China : One Hundred Treasures


"China: One Hundred Treasures" at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, is the first exhibition of cultural relics from the People's Republic of China ever to be held in Israel. It is organized by the National Museum of Chinese History in Beijing and Art Exhibitions China - the culmination of a cultural dialogue which began when diplomatic relations were established between China and Israel in 1992. For the Israeli public it offers the first opportunity to become acquainted at close range with the length and breadth of China's artistic legacy through work of art, each one a masterpiece of its kind.

Choosing one hundred objects from such a vast treasure trove was a daunting challenge. This was met thanks to the invaluable cooperation of our Chinese colleagues, who understood so well what the exhibition hoped to accomplish. We chose objects that were exciting to look at and intriguing to contemplate for the insights they offered into the lives, thoughts, and aesthetic skills of the people who created them and for whom they were created. Of surpassing beauty, which transcends both time and place, the works in this exhibition are milestones along a path that takes the viewer on a cultural journey into China's past.

A complex exhibition of this nature could not have been realized without the help of many people.

We are very grateful to our colleagues in China who helped us overcome all difficulties on the way to bringing this effort to fruition, in particular Dr. Yang Yang, Chen Lie, Zhang Jianxin, Qian Wei, and Chen Xiaocheng. Special thanks are due to Professor Kong Xiangxing, Director of Art Exhibitions China, for his illuminating introduction to the catalogue, and all others who contributed texts to the catalogue.

We are greatly indebted to those who wholeheartedly endorsed this exhibition: the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Tel Aviv, Ambassador Pan Zhanlin, former Counselor Zhang Ming, Counselor Li Qiangmin and Cultural Attache Yan Xiangdong.

Israel's Ambassador to China, Yitzhak Shelef, and Cultural Attache at the Embassy of Israel in Beijing, Ran Gidor, provided valuable support.

I am beholden to Dr. Gideon Shelach of the Hebrew University for reading the text and offering his pertinent remarks.

Sincere thanks are due to many colleagues in the museum who helped in word and deed and gave much-needed encouragement, particularly the following:

Anat Turbowicz, my curatorial assistant, for her valuable help in all stages of the project; Dr. Iris Fishhof, Director of Curatorial Services, who helped coordinate the project; Nirit Zur, Head of the Publications Department, for her advice; Yael Bamberger, who, with poise and patience, designed the handsome catalogue; Malka Jagendorf, who grasped my fleeting thoughts and turned them into sound English; Tami Michaeli, whose love of the Hebrew language is so evident in her translation; Lillian Cohen, who copyedited the text, and Yael Golan, who provided technical assistance. Halina Hamou, Head of the Exhibition Design Department, outdid herself in the splendid display, with the help of Ronit Cernika.

I thank Dafna Lapidot, Head of Exhibition and Collection Management, for her efficient handing of contracts and transport arrangements; thanks also to Henk van Doornik, Shipping Officer; Dalia Angel, Exhibition Budget and Insurance Officer; Rafi Radovan, Technical Assistant, and David Bigelajzen, Head of Restoration Laboratories, who made all the condition reports. Thanks also to Pesach Ruder, Head of Technical Services, and his professional staff, including the art handlers Artur Avakov and Dan Divinsky

Thanks as well to Manny Gertler, Chief Security Officer, and his deputy, Jacob Abouhassira; Tsippi Suesskind, Director of the Israeli Friends, for her assistance; Dor Lin, Head of Marketing and Public Relations, and Rachel Schechter, Press Officer, and their staff.

Warm thanks are due to Suzanne Landau, Chief Curator of the Arts, for her constant support. My heartfelt thanks to James Snyder, Director of the Israel Museum, whose commitment and unstinting efforts were crucial to the success of the project.

And finally, I wish to salute Ruth Kahanoff, former Director of the North- and East-Asia Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presently Ambassador of Israel in New Zealand. Together we have seen many dreams come true.

Rebecca Bittenman
Curator, Marcel Lorber Department of Asian Art

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