LING Lizhong 凌利中
Shanghai Museum

Organizing International Traveling Painting and Calligraphy Exhibitions at the Shanghai Museum: Three Case Studies

Since the organization of Chinese National Treasures of Painting and Calligraphy from the Jin, Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties exhibition in 2002, the Shanghai Museum has organized several similar exhibitions, with paintings and calligraphies borrowed from several leading museums in the country. All these exhibitions have turned out to be huge success. The exhibitions have provoked the audiences' interests towards classics of traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, got high attention and acceptance locally and internationally, and built a good foundation for lending its own exhibits for exhibitions abroad.

In the past ten years or so, the Shanghai Museum has attached great importance to its international travelling exhibitions. It accumulated substantial experience from several previous exhibitions of this kind by first cooperating with Japanese colleagues for two exhibitions: Masterpieces of Ancient Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy in 2006 and Masterpieces of Ancient and Chinese Paintings in Japanese in 2010. It then cooperated with five prestigious museums in the US for the Masterpieces of Early Chinese Painting and Calligraphy in American Collections exhibition in 2012. All these were in big success.

While it has learnt quite a lot from its own past experiences, the Shanghai Museum has also learnt from experiences and concepts of its colleagues both home and abroad. This is quite helpful to the Shanghai Museum to diversify its way in organizing exhibitions strategically. For example, selection exhibition can be one of the successful forms; however, the Shanghai Museum has explored new forms such as theme exhibitions. As a matter of fact, it has been preparing the exhibition, How the Wu School of Painting Originated吳門前淵, since 2012, which works on the research question of how the Wu School of Painting originated and is scheduled to be on view in 2016. In this exhibition, it is planned to display 120 items of three modules, to be borrowed from around 20 museums and institutions. This exhibition targets to present the results of scholarly research, focusing on academic aspect but also appealing to the general audience. It is well expected that this exhibition will promote academic research and general interest. The research findings will surely inspire the artists of the contemporary and future generations.