CUHK’s national treasures first featured in the Forbidden City

“Rare Rubbings of the Song Dynasty” exhibition jointly presented by CUHK and the Palace

CUHK and the Palace Museum jointly present the exhibition “Rare Rubbings of the Song Dynasty” at the Palace Museum’s Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua Dian) from 16 September to 5 November 2023. The Palace Museum will also hold a conference about Song dynasty rubbings on 22-23 October 2023.

The exhibition and accompanying educational projects were supported by Bei Shan Tang Foundation, a non-profit organisation, Longfor Group and the Forbidden City Cultural Heritage Conservation Foundation. Featuring 40 precious rubbings of the Song dynasty and other select artworks from the collections of CUHK’s Art Museum and the Palace Museum, the exhibition showcases the history of collection, connoisseurship, research, and aesthetics of ancient rubbings. The exhibition comprises three sections: The Huashan Mountain Temple Stele (Xiyue Huashan Miaobei) and Stone Inscriptions in the Han and Tang Dynasties; Model Calligraphies of the Imperial Library from the Chunhua Era (Chunhua Ge Tie) and Song-Dynasty-engraved Model Calligraphies; Rubbings of The Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Gathering (Lanting Preface) from Grand Councilor You Si.

The exhibition “Rare Rubbings of the Song Dynasty” is held at the Palace Museum’s Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua Dian)

For this exhibition, all the masterpieces of rare rubbings from CUHK’s collection went on loan for the first time, including The Stele of Huashan Temple, Stele of the Preface to the Sacred Teaching, Record of the Altar of the Goddess Magu and Chunhua Ge Tie (Model Calligraphy of the Imperial Library from the Chunhua Era). These precious Song dynasty rubbings are the crystallisation of calligraphy art, engraving craftsmanship and printing technology. The precious collection can be traced back to as early as the Eastern Han dynasty and the Southern Song dynasty. As many of the original stelae or rubbings are missing or severely damaged, these are unique copies or rare editions. Donated by the late philanthropist Dr J.S. Lee to the Art Museum, this batch of rare rubbings of the Song dynasty was listed in the National Catalogue of Precious Ancient Books by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China which made CUHK the first institution in Hong Kong to be selected. Exhibiting these treasures alongside the collections of the Palace Museum demonstrates the Art Museum’s important role in Chinese cultural artefact collection and research. It also reflects the significance of Hong Kong’s precious relics and national role as a supper connector of Chinese culture.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, said, “For 60 years, CUHK has consistently placed great importance on traditional Chinese culture and humanistic values. We have upheld the mission to combine tradition with modernity, and to bring together China and the West. Under the National 14th Five-Year Plan, Hong Kong has been recognised as a global centre for international cultural exchange. Therefore, this is a significant moment for CUHK to further its mission in connecting China and the world. With a history of 52 years, CUHK’s Art Museum connects art and culture from the past to the present and fosters academic and cultural exchanges through exhibitions and research. This joint exhibition from the Palace Museum and CUHK holds great significance, and provides a remarkable opportunity to promote traditional Chinese culture, and expand our longstanding partnership.” Jointly edited by the Art Museum and the Palace Museum, the scholarly catalogue Rare Rubbings of the Song Dynasty will be published during the exhibition period.

Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony

Dr Wang Xudong, Director of the Palace Museum, also delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. He said, “This exhibition is not only a showcase of the close collaboration between The Palace Museum and CUHK, but also a promising beginning for even deeper cooperation in future. I sincerely hope that both parties can take this opportunity to tell the stories of cultural relics and Chinese culture, together embarking on a new chapter in history. Through this, we can further deepen cultural and artistic exchanges between the mainland and Hong Kong, promote cultural confidence and strength, inherit and promote the excellence of traditional Chinese culture, and contribute to exchange and mutual learning among civilisations.”

In addition, in celebration of the opening of the new Lo Kwee Seong Pavilion extension in 2024, the Art Museum will organise a special exhibition of the Rare Rubbings of the National Catalogue of Precious Ancient Books. This will allow Hong Kong audience to appreciate the beauty of rubbings and calligraphy.

Details of the “Rare Rubbings of the Song Dynasty” exhibition

Period: From 16 September 2023 to 5 November 2023 (Closed every Monday during the exhibition period, except 2 October 2023)
Venue: Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua Dian) of the Palace Museum, Beijing
Opening hours: Please visit the Palace Museum’s website
Enquiries: 3943-7416


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