新的棉花新的布， 妈妈给我缝衣服 棉衣穿在我身上，妈妈脸上笑嘻嘻
Come May, visitors will be able to get up close with a variety of children’s clothing and accessories that are embellished with auspicious motifs at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall’s (SYSNMH) 10th special exhibition, titled Stitches of Love – Hidden Blessings in Children’s Clothing and Accessories (慈母手中线 – 儿童服饰里的祝福和寓意). Presented in collaboration with Guangzhou’s Memorial Museum of Generalissimo Sun Yat- sen’s Mansion, the exhibition is inspired by the love parents have for their children, and the integral role of children in Chinese society and culture. Stitches of Love will run from now till 4 March next year.
Exploring the use of symbolism in Chinese culture
Echoing a culture rich in symbolism during the late Qing to early Republican period, Stitches of Love displays 99 artefacts from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. These include children’s clothes, hats, ear muffs, bibs and shoes that feature an array of motifs based on traditions and beliefs that are derived from the natural world, history, literature and folklore. Many of these motifs seek to bestow good fortune, longevity and health on the young wearer, while others convey wishes for a successful career, male progeny and protection from harm.
Mr Alvin Ting, Senior Manager of SYSNMH, says: “Through our special exhibitions, we present our visitors with diverse and different aspects of Chinese culture. The Stitches of Love exhibition explores a side of our Chinese heritage that many would be familiar with – that of the Chinese language, values, and parental love. Not many would know how this is revealed through symbols and motifs, and we encourage visitors to uncover the many stories behind the use of motifs on children’s clothes through this exhibition. While admiring the beautiful pieces, we hope that visitors can also appreciate how parental love was expressed back then.”
The exhibition is divided into five sections, highlighting the variety and meanings of the symbols and motifs used.
The star piece of the exhibition is a two-metre long Qing Dynasty valance that depicts various scenes of “boys at play”, where each scene is symbolic of the traditional desire to raise sons who will attain success in the civil service examinations and bring glory to the family name. Typically used to adorn a wedding bed, it is an example of auspicious art that was used to bless a newly married couple with male heirs for the continuation of the family line.
The exhibition is complemented by three multimedia stations, providing visitors with a multi-layered, interactive experience. Visitors will be able to take a closer look at the intricate stitches, scenes and stories depicted on the ‘Hundred Boys at Play’ tapestry through a multimedia station that allows visitors to virtually zoom into, and “touch” the artefact. The experience continues with a digital photo booth for visitors to personalise photographs taken with stickers inspired by the artefacts, as well as an interactive kiosk that visitors can colour and personalise their own customised avatar, and see it come to live on screen.
Wan Qing Dumpling Festival 2017
In conjunction with the launch of the exhibition, SYSNMH held its annual Wan Qing Dumpling Festival 2017 over the weekends. It was an exciting weekend of offerings which included dumpling making sessions, craft workshops, outdoor movie screenings and evening music performances ranging from the traditional to the contemporary.