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A Bridge between China and the Rest of the World


Recognising Cultural Heritage: RASBJ event at Nianhua Temple

Join us for an unique event combining a conversation about cultural heritage preservation with a rare opportunity to visit the heritage site of Nianhua Temple 拈花寺 where artists Jehanne de Biolley and Harrison Liu reside. Most of the structures are poorly maintained and occupied by a printing factory. Attendees will also preview 'Travels in Ancient Lands', an exhibition of etchings by panelist Celia Lyttelton who plans to sketch Nianhua Temple. Something warm to drink will be served!

(No smoking in the temple compound, please.)

RSVP at  thisevent@rasbj.org

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013

TIME: 10:00-12:30 noon

WHERE:  Google map here. Please meet at 10:00 AM at the gate of the “People’s University Printing Factory”人民大学印刷厂 at #61 Dashiqiao Hutong, Xicheng District, Beijing大石桥胡同61号西城区 to be brought to Jehanne’s courtyard. Note: street parking is minimal; by subway, go to Guloudajie, take exit G, once aboveground cross the road and go straight on Dashiquiao Hutong west to reach the gate at #61. If you get lost, or are late, please phone Alan at 13911700154.  Dress for chilly weather and hutong walking conditions!

HOW MUCH: RASBJ members 30 RMB, non-members 60 RMB (cash only)

ABOUT THE TEMPLE:  Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, Nianhua Temple is a city-level protected heritage site but languishes in a sad state of repair.  Where Zen Buddhist monks once chanted sutras, there is now a printing factory.  We’ll first visit the residence of Jehanne and Harrison, then take a short tour guided by Jehanne. We will wind up at their elegantly furnished gallery space which, 500 years ago, housed a library. Here five Chinese and Western panelists will discuss the challenges of cultural heritage preservation in fast-changing Beijing. (Stragglers can catch up at the gallery for the discussion, which is slated to begin at 11:00 AM). This event introduces the RASBJ’s culture series which continues in 2014.


  -- Dr. Zhang Guangwei is an architect and researcher who graduated from the University of Tokyo and  at present works in the field of design and heritage conservation at Tsinghua University.

-- RASBJ’s Matthew Hu has worked in cultural heritage preservation for the past 7 years, most recently in the reconstruction of the Shijia Hutong Museum which was funded by the Prince’s Charities Foundation (China).

--   Visiting British artist Celia Lyttelton is an established oil painter and printmaker. She will have arrived in Beijing Oct. 23 with plans to sketch scenes in Nianhua Temple and other important Beijing sites which she will eventually interpret as contemporary, limited-edition etchings. There will be an exhibition of her earlier etchings on British and Middle Eastern historical sites, entitled “Travels in Ancient Lands”, opening at the gallery after our event; RASBJ attendees will have an exclusive preview of her works and an invitation to the afternoon exhibition which begins at 2:00 PM.

-- Visiting Irish author, Jane Mulvagh is the author of Madresfield: The Real Brideshead, (Doubleday, 2008) http://theguardian.com/books/2008/jun/08/history and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-1024220/country-house-high-jinks.html  among other works, and worked for Vogue and The Financial Times. She will address the focal importance of this historic home – the model for Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” – where the Lygon family, the earls Beauchamp, have lived for a thousand years in a current example of living cultural heritage.

-- Designer Jehanne de Biolley -- along with her actor/filmmaker husband Harrison Liu Linian and their family -- have lived in the Nianhua Temple compound for nearly 13 years. They seek to preserve the temple’s heritage and memory by inviting artists to document it.

 -- Melinda Liu, a U.S. foreign correspondent who has lived and worked in Beijing for nearly two decades, will moderate the discussion.

We hope to see you Oct. 27!

Request a detailed map of the area here.



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