Marco Polo Commemorations Deepen Sino-Italian Cultural Exchanges

 March 12, 2024
This photo taken on Feb. 13, 2024 shows a scene of a water light show entitled "Unknown Lands: Marco Polo's Fantastic Journey" in Venice, Italy. [Xinhua/Li Jing]


A series of cultural events are held in Italy this year to commemorate Marco Polo, the 13th-century explorer who traveled along the ancient Silk Road to China.

TURIN, Italy, March 11 (Xinhua) — Italians and Chinese are coming together to remember Marco Polo and his trailblazing journey along the ancient Silk Road over seven centuries ago, through a series of cultural events.

Commemorative activities have been organized in several Italian cities since the beginning of this year to mark the 700th anniversary of the famous traveler's death.

An art exhibition themed "Marco Polo: Art and Discovery" opened on Friday at the MIIT Museum in the northern Italian city of Turin, to showcase artworks by 35 Chinese and Italian artists and art groups.

The exhibition, featuring painting, printmaking, sculpture, video and photography, will run until March 21.

Its curator Fei Xinyao said the artworks portrayed the stories of China through Western artistic techniques, just as Marco Polo did back in his time, documenting ancient China through Italian eyes.

A man views exhibits at an art exhibition entitled "Marco Polo: Art and Discovery" at the MIIT Museum in Turin, Italy, March 8, 2024. [Xinhua/Li Jing]


"Through the exhibition, we also hope to show the world the charm of contemporary Chinese art," Fei added.

Guido Folco, director of MIIT Museum, said cultural exchanges between the two countries are "mutually beneficial." The museum will organize similar exhibitions in the future, he said, as "the Italians are very interested in contemporary Chinese art."

Last month, a water light show themed "Unknown Lands: Marco Polo's Fantastic Journey" was staged in northern Italy's famous lagoon city Venice.

Organized by the Municipality of Venice and the national committee for the 700th anniversary of the death of Marco Polo, the show told the story of Marco Polo's 24-year journey to the Orient with fountains, lights, projections and the performances of actors.

As one of the main events of the 2024 Venice Carnival, the 30-minute water light show was held twice a day during 12 days, with an average audience of 1,500 people for each show, drawing a large number of Venice's local residents as well as tourists.

People are seen at an art exhibition entitled "Marco Polo: Art and Discovery" at the MIIT Museum in Turin, Italy, March 8, 2024. [Xinhua/Li Jing]


The Venice Carnival, themed "To the East. The Extraordinary Journey of Marco Polo," ran from Jan. 28 to Feb. 13. On the last day of the annual event, a show of Hanfu, the traditional attire of ethnic-majority Han Chinese, was seen in the finale of the colorful parade. A group of 22 Italian and Chinese volunteers wearing Hanfu participated in a parade at the Piazza San Marco in the city center.

The clothes, directly transported from the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, were themed after the Han, Tang, and Song dynasties and displayed the traditional silk culture and millennium-long changes of Chinese traditional costumes.

Suzhou, dubbed "the Venice of the East" by Marco Polo in the 13th century, became a sister city of Venice in 1980. The Hanfu show is also a tribute to Marco Polo.

"Today, we celebrate a friendship that has lasted for 700 years," Venice City Councillor Paola Mar said at the event, adding that Hanfu performances "strengthen the ties between our city and China."

Laura Fincato, a veteran Italian politician and honorary citizen of Suzhou, expressed hope that the two countries can sustain their mutual understanding and respect.

An Italian volunteer displays Hanfu, the traditional attire of Han Chinese, during the Venice Carnival at the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy, Feb. 13, 2024. [Xinhua/Li Jing]


(Source: Xinhua)


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