Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Along the River During the Qingming Festival

One of the highlight of the Shanghai Expo was the remake of a well known Chinese painting 'Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival' (清明上河图) by the famous Song Dynasty painter Zhang Zeduan. It is presented in the format of a long panoramic view as soon in many Chinese paintings except much longer. The scale of the original painting measured at 528 cm long and 24.8 cm wide, this new installation is about 30 times the original size. However this is no ordinary remake, keeping up with modern technology the entire painting is fully digitized with CGI animations giving the audience a multimedia experience of an ancient artwork. Not only that the scene also cycles through night and day. It is being currently shown in Hong Kong, it was such a hit all the tickets were quickly sold out.

The fascination with the painting is the depictions of a bustling city where civilians busily running errands in preparation for the Qingming festival and doing all sorts of daily activities. The painting is based on the capital city of the Song Dynasty Bianjing, which is today's Kaifeng.  Now if you integrate that with modern technology the whole picture just literally comes to life like an animation on canvas. The painting gives us the glimpse into the daily lives of civilians during the Song Dynasty, showing people from all walks of society and occupations as the scenes transcend from one end to another, through different sections of the city. There's also various farm animals working along side humans like ox pulling carts along the street. The details in it are just immaculate.

Official homepage

Here's a little video clip in the first half with some background info of the production:

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