anhui Polytechnic University, the City of Xuancheng, the China Xuan Paper Co., and is organised in Florence by Zhong Art International, with the collaboration of the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation, under the patronage of the Region of Tuscany, the Municipality of Florence, the Metropolitan City of Florence and the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Florence.

China was the first country in the world that invented paper. Out of many types of paper, the most widely used, and famous around the world, is rice paper, also known as “Xuan Zhi”, which got its name from Xuancheng, the capital city of the production. Made with excellent raw materials and complex craft processes, it has been loved by writers and painters since ancient times.

The discovery of the original material is recorded in a legend: at that time, there was a papermaker named Kong Dan, a disciple of China's first papermaker, Cai Lun. To commemorate his master, he decided to paint his portrait on paper of the highest quality. Then he discovered the green sandalwood tree, whose bark turns very white when immersed in water. After years of arduous study and experiments, Kong Dan finally succeeded in producing Xuan paper of an incomparable whiteness. The sheets are as white as snow and as soft as cotton. The resistance to the application of ink makes Xuan paper particularly suitable for painting. In 2006, the Xuan papermaking technique was recognised by the Chinese Ministry of Culture as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage”, and in 2009 it was also included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

Wang Fuguo, the Chinese Consul General, said at the opening ceremony: “We hope that the exhibition will allow our Italian friends to experience the charm of Chinese Xuan paper and the art of Chinese painting, thus further enriching bilateral cooperation in the cultural field and promoting and deepening Sino-Italian artistic and cultural exchanges.”

Today we are witnessing a historic leap, as the Chairman of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping pointed out, referring to the fruitful bilateral relationship established and cultivated in recent years between China and Italy. This project intends to support the positive momentum to extend the increased cooperation that has been found in the field of culture and art to other disciplines.


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