The exhibition “Paddling for A Thousand Miles: A Cultural Exhibition of the Grand Canal”, hosted by the National Museum of China, the Capital Museum, the Tianjin Museum and the Hebei Museum, was opened to public on November 1. This is another large-scale cultural exhibition launched by the NMC after “Testifying the History and Benefiting Today: A Cultural Exhibition on Oracle Bone Inscriptions”, “Through the Ages: A Cultural Exhibition on A Dream in Red Mansions” and “High Mountains, Broad Paths: An Exhibition on the Confucian Culture.” It was as well another attempt to demonstrate the fine traditional Chinese culture.

This exhibition is divided into five parts, namely, “Connecting north and south for a millennium”, “Benefiting the nation through cargo transport”, “A thousand vessels drawn forth by teams of boatmen”, “An engineering feat that shocked the world”, and “Cultural prosperity born from the canal.” A total of 170 objects are exhibited, supplemented by multiple digital images and interactive projects, systematically displaying the excavation history, navigation functions, water transportation management, engineering technology, and intangible cultural heritage of the Grand Canal.Exhibits include both the NMC’s collections and other cultural relics related to the Grand Canal culture, such as the Complete Map of the Grand Canal in Ming Dynasty that embodies the watercourses, Panoramic Picture of Supervision and Transportation of Luhe River that manifests the prosperous water transport, Gao Ming Regulating Rivers and Watercourses that presents watercourse governance, Overview of Water Control that reflects hydro-technical achievements, and Music Band in A Procession in Front of the Tianhou Palace in Tianjin that recordsthe Matsu belief. They are all rare and important collections of the NMC, together with other heavyweights like the Map of Water Transportation collected in Tianjin Museum, the “Fan with Secret Symbols for Commissariat Brokers” and the Map of Riverhead of the Grand Canal collected in Tongzhou Museum, and the gilt-bronze beast heads and jade scepter unearthed in the Tomb of Emperor Yang of Sui collected in Yangzhou Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, etc.

For thousands of years, the Grand Canal has flowed day and night through the long river of history to the present day, mirroring the endless surge of Chinese culture. This strong vitality has become an important cultural gene of the Chinese nation supporting its perpetual prosperity. We sincerely hope that this exhibition can guide audiences to gain an in-depth understanding of the Grand Canal and its culture, and recognize the historical experience of the Chinese nation in creating a great civilization and a better life through diligence and wisdom.We also hope that all sons and daughters of the Chinese nation can draw mental strength from the exhibition, enhance confidence and thesense of pride, forge stronger bonds of attachment, and contribute more to realizing the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The exhibition is in N1 and N2 halls and will last four months.