Doha: As part of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture, Silks from the Silk Road– Chinese Art of Silk opens today in Qatar Museums (QM) Gallery in Katara and will run until Monday, 9 May, 2016.
Presented by Qatar Museums under the leadership of its Chairperson,Her Excellency Shaikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, this exhibition reflects the rich artistry of Chinese silk in terms of art, techniques and fashion design over thousands of years.
In collaboration with Qatar Museums, the China National Silk Museum is bringing to Doha a range of ancient and modern Chinese silk treasures which demonstrate the artistry of the Chinese silk-making culture and industry.
This exhibition includes a 100 selected silk products and modern artistic works of silk garments, as well as other accompanying exhibits such as ceramic tea sets and tea works.
The exhibition explores four different themes, firstly, the material properties and diverse uses of silk, as well as the products created throughout history, secondly, the different techniques of silk production, traditional embroidery, ornamental brocading, the Kesi weaving technique, silk painting, and new silk design concepts, thirdly, the art of silk, including the new digital textile technology and the integration of traditional weaving and dyeing techniques, and finally, the role of Zhang Qian, a Chinese official and diplomat who played a key role in opening China to commercial trade in the 2nd century BCE, by setting up the Silk Road.
The exhibition provides insight into the Silk Road, which was a bridge for economic and cultural exchange between East and West over 2,000 years ago.
Mulberry silk weaving technology spread from China to the rest of the world through this trading route.
Silks from the Silk Road– Chinese Art of Silk maps out the history of silk and its cultural significance over thousands of years, and also allows visitors to experience the charm of contemporary Chinese silk.
Mohammed Al Othman, Public and International Relations Director at Qatar Museums said, "This vibrant exhibition is designed to enhance the mutual understanding between the people of Qatar and China,and we are confident that this exhibition will resonate strongly with local audiences, given the significance of silk throughout the history and culture of Qatar.
"As the second major exhibition of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture,this will support the cultural exchange and dialogue between the two countries through different forms of art,which will challenge stereotypes, break down barriers between cultures, and open minds."
Several public programmes have recently been held to engage with local audiences prior to the launch of the exhibition.
This included a talk by curator Xue Yan, from the China National Silk Museum in Zhejiang, that explored Chinese silk on the Silk Road from the 10th to the 14th century throughout the period of the Liao, Song, Jin and Yuan dynasties,during which time Chinese fashions changed dramatically.
A number of interactive tie-dying workshops were also held for adults and families.
Following the successful launch of Cai Guo-Qiang at Al Riwaq Gallery, Silks from the Silk Road– Chinese Art of Silk is another major highlight of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture, an initiative developed to create sustainable platforms for collaboration and cultural exchange between cultures, lasting long after the Years of Culture themselves.
The bilateral Years of Culture were started under the guidance of Her Excellency Shaikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in 2012 and designed to take Qatar to the world and bring the world to Qatar.
Since it began, the Qatar Year of Culture programme has included Qatar Japan 2012, Qatar UK 2013, Qatar Brazil 2014, Qatar Turkey 2015 and now Qatar China 2016.