Museum

The interior of Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace. (iStock)

Blue and white porcelain in Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace Museum

Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai recalls his visit to Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace Museum some years ago where precious pieces of Chinese blue and white porcelain from the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties are housed. It was then that he understood why his scholar friends were adamant that a visit there was a pilgrimage to blue and white porcelain mecca.
A girl holding a national flag watches as her family chats, outside the Forbidden City during the Labour Day holiday in Beijing, China on 1 May 2021. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Not just a tech war: What China can do to better compete with the US and create a better world

An admirer of Chinese culture and of China’s warm and people-centred way of life, US academic Wu Guo says that China need not seek to win over the US in every field, not least in the high-tech domain. It actually has a powerful advantage that has been underutilised — a rich culture that goes back thousands of years and a way of life that nurtures bonds of community, kindness and civility. If those outside China see this softer side of China, surely they will be less hasty to cast the first stone?
Ai Weiwei in Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal, 3 March 2021. (Pedro Nunes/Reuters)

Do artworks need to be patriotic? Hong Kong politicians fight over Ai Weiwei's 'middle finger photograph'

In itself, a subversive artwork by Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei to be shown at Hong Kong’s new M+ museum may not have drawn such attention. But under the shadow of the national security law in Hong Kong and the looming chief executive election, everything is magnified a hundredfold.
Two works by fine art photographers John Clang (L) and Zhou Yang. (Courtesy of John Clang and Zhou Yang)

A dialogue with John Clang and Zhou Yang: Human relations, memories and the compassionate photographer

What do creatives have in common and how differently do they interpret and make sense of the world around them? A chat with Singaporean photographer John Clang and Chinese photographer Zhou Yang gives a glimpse of that exploration. Each photographer has his own approach: Clang takes an almost anthropological perspective by drawing inspiration from those around him, be they friends or complete strangers; Zhou delves into the camera of the mind — the memory — and uses it to tell larger stories about the past and present. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Wang Yiming speaks to the photographers in the first of several fireside chats put together to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
The spectacular light show staged during the Chinese Lantern Festival in 2019. (Xinhua)

Can a museum be over-commercialised?

Criticisms have been levelled at the Palace Museum’s heavy use of the institution’s cultural capital for commercial gains. Museum officials rationalise that government funding alone is not enough to keep them going; tasteful product lines and festive promotions are just some of their means of survival.