China National Silk Museum opens “Lyon in the 18th Century” exhibition in Hangzhou

HANGZHOU, China, June 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — On June 7, 2024, Dr. Ji Xiaofen, Director of the China National Silk Museum, and Ms. Léa Herlet, representative of the Musées Gadagne (Musée d’Histoire de Lyon), France together with other guests co-launched a new exhibition — “Lyon in the 18th century: the Prosperity of the Silk Capital in the Age of Enlightenment” — running from June 7 to September 6, 2024, in Hangzhou, jointly curated by the China National Silk Museum and the Musées Gadagne (Musée d’Histoire de Lyon), France.

Audience visiting the “Lyon in the 18th Century” exhibition

The exhibition is divided into two sections: “Lyon city in the 18th century” and “the Great Lyonnais Silk”, presenting 36 sets/pieces of architectural models, silk fabrics, clothing, portraits and ceramics. The exhibition illustrates France’s socio-economic thoughts and fashion advancements. It also highlights cultural exchanges between China and the West, featuring Chinese elements in Western painting and clothing.

Through this exhibition, the Chinese audience can gain a deeper understanding of the love that the Hungarian aristocracy of the 16th and 17th centuries had for silk, jewelry and a decadent lifestyle. Although silk originates from China, the beauty and exquisite craftsmanship of silk can be widely seen along the Silk Road and thus appreciated and shared by Eastern and Western cultures alike.

The cultural exchanges between China and France have a long history. As early as the end of the 17th century, Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty and King Louis XIV of France began exchanging books and gifts. During the Kangxi and Qianlong periods, French missionaries introduced China to France through letters and other means, sparking a “China fever” in French society. The French society, from the courts to the public, was fascinated by Chinese culture, and the influence of Chinese culture in France was incomparable to that of other European countries. It is against this background that the exchange of Chinese and French silk culture has been developing for centuries.

During the opening ceremony, the China National Silk Museum also held the press conference for the 2024 Silk Road Week which is going to be launched on June 19 with the theme of “The Silk Roads: Roads Connect, Civilizations Blossom”. This year the guest country will be France, so as well as the silk exhibition, China National Silk Museum will also bring a silk culture and costume exhibition to France in October. After the opening ceremony, Ms. Zhu Yao, dressed like a lady of the 18th century, gave a guided tour of the exhibition to the attending media. 

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