A Living 12th-Century Painting

Imagine if a painting of a city in Renaissance Europe came alive. That’s what the Chinese have done — animated a famous 12th century Chinese painting of a bustling scene by a river.
Watch this video! You’ll be amazed….
Alexandra A. Seno reports for the Wall St. Journal, Nov 12, 2010, that “River of Wisdom” is the high-tech animation based on a famous 12th century 16.4 ft. long ink-on-silk scroll painting by Song Dynasty master Zhang Zeduan, “Qingming Shanghe Du” (Along the River at the Qingming Festival). The scroll was once considered too special to be viewed by anyone but the Emperor and the most important members of his court.
The scroll captured life in 12th-century China. With a cast of nearly 1,000 people, it presents a trading town flourishing under a strong imperial government, and records the cutting-edge advances being made in industries such as bridge-building and boat-making.
The animated scroll, “River of Wisdom,” was a huge draw at the World Expo in Shanghai, attracting millions to the China Pavilion. A version of the show in Hong Kong (same video and technology, but different installation) — at a cost of 18 million Hong Kong dollars (US$2.3 million) — was the hottest cultural event of the year in the city, with all 900,000-plus tickets quickly snapped up.
In Hong Kong, visitors pay HK$10 a ticket to spend an hour in the massive hall where a giant undulating screen — 394 ft. long, 21 ft. high–plays a four-minute video depicting “Qingming” scenes that stretch over a day and night: Boats and animals move, traders walk about, small children bounce around. According to the Hong Kong government, 11 sessions play daily, each to a capacity crowd of 3,500 — that’s 38,500 people a day!

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lowtechgrannie lowtechgrannie
8 years ago

Amazing! They captured every detail perfectly, even the flag gently waving in the breeze was just right!

8 years ago

How wonderful that is. And some of the music made me weep.