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XMU exhibition halls: Hidden history

ICE    Public:ICE    Datetime:2012-5-31
Along with a thriving and lively cafe culture and university scene, XMU has a wealthy history exhibited in these halls lying hidden in plain sight between cobble stone and lush green leaves, recording her past and ethos.

Museum of Anthropology
XMU Museum of Anthropology is a well-known museum recognised by UNESCO and it is China´s first anthropology museum.
In the fall of 1926, Lu Xun held an exhibition of cultural relics at XMU and established a Cultural Exhibition Centre in the School of Chinese Studies. Lu Xun did not stick around long, but he´d gotten the ball rolling. In 1934, Professor Lin Huixiang initiated a Director´s Office for the Museum of Anthropology and in 1952 he donated all of his artifacts and books to the university. In the same year, the Ministry of Education of the PRC authorized XMU to establish the anthropological museum, which opened to the public in 1953 for the purposes of anthropological research, teaching and social education.
The museum has seven exhibition halls and one corridor of steles, 32 exhibition rooms, 4,575 sets of cultural relics, and 1,110 book collections, each made up of several volumes. The exhibition focuses on three main themes: the Genesis and the Evolution of Humankind, the Genesis and Evolution of Culture, and the National Relics Home and Abroad. The museum has 30 Southeast Chinese and Southeast Asian cultural exhibits wherein artifacts and relics from prehistoric to modern times are displayed.
The Hall of Genesis and the Evolution of Humankind displays a complete map of human evolution from early primates to modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) complete with restored models and fossils. The Hall features artifacts from the Stone Age, oracle bones, bronze artifacts, ancient currencies, porcelains, paintings, calligraphic works, weapons and sculptures. The Hall of National Relics Home and Abroad exhibits the cultural relics from both China and other countries, such as India, Australia and other Southeast Asian countries.
The museum also conducts research on the Neolithic Period in southeast China (mainly Fujian and Taiwan) and southeast Asia, early maritime history in Quanzhou (the beginning of the Maritime Silk Route), ancient kilns (Dehua was one of China´s key ancient porcelain centres), and ancient Chinese exports. In addition, the museum has also explored the relationships between the ancient Yue, She, Gaoshan, and S.E. nationalities and published Anthropological Research regarding the History of the She Nationality, the History of Gaoshan Nationality and Koxinga among others.

Lu Xun Memorial Hall
Beside the Museum of Anthropology is a statue of its founder, Lu Xun (born Zhou Shuren, 1881-1936), ´Father of Modern Chinese Literature´ and author of ´True Story of Ah Q´ and other modern classics. In 1952, XMU opened the Lu Xun Memorial Hall in his honour.
The memorial is on the second floor of the Jimei Building, where Lu Xun lived when he taught at XMU from 4th September, 1926 to 16th January, 1927. During XMU´ 90th anniversary, the memorial re-opened after a complete renovation. Presently, it has 5 exhibition rooms, which describe Lu Xun´s life and include collections of artifacts, works and photos.
The thematic exhibition of ´Lu Xun and Xu Guangpin´ in the third room distinguishes the XMU memorial from other Lu Xun Memorial halls throughout China. Two precious and unusual mementoes are exhibited here: an essay and a love postcard. While he was in Xiamen University, Lu Xun completed many famous works of literature, including the elegant essay: From Courtyard to Private Study. This essay is well known in China and was selected for Chinese middle school textbooks. The other thing that may greatly arouse your interests is a postcard Lu Xun mailed to his lover, Xu Guangping, in Guangzhou hundreds of miles away. This was the first time this postcard, which reflects the romantic love between Lu Xun and Xu Guangping was put on public display,.
On the postcard were two plain half-penny stamps with ´sail´ pictures. The stamps were issued by the post-office of the Kuo Mintang government, the then dominant Chinese government. Lu Xun wrote on the postcard in ink with a Chinese brush. With Lu Xun´s beautiful handwriting, this postcard is not only a relic left by a famous literary giant but also a precious work of calligraphy, especially the Chinese characters ´福建厦门大学鲁迅寄´. The calligraphy on Xiamen University´s seal is a reproduction of Lu Xun´s handwriting.
Besides the post card, Zhou Haiying, Lu Xun´s son, generously donated many of Lu Xun´s belongings to the memorial hall, including the duplicate manuscripts of Letters between Two: Correspondence Between Lu Xun and Xu Guangping, Lu Xun´s smoking pipe and knitting-yarns.

Lin Yutang Memorial Hall
The Lin Yutang Memorial Hall is located on the fourth floor of XMU library. While not very big, it is cozy and tranquil. When stepping into the hall, you´ll immediately be impressed by a modest size bust of Lin, with his sayings inscribed on one side of the wall.
´I have always thought that a university ought to be like a forest. There monkeys could do whatever, however they would like. They could seek nuts of all kinds from whatever trees they want. They could swing and jump among tree trunks in whatever way they want. By nature, they would know what nuts taste good and what nuts are eatable. This was how I relished the feast of fruits of all kinds in university.´
This memorial´s two most unusual and precious objects are a desk and a Lin Yutang stamp. The eye-catching old desk, though its edges worn completely smooth, was the one on which Mr. Lin completed many excellent essays. The sunshine filtering through the window, with its light shedding on the desk, looks as if it was recounting Lin´s stories at XMU.
The other thing that may draw your special attention is a stamp in honor of Lin Yutang. That stamp was issued by the Taiwan post-office on Lin Yutang´s 100th birthday (October 10, 1995). Co-incidentally, the XMU Lin Yutang memorial was set up on the very same day. The stamp bears an image of Lin, smiling softly.
In the hall, there are also extensive collections of his books, photos of his life and exhibition boards which vividly portray the major stages of his life story.
Lin was born in Longxi, Fujian province on October 10th, 1895. In 1919, he left for the U.S. to further his study at the Institute of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. In 1926, Lin returned to Xiamen with his family and became dean of the Liberal Arts Section and the interim library director of XMU. To help boost education in his hometown, he invited famous professors and scholars of the time to teach at the university. They included Lu Xun, Sun Fuyuan, Ku Chieh-kang, Chang Hsing-lang, Shen Chien-shih, and Luo Changpei. So many well-known professors taught at the time in XMU that it looked as if Peking University had moved to Xiamen.
When Lin passed away in March, 1976, at the age of 80, the New York Times obituary noted, ´Lin Yutang, poet, novelist, historian and philosopher, had no peer as an interpreter to Western minds of the customs, aspirations, fears and thoughts of his people and their country, China, the great and tragic land.´
The two literary giants, Lu Xun and Lin Yuntang, granted XMU an enduring and distinct legacy which has benefited successive generations of students who have followed in their footsteps and have, in turn, contributed to the intellectual and cultural richness of our campus.

XMU Chinese European Art Centre
XMU Chinese European Art Centre (CEAC) is located in the old historic part of the Siming district near the South Putuo temple in Xiamen. Established in 1999, the CEAC is the result of the cooperative efforts of XMU Art Professor Qin Jian and Ms. Ineke Gudmundsson from the Netherlands. The centre boasts studios, exhibitions, contemporary film festivals, concerts, lectures, workshops and an artists-in-residence program. Works by well respected European artists have included Teun Hock´s painted photographs (´stills of the theatre of life´), JCJ Vanderheyden´s ´fragments of reality,´ Pieter Holstein´s drawings, Marcel Kalksma´s handmade prints, Arni Gudmundsson´s sculptures, as well as the works of Chinese artists like Xie Lai, Wu Yiming and Wen Bin.
For more than twelve years, the CEAC has hosted and premiered international artists from all over the world and plays a central role in southeast China´s cultural landscape. It is widely known for its pioneering role in China as a non-commercial art space and the excellent guidance it provides for artists in conducting research and producing art.
In addition, the CEAC has built up an excellent network of factories, work sites and laboratories of all sizes, making it easy for artists to experiment and produce new work.
o Ceramics & porcelain
The unique porcelain village of De Hua, a two-hour drive from Xiamen, is famous for its white clay, Blanc de Chine or ´Chinese white´. The CEAC has a good relationship with De Hua porcelain factories and work sites so artists can experiment and produce ceramic and porcelain objects with the help of experienced technical assistants.
o Granite and marble
Xiamen is known for producing sculptures of all sizes in marble, granite, sandstone, basalt, quartz, travertine, limestone, and so forth. The CEAC´s technical advisor has worked with most of the local manufacturers and knows their specialties.
o Lacquer
Chinese lacquer is a natural varnish made from the sap of the lacquer tree. The city of Fuzhou, a two-hour drive from Xiamen, is well-known for bodiless lacquerware, one of the ´Three Treasures´ of Chinese arts and crafts.
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