Summer culture with style and depth

From photography, to theater history to pottery, don't miss these great events in Hangzhou.

Summer vocation is the peak time for exhibitions and activities in Hangzhou. As the new semester is approaching, students and parents shouldn’t miss out on the last highlights at museums, galleries and other events.

Shanghai Daily takes a look at the exhibitions and events currently on show, and highlights three that could expand your horizons and enrich your knowledge.

The 84-year-old Shi Jinshui is one of 200 locals captured by Xiao Quan's lens.

Xiao Quan focuses his camera on 200 ordinary Hangzhou citizens

Xiao Quan has been described China’s best living portrait photographer. Those who have been immortalized by his lens include artists and celebrities such as director Zhang Yimou, rock star Cui Jian and poet Bei Dao.

Last December, Xiao’s works were exhibited at the Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou. The show featured nearly 200 photos and made a stir across the city.

Now he is back and has announced he will photograph 200 locals for free.

More than 3,000 people signed up for a chance.

Candidates were required to write a story about themselves, and Xiao has already picked the first batch of people whose life stories deeply touched him.

But, he’s not finished yet and people still have a chance to take part.

Currently, the Art Museum of Tang Yun at West Lake is Xiao’s temporary studio as he takes his portraits through August 29.

Those chosen come from all walks of life, including craftsmen, a web celebrity girl, traffic police and ordinary housewives.

Xiao has a knack of discovering something indefinable about a person and capturing that with his lens. That’s how be became renowned as a leading portraitist.

Eighty-four-year-old Shi Jinshui is one of the 200. Although in his 80s, Shi is the youngest successor of the intangible heritage of Zhang Xiaoquan handmade scissors. Xiao watched him forge scissors the traditional way and shot the old man during the scissor-making process.

Xiao’s photography career started in Hangzhou. He first picked up a camera in 1980 and started shooting artists in 1983.

He has also tracked down four sisters he photographed 34 years ago. The teenage girls have already become middle-aged women, but they still remember the day Xiao took their portrait at West Lake.

Date: Through August 29

Venue: Art Museum of Tang Yun

Address: 45 Nanshan Rd

Admission: Free

Li Yan’s photos are considered visual archives of Chinese plays.

Li Yan’s Photography Exhibition

Unlike other photographers, who focus on people and scenery, Li Yan has spent more than 30 years shooting plays. His photographs record the history of Chinese contemporary plays.

Many in the theater insist if Li hasn’t photographed a play, it never appeared on the stage.

To commemorate the 110th anniversary of modern Chinese plays, Li’s works are on display in Liangzhu Culture Center through August 26.

The development and evolution of Chinese theater can be raced through the exhibits.

What’s more, the exhibition venue was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Its unique design makes in an attraction in its own right.

Experimental plays began to thrive in the 1980s. Li worked at the Xinhua news agency in the daytime and took photos in theaters at night. From then on, his connection with plays has cemented.

He appeared in every theater photographing every play, no matter what the style.

Over the years, he has taken hundreds of thousands of pictures, which are considered a visual archive.

Li’s photos have charted the growth of scores of directors, actors, and actresses, including leading directors Meng Jinghui and Tian Qinxin, and showcased how they became key figures in the growth of Chinese theater.


Date: Through August 26 ?Venue: Liangzhu Culture Center

Address: Intersection of Binhe Rd S. and Yuniao Rd

Admission: 30 yuan/person

Tri-colored glazed pottery is an indispensable part of China’s ceramics history. 

Tri-colored pottery from Shaanxi Province

Tri-colored glazed potteries that were produced and later unearthed in Chang’an (today’s Xi’an), the capital of Shaanxi Province, are an indispensable part of China’s ceramics history.

One hundred exquisite pieces are on display in West Lake Museum. The exhibition started in May and was due to close on July 26.

But it has been so popular, it has now been extended to a yet-to-be-determined date in late August.

The glazed ceramics are predominantly in three colors: brown, green, and a creamy off-white. The white came from the natural color of the fired clay, and the brown and green came from adding metal oxides in a lead glaze. Some blues and blacks have also been unearthed.

Since the pottery was mainly fired during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), people named it Tang San Cai — Tang-style tri-colored pottery.

Tang is generally regarded as a high point in Chinese civilization. During that time, merchants and official ambassadors spread the pottery to Western countries via Silk Road and maritime trade.

Tang pottery became common from Syria to Cyprus, Italy and Japan and other East Asian countries.


Date: Through late August (closed on Mondays)

Venue: West Lake Museum

Address: 89 Nanshan Rd

Admission: Free 

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