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Oracle Bone Script Art Exhibition

Event information

Oracle bone inscriptions - the source of Chinese characters - are the lifeblood of esteemed traditional Chinese culture, and present a captivating entry point for delving into the depths of the Chinese cultural heritage.

The script serves as a medium for previous generations to impart their wisdom, enabling future generations to recognise and comprehend the past.

The 'Spirits on Turtle Shells and Cattle Bones: Oracle Bone Script Art Exhibition' introduces oracle bone scripts through paintings. A notable attraction is China's first set of picture books, a product of a three-year collaboration among experts in oracle bone scripts, illustrators, and graphic designers. These books showcase a diverse collection of over 70 oracle bone scripts, each deeply intertwined with our world and covering a wide range of topics: astronomy and geography, deities and ancestors, the miracles of life, human relationships, bodily organs, domestic scenes, fishing and hunting, feast and merriment, birds and beasts, and the animate world of plants.

Ten skilled artists from the Picture Book Studio of the Central Academy of Fine Arts have reinterpreted these ancient scripts using their distinctive visual language, allowing a modern audience to gaze through the eyes of our ancestors and catch a glimpse of the ancient landscape of China.

Humans share a profound understanding of visual imagery, which is reflected in the global presence of early rock paintings, including the remarkable and extensive collection housed in the Iziko South Africa Museum. Chinese writing exhibits a unique path of evolution, transitioning from images to inscribed symbols and culminating in oracle bone inscriptions. This exhibition faithfully recreates No. YH127 oracle bone pit at Yinxu (Yin Ruin), the cradle of oracle bone inscriptions, through artistic representations.

The exhibition also includes a showcase of the creative process behind the picture books, offering a glimpse into their making. The aim of this exhibition is to enlighten South African audiences about the origins of Chinese scripts, fostering a love and appreciation for these characters that are as captivating as paintings.

Date: 19 April to 5 May 2024

Time: 10am to 5pm daily

Price: free

Venue address: Learning Centre, Groot Constantia, Cape Town

Wheelchair accessibility: Unknown

Tel: 079 280 4410


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