A Chinese artist has created an updated version of the classic Song Dynasty painting “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” complete with many of modern China’s social problems and peculiarities. Unsurprisingly, it’s created something of a stir inside Chinese social media.
The 25-meter long photograph was created by artist Dai Xiang. CCTV reports that it touches upon some 40 recent social events. You want overzealous chengguan, over-privileged rich kids, or overt sex shops? They are all here, among the hustle and bustle along the river bank copied from the original painting. It’s essentially a contemporary China version of everyone’s favorite page in Highlights.
The work is on display at a photography festival in Lianzhou city, Guangdong Province for the next month. Dai says it took him two and a half years to complete at a cost of nearly 80,000 RMB and involves photographs from more than 1,000 people.
“I want to present thought-provoking topics to interact with the reality and that are based on the attitude of pushing the society forward,” Dai added.
Anyway, have fun scanning the image for all the social ills you can find: gutter oil, prostitution, and forced demolition, etc. Gotta find ’em all!
The original painting, “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” is attributed to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) artist Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145), and has been called China’s Mona Lisa (who also could use a makeover). It has been praised not just as art, but as a historical artifact that reveals the lives of the people residing in the capital Bianjing, today’s Kaifeng city in Henan Province, including all levels of society, rich and poor, along with their dress and architecture. Maybe, a millennium later, Dai’s work can serve the same purpose.
Here’s the original version in tattoo form.
by Alex Linder
[Images via CCTV & Weibo]