Grand Finale of Robert van Gulik and Chinese Culture Successfully Concluded
On 10 April, the Grand Finale of Robert van Gulik and Chinese Culture – Refined Enjoyment of Elegant Leisure came to a successful conclusion. The event, jointly organised with The Royal Asian Art Society in the Netherlands (KVVAK), featured two parts: the first half was dedicated to the presentation and discussion of Robert van Gulik’s life as an artist and art collector mirroring the Chinese Literati taste, while the second half featured an online screening of the documentary On the Track of Robert van Gulik and a QA session with the director. More than 250 friends and lovers of Robert van Gulik and Chinese culture from all over the Netherlands participated in the event.To get more chinese culture news, you can visit shine news official website.
In his opening speech, Mr Pieter Kappers, Chairman of The Royal Asian Art Society in the Netherlands (KVVAK), began by briefly reviewing the Young Scholars Symposium hosted by the Association on the 9th, and he remarked: " Today we are very proud to be partner with China Cultural Center, shedding new light and focusing on the genius of van Gulik. Through today’s programme we’ll celebrate Robert van Gulik, but also pave the way for a wider cultural dialogue between China and the Netherlands."
Mr. Huang Hongchang, Director of The Hague Chinese Cultural Centre, expressed his gratitude in his opening speech to the partners who assisted the exhibition, among them Mr. Fei Yuliang, President of the European Chinese Collectors Association and a member of KVVAK, who loaned five items to the exhibition, and Mr. Fei also then shared with the audience the story of these five items, and his respect for Rober van Gulik’s contribution in bridging two cultures.
Mr Willem van Gulik, Professor Emeritus of Leiden University and the oldest son of Robert van Gulik, recounted his father's lifelong love for the guqin in his keynote speech: Song of Wind in the Pines. He recalls that the famous guqin tune 'Flowing Water' was always the favourite of Robert van Gulik: "How many times have the tones of this classical piece resounded in his library at all the various places where he resided in the world? At all times and everywhere, the subdued tones of his antique lute at play mostly in the quiet solitude of night, would pauze at intervals, leaving open an imaginary sound between the movement of strings. He must have been fully aware of the fact that in this seemingly void lies the spiritual essence of the lute music, the silent space that evokes and responds to the states of mind of both player and listener. So, if one were to ask, ‘what are the most difficult parts in playing the lute’, the answer would be: ‘those parts where no sound is heard’.”
Following Willem van Gulik's talk, Dr. Cheng Yu, founder of the London Yulan Qin Society, played the famous Guqin piece 'Flowing Water' on the Guqin once owned by Robert van Gulik. The audience was immersed in the deep and subdued tones of the instrument, as if experiencing for themselves the spirit and lifestyle of Robert van Gulik and the ancient Chinese literati.
The event concluded with the host, Ms Rosalien, saying, " We hope this afternoon has inspired you to continue to explore the rich universe of Van Gulik, Chinese culture and the literati taste. Please keep following us for more Asian art journeys." She concludes by paraphrasing a quote from Robert van Gulik in his book The Lore of the Chinese Lute: An Essay in Ch'in Ideology: