FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chinese Historical Society of America Museum
Phone: (415) 391-1188
Fax: (415) 391-1150
ANNOUNCING TWO BRAND NEW EXHIBITIONS “THE FORGOTTEN ART OF LION DANCE PUZZLES” AND “FROM MANCHU TO CHINA CHIC: THE EVOLUTION OF THE QIPAO”
MARCH 20, 2015 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA
The Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) is pleased to announce two new exhibitions, “The Forgotten Art of Lion Dance Puzzles” and “From Manchu to China Chic: the Evolution of the Qipao.” They were unveiled on Saturday, March 7th during our Lunar New Year celebration. People enjoying Lunar New Year festivities visited the museum to enjoy our new offerings.
“The Forgotten Art of Lion Dance Puzzles” is curated by Corey Chan and is based on his forthcoming book about the subject. These puzzles are physical and mental challenges reserved for special occasions, such as the opening of a new business or blessings for newly wedded couples. Chan says they are “entertaining performances which underline our universal human desires to live happier lives.”
Performed by lion dancers for centuries, this tradition is currently on a decline, making it a “forgotten art.” Lion dance puzzles take time and knowledge of martial arts, but younger generations are only being taught the competitive form of the dance. The exhibition is currently held at the Choy Gallery, featuring artful arrangements of lion dance puzzles using items such as oranges, vases, and bowls. “Kei Lun Lion Dancers Find New Meaning in Ancient Steps,” a KQED video plays on a loop, serving as an introduction to Chan and lion dancing.
“From Manchu to China Chic: the Evolution of the Qipao” is curated by Sally Yu Leung. The qipao (mandarin gown or cheongsam) has a hybrid design combining elements from Han Chinese, Manchu and Western clothing. The exhibition features dresses, old posters, and accessories on loan from private collections spanning 1890s to 2000s. Visitors will see the qipao’s evolution: from when it was fashionable to socialites, to being a symbol of a bourgeois lifestyle, eventually becoming a cultural icon. Stay tuned at www.chsa.org for exhibition dates of this three-part series.
CHSA Executive Director Sue Lee says that these exhibitions are not only points of fascination with our visitors, but is in keeping with our organization’s mission. “As stewards of historical preservation, it is our duty to promote historical and cultural aspects of Chinese traditions that are celebrated all over the world, but have lost sight of historical perspectives,” Lee said. “Our staff and curators worked tirelessly putting these two exhibitions together, and we’re proud to present them to the public.”
Visit CHSA Museum located at 965 Clay Street between Stockton and Powell Streets to view the exhibits.
Corey Chan is a lion dance enthusiast whose love for the art spans several decades. A native San Franciscan, Chan is part of a local group of lion/dragon dancers and martial artists called Kei Lun Martial Arts. His keen interest in the fading art of traditional lion dance puzzles has fueled KLMA’s effort to study, preserve, promote, and perform the art for current and future generations.
Sally Yu Leung is an independent lecturer, author and curator of Chinese decorative arts. From 1983–2000, she was a board member of the Chinese American International School. Since 2001, she has also assumed the role of Chinese culture and calligraphy instructor for Pixar Animation Studios. She is the consultant and chief designer of the Interior Cultural Enhancement Project for the International School of Beijing at Shunyi, China. In 2005 she was the recipient of the Woman Warrior Award in the Arts. From 1999–2009, she served as a commissioner for the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. In June 2012 she was listed in the Chinese Ministry of Culture’s Hall of Fame of those who contributed to the protection and preservation of Chinese cultural heritage.
The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum opened in its landmark Julia Morgan-designed Chinatown YWCA building in 2001. Founded in 1963, CHSA is the oldest organization in the country dedicated to the documentation, study, and presentation of Chinese American history. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational, public programming, CHSA promotes the contributions and legacy of Chinese in America.