The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Ghosts of China's past haunt former capital Nanjing
This picture taken on September 4, 2019 shows a man walking past the oil painting "Seizing of the Presidential Palace " by Chen Yifei at a memorial commemorating the 1949 Yangtze River crossing campaign in Nanjing, China's Jiangsu province. The eastern city of Nanjing contains vestiges of China's past that represent an inconvenient truth for the government today: the Chinese world has not always revolved around the Communists and Beijing. STR / AFP.

NANJING (AFP).- The eastern city of Nanjing contains vestiges of China's past that represent an inconvenient truth for the government today: the Chinese world has not always revolved around the Communists and Beijing.

China is preparing for grand celebrations next month to mark 70 years since Mao Zedong founded the Communist government based in the northern capital.

But Nanjing locals still remember when Mao's Nationalist rivals controlled China from their city, and some hint at dismay over its lost stature.

"Nanjing was the capital of short-lived dynasties in history, and regimes died away quickly," Jiang Shaojian, a Nanjing resident, told an AFP journalist.

"It is cursed," he lamented.

The two cities have long vied for the mantle of national capital, which is suggested in the very names: Beijing means "northern capital", while Nanjing is "southern capital."

Nanjing periodically gained and lost bragging rights during China's long imperial history, most recently during the Ming dynasty when it was the seat of power from 1368-1421 and may have been the world's largest city of the time.

Following the 1911 overthrow of imperial rule led by Sun Yat-sen, a Chinese republic was founded, with Nanjing later made the capital by the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) -- sworn enemies of the Communists.

Under current President Xi Jinping, who has constructed a personality cult around his rule, depictions of past Chinese leaders and Communist rivals are downplayed or strictly controlled.

But in Nanjing, the reminders of former Nationalist presidents Sun and Chiang Kai-shek endure at the city's erstwhile Presidential Palace.

Awkward presence
The grounds, with its Baroque columns, arches, and other Western touches, are now a museum displaying Chiang's office desk and wall paintings of him in military regalia.

Nearby, tourists climb hundreds of steps up a mountainside covered in pine and cypress trees to the imposing Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, his final resting place.

Sun is, uniquely, revered both by the Communists and the Nationalists, who eventually fled across the Taiwan Straits in a Chinese political schism still yet to heal.

But Sun remains an awkward presence despite his image being seen throughout Nanjing.

He was a key figure in the republic who co-founded the Kuomintang party, but China gets around this by playing up his revolutionary and patriotic bona fides.

Asked about this ungainly juxtaposition, a tour guide at the mausoleum swatted the question aside with practiced ease.

"Sun promoted national unification because of his unbiased political ideals. It doesn't matter that he was a founder of the Kuomintang," the guide said.

"He would definitely side with the Communists in regards to cross-strait ties with Taiwan," he added, repeating a claim advanced by the Communist Party.

Taiwan has been a de facto sovereign nation since the end of a civil war in 1949, but China still views the island as its territory awaiting reunification.

Some scholars and overseas Chinese, however, say the cosmopolitan, Christian, republican physician would hardly be a supporter of the Communist Party today.

But Anson Luo, a 36-year-old businessman from Sun's home province of Guangdong in southern China, dismisses those doubters.

"If there was no Sun, China would have wandered in the darkness for many years," Luo said.

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

September 28, 2019

Antony Gormley's most significant show in the UK for over a decade opens in London

Zeit Contemporary Art presents an online exhibition devoted to the work of Eduardo Chillida

Record price for an Inverted Jenny unique centerline block of four

Hauser & Wirth opens the first solo exhibition in Greater China of Hans (Jean) Arp

Brazil artists fear LGBT shows doomed under Bolsonaro

Tacita Dean announced for Government Art Collection commission

Major exhibition of David Nash's work opens this autumn at Towner Eastbourne

The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt opens a major exhibition of works by Hannah Ryggen

Exhibition presents a selection of prints from Cowboy Kate & Other Stories by Sam Haskins

Ghosts of China's past haunt former capital Nanjing

Modern Art Oxford opens 'Kiki Smith: I am a Wanderer'

Peter Blum Gallery opens an exhibition of new paintings by John Zurier

Three recent video installations by Jennifer Steinkamp on view at Lehmann Maupin

Bonhams appoints Molly Ott Ambler as head of Impressionist & Modern Art for the Americas

Banksy's chimpanzee parliament goes under the hammer

Artist-scientist breathes new life into ancient fossils

Kent Monkman painting donated to the Winnipeg Art Gallery for the Community

First solo exhibition in London by artist Praneet Soi opens at The Mosaic Rooms

mumok opens exhibition of photographs by Heimrad Bäcker

Lee Ufan opens largest single outdoor sculpture project in the US

Henry Moore drawing and correspondence comes to light at Cheffins' Art & Design Sale

Bonhams NY Jewels sale led by a rare blue diamond ring by Van Cleef & Arpels

Signed Apollo 11 memorabilia heads to auction on Oct. 6 at L.A.'s Abell Auction Co.

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful