The legend of Afanti lives on in a new exhibition

The largest-ever theme exhibition is being held to honor Afanti, one of China's most famous cartoon characters, at the Bund Finance Centerin Shanghai.
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A large-scale theme exhibition is being held to honor Afanti, one of China's most famous cartoon characters, at the Bund Finance Center in Shanghai. 

The legendary figure with a goatee, who usually rides a donkey, remains a symbol of wisdom and justice in many people's childhood memories in the 1980s and 1990s.

Afanti, or effendi, meaning sir or teacher in Turkish, is a name given to people who have wisdom and knowledge.

The hero’s real name is Nasreddin. He is wise and witty and, more importantly, he has the courage to resist the exploitation of noblemen. He is also full of compassion and tries his best to help poor people.

Largely sourced from Uygur folklore, Shanghai Animation Film Studio produced an animated puppet film “The Story of Afanti” in 1979. The humor and unique ethnic flavor of western China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region quickly made Afanti a household name in China.

Between 1981 and 1988, a 13-episode Nasreddin Effendi-related animation was made. The series became one of the most influential animated works in China.

A Nasreddin story is usually characterized by subtle humor and a pedagogic nature. Having lived in numerous cities in a vast area and being vehement against the Mongol invasion, Nasreddin is embraced by various nations and cultures from Turkey to Arabia, Persia to Afghanistan and from Russia to China.

In the animation, Afanti is always accompanied by his faithful companion, a 3.5-meter-tall donkey, which is also displayed at the exhibition to meet fans who grew up with Afanti's funny stories and anecdotes.

The exhibition also serves as a preview of the upcoming 3D animation “The Legend of Afanti,” to be released in October.

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Exhibition details

Date: Through September 3, 11am-7pm

Venue: Bund Finance Center

Address: 558 Zhongshan Rd E2


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