From egg-bashing to heaven-repairing, exhibition delves deep into Chinese mythology
Although the Big Bang theory has gained much acceptance, what came before the Bang continues to baffle, with some of the best-known physicists, among them Albert Einstein and Chen-Ning Franklin Yang, tending to creation by supernatural power.
So intriguing is the beginning that each civilization has come up with its own narrative, which is embedded in the national psyche.
In the Christian Bible: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep."
The Chinese has a more vibrant beginning. Pangu, the Chinese Adam, resides in an egg-like structure. Finding the enveloping darkness intolerable, he hacked away at his environs, creating heaven and earth.
Aeons after, the four pillars supporting the heaven gave in following a scuffle between the Spirit of Water and the Spirit of Fire. The goddess Nuwa set to patch the holes in the heaven with stone blocks in five colors.
One disgruntled block of stone left unused inspired "The Story of the Stone," or "The Dream of Red Mansions," the greatest Chinese novel.
These stories – and many more – are told in a wide array of artistic forms intended to glorify the fountainhead of a civilization that is at once original and independent, as a part of state-sponsored cultural project started in 2015.
Covering 5,000 square meters in floor space, the exhibition "Myths & Legends of China and The Ages of Chaos and Heroes" features 76 themed art products deemed the most impressive results of the cultural creation and dissemination project on Chinese "genesis." It is chiefly locally based but also involves some of the most brilliant Chinese artists from all over the country.
The show does justice to the creativity of Chinese people, as it moves from the very beginning to the mythological ages, and then to the making of the Chinese nation, testifying to the vigor, resilience and strenuous nature of the Chinese people, in a wide array of art forms: picture-story books, cinematic and video products, stage performances, and academic publications.
The first genealogical tree of the heroic figures in China' primordial past will also be made public.
Date: Through January 8, 10am-6pm, except Mondays
Venue: China Art Museum, Shanghai
Address: 205 Shangnan Rd, Pudong