pakistan and china collaborate to promote tourism through gandhara art exhibition, al sadat marketing

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Gandhara Heritage Along the Silk Road: Pak-china Joint Exhibition

The Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua dian) in the Palace Museum hosted the opening ceremony of the “Gandhara Heritage along the Silk Road: A Pakistan-China Joint Exhibition” on March 15, 2023. The exhibition’s launch was announced by Hu Heping, China’s minister of culture and tourism. The opening ceremony featured speeches from the Pakistani ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque, Fareena Mazhar, federal secretary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s National Heritage and Culture Division, Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, and Yang Xun, vice chairman and general manager of the Glorious Sun Group and chairman of Jeanswest International (Hong Kong) Limited.

Read More: Gandhara Faith | Ramesh’s Efforts in Promoting Religious Tourism

The Palace Museum’s deputy director and Party secretary Du Haijiang served as the event’s master of ceremonies. About 200 people were invited to the exhibition’s opening ceremony, in addition to Nong Rong, China’s assistant minister of foreign affairs, Du Zhanyuan, president of China International Communications Group, Xie Bing, deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, Sha Zukang, a former under-secretary-general of the United Nations, Jia Deyong, secretary-general of the International Confucian Association, and Zheng Xinmiao, a former vice minister.

Read More: A Gateway to Religious Tourism Fostering Interfaith Connections

The Palace Museum and the Department of Archaeology and Museums of the National Heritage and Culture Division of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan jointly organised the Gandhara art exhibition, which is currently the largest of its sort to be staged in China. The exhibition, whose planning started in 2019, was put to the test by the COVID-19 pandemic and had to repeatedly push back its launch. 

The project was endorsed by the leaders of both nations and was included twice in the Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on February 6 and November 2, 2022, respectively. To ensure the exhibition’s successful opening, the Palace Museum collaborated with the Department of Archaeology and Museums of the National Heritage and Culture Division of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and other supporting museums.

Read More: Million of Buddhist Tourists Desire to Explore Gandhara Heritage

A total of 203 artifacts are on display in the exhibition, including 30 from the Palace Museum and 173 from Pakistan. The seven institutions that house the Pakistani artifacts are: National Museum of Pakistan; Taxila Museum; Peshawar Museum; Islamabad Museum; Dir Museum; Swat Museum; and Hund Museum. Most of these artifacts, which date from the second century BCE to the tenth century CE, were discovered during archaeological excavations. 

The exhibition features a variety of well-known Gandhara stone carvings, including early Buddhist bodhisattva sculptures, Buddha stories, Jataka tales, and stupa architectural elements, along with gold and silver ware and jewellery, illuminating the various styles and distinctive charm of Gandhara art as well as the historical context of multicultural fusion. The 30 artifacts from the Palace Museum were mainly transported from the ancient Gandhara region to the western Tibet Autonomous Region of China via art hubs on the plateau along the Silk Road, like Swat and Kashmir. 

Read More: Gandhara Tourism | Northern Territories of Pakistan

The ancient Guge Kingdom’s gold and copper sculpture techniques and art were greatly influenced by these artifacts, which attests to the long history of substantial cultural and artistic interactions between China and Pakistan.

The southernmost portion of the Hindu Kush and Karakoram Mountains, which served as a key junction connecting the South Asian subcontinent with the Silk Road, is where the majority of the ancient Gandhara archaeological monuments are located. This area served as a nexus for the civilizations of the Mediterranean, Iran, the Central Asian steppe, and India, where various cultures collided to create vibrant and opulent civilizations.

“Land of Fragrance: The Birth of Gandhara Civilization under Multiculturalism,” “The Splendour of Gandhara Art,” and “The Echoes of Gandhara Art” are the three divisions of the exhibition. The exhibition highlights the creative appeal and influence of Gandhara culture from the standpoint of the evolution of ancient Gandhara civilization.

The exhibition “Gandhara Heritage along the Silk Road: A Pakistan-China Joint Exhibition” is currently showing in the Palace Museum’s Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua dian). The duration is till June 15, 2023. For guests with tickets to the Palace Museum, the display is free. Through the Palace Museum’s WeChat mini-program, guests should make a real-name reservation.

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