The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Features

June 16, 2013

Symbolic images | Exhibit will feature banners celebrating legends, customs of China

LORETTO — East will come West for the first time in a new exhibition at St. Francis University in Loretto.

“Stories Joyfully Embroidered: Shaanxi Folk Textiles from Northern China” will be on display from June 28 through Oct. 12 at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto.

The exhibition features contemporary fabric banners that were originally shown at Beijing’s National Museum of China in the mid-1990s.

Showing the exhibit in Loretto will mark the first time the collection has been made available to western audiences.

After its initial showing in China, a private collector from Pittsburgh purchased the collection and brought it to the United States.

SAMA will be the first museum to show these works to American audiences.

“This is an exceptional opportunity to see a type of art that is rarely seen outside China,” said Scott Diamond, curator for visual arts at SAMA.

“We are fortunate to be able to show it here at SAMA and feel confident that its energy and color will appeal to just about anybody, regardless of their cultural background.”

The large and colorful banners belong to a rich folk tradition celebrating the legends and customs of ancient China.

Subjects include depictions of foundational folk heroes such as Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, and deity figures, including Nuwa, the half-human, half-dragon goddess who created the first man and woman.

Other themes will feature symbolic images of longevity, good fortune and many children, as well as cheerful scenes of life.

Together, the works will provide an overview of Chinese folk culture that can be viewed as fascinating and delightfully uplifting.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

The exhibition coincides with the museum’s upcoming “Monuments & Masterpieces” trip to China, scheduled for Oct. 3-13.

The trip will provide guests with an opportunity to visit some of the most popular        destinations in China, such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China and the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum.

On display

What: “Stories Joyfully Embroidered: Shaanxi Folk Textiles from Northern China.”

When: June 28 through Oct. 12.

Where: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto, on the campus of St. Francis University.

Information: 472-3920 or www.sama-art.org.

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