The Yangtze River is cherished as an icon of the Chinese nation and a symbol of the Chinese civilization. For tens of millions of years, it has rushed down from the snowy Geladaindong Apex on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and wound through many provinces and regions, before reaching the sea and completing its journey. The world’s third-largest river, the Yangtze runs from west to east and converges with numerous tributaries, its banks dotted with busy ports and cities. It has nourished the survival and development of the Chinese nation with its continuous supply of rich soil and an ethos of openness. It connects China with the world, allowing the country to embrace the vast ocean.
The Yangtze River Basin has long been a fertile environment for raising talented individuals. For thousands of years, the people living here and the unique natural scenery have brought out literary brilliance from the mountains and rivers in the west to the water towns in the south. The Yangtze River Basin takes pride in its prominent historical figures, classic works of literature and art, and distinct lifestyles. The river, together with its unique cultural heritage and identity, has been a constant source of nourishment over the 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.
The rise and fall of the Yangtze River’s waters has always had a major impact on the national economy and the lives of the people. Today the Yangtze River Economic Belt that covers 11 provinces and municipalities in China contributes 45% of China's total GDP and boasts a population that accounts for nearly 40% of the national total. It has also become one of China's most important industrial belts. In the new era, the CPC Central Committee is placing increased emphasis on ecological civilization and on the protection of water resources, ecology, and environment. It has stated that the principle of “integrated conservation and no major development” stressed by General Secretary Xi Jinping should be comprehensively applied. The environment of the Yangtze River’s waters is being improved, while the development of an ecological Yangtze River still faces many challenges and major undertakings. In December 2020, the Yangtze River Protection Law was adopted.
To mark this historic moment, the National Museum of China and the China Three Gorges Corporation jointly present The Mighty Long River: Yangtze River Culture Exhibition. This exhibition focuses on related collections from the National Museum of China and showcases more than 300 sets of various objects that stand as representative evidence of the Yangtze River culture. The whole exhibition consists of five sections, namely, “The Eternal River”, “Journey of Civilization”, “Ancient Luminaries”, “The Golden Waterway”, and “Monumental Projects”. It offers a panoramic view of the history of the Yangtze River and the people, ecology, and projects along it, and demonstrates how the river contributed to the continuation of Chinese history and culture and the boosting of the people’s cultural confidence.
The ceaselessly surging Yangtze River and the Yellow River have raised the Chinese nation and nurtured the Chinese civilization. We hope that through this exhibition, the cultural connotations of the Yangtze River culture will be more deeply studied, and the Yangtze River culture will be better protected, inherited, and carried forward. We also hope that the story of the Yangtze River can be better understood by the public, from which they can draw spiritual strength and unify in creating a splendid scroll marking the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.