Ancient and modern: An up-to-date interpretation of 4th century BC poems

Shanghai Natural History Museum used dinosaur fossils and plant specimens to accompany a tribute show to Chu Ci poetry.
Ti Gong

An artist plays guqin, a seven-string zither at Shanghai Natural History Museum.

A modern interpretation of ancient poems was staged at the weekend at Shanghai Natural History Museum, with dinosaur fossils and plants being part of the show.

The two-hour event featured calligraphy, guqin — a seven-string zither and contemporary dance, among other art forms, aiming to provide a multimedia expression to “Chu Ci,” or “Songs of Chu,” an anthology of Chinese poetry compiled in the 4th century BC.

Plants are widely used in “Chu Ci,” so the natural history museum was considered the ideal place to present the show, said curator Zhou Lei, co-founder of the social organization Oriental Danology Institute.

“We write a play script based on Chu Ci poems. The museum’s great collection, from dinosaur fossils to plant specimens, is perfect to present these old poems."

He added, “We hope to revive the old culture, and bring the plants, exclusive to our archives, back to life.”

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