Marine life comes alive at Yuyuan Garden Malls


Children use an interactive screen to learn about the Hai Cuo Tu album at the "Marine Life in the Forbidden City" exhibition at Yuyuan Garden Malls on Friday.

Shanghai's Yuyuan Garden Malls in cooperation with the Palace Museum in Beijing have launch a multimedia exhibition about an album of marine life dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The "Marine Life in the Forbidden City" exhibition opened on Friday and will run through March 8 next year on the third floor of Huabao Tower in the malls in Huangpu District.

Over 30 exhibits, including paintings, animated films and multimedia installations, are based on the museum's Hai Cuo Tu, the album of marine varieties.

The album was painted and written by Qing Dynasty painter Nie Huang, who spent decades in China's coastal cities to paint 371 species of marine species in the album. It became the favorite bedtime reading of Emperor Qianlong (1711-99) who said the book satisfied his imagination of the ocean, according to the exhibition organizer.

The exhibition uses electronic and projection technologies to develop the hundreds of species in the album into a multimedia and interactive exhibition. Visitors can see copies of the original album, as well as touch screens to learn about of each of the species in the book, many of them endangered.

"The album may not be the most precious collection in the Palace Museum, but should be one of the most interesting books, especially to children," said Yan Hongbin, deputy curator of the museum.

Visitors observe an interactive exhibit about the Hai Cuo Tu album at the exhibition at Yuyuan Garden Malls on Friday.

Visitors pose at a site resembling the gates of the Forbidden City at the Yuyuan Garden Malls exhibition.

More collections, including albums of animals and birds, from the same series collected by the Emperor Qianlong, will be developed into similar exhibitions and put on display outside the museum, Yan said.

Yuyuan Garden Malls, the dining and shopping facilities near the historic garden, aims to develop the site which originated from a prosperous market of the City God Temple some 140 years ago, into a landmark of traditional Chinese culture and be on par with the museum in Beijing, according to Yuyuan Inc, the malls owner.

Comparisons were made during the lantern festival this year, when the malls and museum both presented lantern and night shows.

Yan said the malls had some 45 million visitors a year, compared with the Beijing museum's 20 million.

"The exhibition at the malls is expected to become an ideal promotion for the museum and traditional Chinese culture," Yan said at the exhibition's opening ceremony.

Artists spent seven months on research into the historical album, while animators spent another three months to turn the paintings into multimedia exhibits, said Yu Xiaoqin of exhibition curator Shanghai LinkA Exhibits.

After Shanghai, the multimedia show will be exhibited across China and may also be presented overseas, Yu said.

Children play with an interactive animation at the "Marine Life in the Forbidden City" exhibition.

Visitors pictured at the exhibition at Yuyuan Garden Malls on Friday.

Source: SHINE

Editor: Cai Wenjun

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