The treasures of China


On Sunday, Sept. 23 an excited crowd gathered inside the foyer of THEMUSEUM in the heart of Downtown Kitchener for the opening ceremonies and Buddhist blessing of the brand new Treasures of China Exhibit.

Appearing for the first time in North America, the exhibit features 40 Dazu stone cave sculptures, some of which were carved over 1,500 years ago. They represent both Buddhist deities and Chinese characters.

The exhibit is supplemented by paintings created by modern artists done in different styles.

What the exhibit lacks in quantity (there are only two rooms of sculptures), it makes up for in quality, as the carvings are exquisite representations with incredible attention to detail.

The area in which the artifacts were excavated was named a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1999 and was barred to the public in 1980.

This exhibition is one of the best, if not the only way to see these unique and beautiful sculptures.

The opening ceremonies commenced with a dance from the Waterloo Region Chinese Community Association (WCCA). This was followed by a traditional Buddhist Blessing ceremony performed by members of the Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto, and included the playing of a large singing bowl and chime.

The audience was given programmes so they could chant along. Incense was burned and the ceremony concluded with a transfer of merit.

Many local dignitaries exchanged remarks, including Frank Boutzis, president treasurer and financial chair of THEMUSEUM, who acted as the the Master of Ceremonies. Julia, a DJ on the local Chinese radio station, translated his speech into Mandarin.

Boutzis introduced notable guests such as Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport, John Milloy, Kitchener-Centre’s MPP and Ken Seiling, regional chair for Waterloo.

Kitchener’s mayor Carl Zehr also spoke.

This was a private event, however THEMUSEUM board of directors hopes that the public will soon get a chance visit the exhibit, especially with the bustle of Oktoberfest.

Kitchener-Waterloo has a very large Chinese population and Zehr stated that this exhibit “will not only offer Canadians a chance to experience the diversity and depth of Chinese Culture, but it will also allow Chinese-Canadians the chance to engage with a part of their heritage.”

The exhibit runs until March 17, 2013.

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