The Grand Canal, built in the Spring and Autumn Period, is the oldest, longest and largest ancient artificial canal in the world. With a total length of more than 3,200 kilometers, it flows through eight provinces, runs through five of China’s main river basins, and spans more than 10 degrees of latitude. Throughout the more than 2,500 years since its excavation, the Grand Canal has played an important role in safeguarding national unity, boosting social and economic prosperity, and promoting cultural exchanges. As an important spiritual symbol of the Chinese nation, it also vividly records the continuity of the national bloodline from generation to generation and contains the Chinese people’s everlasting cultural genes and spiritual strength.
“An Exhibition of the Epic Scroll of China’s Grand Canal” is jointly held by the National Museum of China and the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, and organized by the Jiangsu Traditional Chinese Painting Institute. It aims at using ink painting as a medium to connect the ancient and modern, systematically telling the story of the Grand Canal, and carrying forward the everlasting Chinese spirit.
The Epic Scroll of China’s Grand Canal was jointly completed by more than 10 calligraphers and painters. They based their work on an in-depth study and sketchings of more than 20 cities and towns in three provinces and two cities along the waterway. Many revisions were made before this masterpiece was complete, a process which lasted for a year. The scroll is 3 meters high and 135 meters long and is divided into two volumes. The first volume, “Monumental Feats in Ancient China,” focuses on representing the long history and important value of the Grand Canal over its 2,500 years through four chapters, namely “Hegemons of the Spring and Autumn Period,” “Great Talent and Bold Vision,” “Connection of the Bian River” and “Unification of the Nation”; the second volume, “Brilliant Canto in the New Era,” mainly depicts the diversified scenery along the Grand Canal throughout the year and its new look since China’s reform and opening up through four chapters, namely “Auspicious Snow in the North,” “Crisp Air in Hebei and Shandong,” “Green Fields in the Jianghuai Region” and “Flower Rain in the Wuyue Region.” By integrating the distinctive characteristics of the times into the traditional scroll that features poetry, calligraphy, painting, seal cutting and other elements, it presents the beauty of artistic conception and embodies the consciousness of humanity in a manner that is both majestic and meticulous. Through the philosophy of unity in diversity, it fully expresses contemporary artists’ deep insight into and vivid interpretations of the Grand Canal, a great creation and valuable historical legacy of the Chinese nation.
We sincerely hope that audiences can appreciate the fascinating scenery of the Grand Canal, as well as the endless charm of its history and culture through this exhibition.