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Animated Version of Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival on display in Hong Kong for three weeks in November (with photo/video)

The Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee, announced today (October 11) that the Animated Version of Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival, the spectacular exhibition currently being shown at the China Pavilion of World Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo), will be displayed in Hong Kong at the Asia World-Expo, Hong Kong International Airport from November 9 to 29 this year.

Entitled "River of Wisdom - Animated Version of Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival" (Hong Kong exhibition), the exhibition will be jointly presented by the Shanghai Municipal People's Government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG), and co-organised by the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust will be the exclusive sponsor of the exhibition.

Speaking at a press conference, Mrs Fung said that Hong Kong people had a special fondness for the Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival. When the original masterpiece by Zhang Zeduan of the Song Dynasty was on loan from the Palace Museum for exhibition in the Hong Kong Museum of Art to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of HKSAR in 2007, it drew the greatest number of visitors recorded by the Hong Kong Museum of Art.

In the Shanghai Expo, the Animated Version of the Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival produced with modern multimedia technology has become the star exhibit.

Projected on a giant screen more than 120 metres long and six metres high, this version of the painting shows its details with animation including moving people, running water, various kinds of goods being displayed for sale, boat trackers shouting on the river and boats wending their ways forward. With a vivid, artificial river meandering through the lower part of the giant picture, the exhibition gives visitors a brand new experience and the illusion that they are in Bianjing, the capital of the Northern Song dynasty 900 years ago. The exhibition has received overwhelming response and compliments from both local and overseas visitors.

Mrs Fung said that in order to sustain Hong Kong people's interest in Chinese art and the enthusiasm generated by the Shanghai Expo, the LCSD approached the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination in mid-July and proposed bringing the Animated Version of Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival to Hong Kong for exhibition during the time when the China Pavilion would be closed for renovation in November. With tremendous support from the Shanghai Municipal People's Government and the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, the proposal can now be implemented.

The animated version of the painting is 30 times its original size. The lifelike presentation is created by sound and lighting effects. All the features of the original painting including its streets, boats and buildings will be retained, as well as its original colours and artistic styles of the painting. During a four-minute cycle representing one day and night, the sky in this dynamic picture will change colour according to rise and fall of celestial bodies. The Animated Version of the Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival can be considered as a masterpiece of fusion between innovative computer animation technology and Chinese culture.

This huge animated painting is called "River of Wisdom" because it depicts many cultural characteristics demonstrating the wisdom of the clever and hard-working Chinese who lived in ancient times. Apart from using this masterpiece created by painter Zhang Zeduan of the Northern Song dynasty to describe bustling urban life in day and night during the golden age of the Song dynasty, the exhibition also utilises computer animations to introduce the wisdom of ancient Chinese architecture, culture and transport.

In planning for the exhibition, the LCSD aimed at enhancing its educational value. The exhibition's co-ordinator, the Hong Kong Science Museum, will use panels and artefacts to show the significance of the Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival in Chinese art and culture, the story of the Song dynasty, such as its landscape, people's daily life, achievements in science and technology, as well as the making of the animated version of the painting. Furthermore, there will be a series of public lectures during the exhibition period.

Mrs Fung stressed that it was a rare opportunity to have the star exhibit of the China Pavilion displayed in Hong Kong. She urged the public to not to miss the chance to purchase tickets and experience the stunning effects of the exhibition. She said she was confident that the exhibition would receive an overwhelming response from the Hong Kong people.

Also present at the press conference today were the Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges; the Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs in Shanghai, Mr Patrick Chan; the Chief Executive Officer of the AsiaWorld-Expo, Mr Allen Ha; and the Curator (Exhibit) of the Hong Kong Science Museum, Ms Karen Sit.

Mrs Fung said the AsiaWorld-Expo had offered tremendous support in providing its venues to facilitate the staging of the exhibition. LCSD has also obtained support from the MTR Corporation and other transportation organisations, which will provide visitors with convenient, fast and economical transportation to the exhibition venue. For example, visitors going to the AsiaWorld-Expo by taking Airport Express can purchase the same-day-return ticket at $48 at Hong Kong or Kowloon Station. They can also enjoy return-trip discounts by taking the MTR Tung Chung Line and airport buses under CityBus.

The LCSD has also sought co-operation with various organisations to further promote the exhibition and tourism on Lantau Island. Partners included Hong Kong Disneyland, Ngong Ping 360, Noah's Ark Hong Kong, AsiaWorld-Expo and the Hong Kong Airport Authority. Visitors with tickets to the exhibition will enjoy special admission discounts, dining and shopping discounts offered by these organisations.

The Hong Kong exhibition will open from 10am to 9pm daily. As it is expected to draw an enthusiastic response, the opening hours will be divided into 11 viewing sessions per day so that the public can enjoy the exhibition in a comfortable environment. Each session will last for one hour.

To help regulate the flow of visitors, advance booking is available. Admission to the exhibition is $10. Children under four years old will be admitted free. About 600,000 admission tickets will be available for sale at 41 URBTIX outlets starting from October 19, with ticket sales through the Internet and telephone booking starting from October 20. Visitors are advised to purchase tickets in advance and collect the tickets before going to the exhibition. For enquiries on ticketing, please call the URBTIX hotline at 2734 9009.

To cater for students and social welfare organisations, the LCSD has arranged for 200,000 free tickets for group visits to be organised by schools and social welfare organisations. Group visits are confined to weekdays between Monday and Friday.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has generously supported the Hong Kong exhibition by sponsoring part of its production cost of the exhibition and offering full sponsorship for the special "River of Wisdom Exhibition - Jockey Club Transport Subsidy Scheme". Under this scheme, groups organised by schools and social welfare organisations which have secured free group tickets can enjoy a subsidy in hiring coach services.

Schools and social welfare organisations may send their applications starting from tomorrow (October 12) to the Hong Kong Science Museum. The Hong Kong Council of Social Service will assist in co-ordinating the application of their member organisations.

All applications are on a first-come-first-served basis. Application forms for free admission and the "River of Wisdom Exhibition - Jockey Club Transport Subsidy Scheme" can now be downloaded from the website at hk.qingmingriverside.hk. For enquiries on group visits organised by schools and social welfare organisations, please call Hong Kong Science Museum at 2732 3294.

To facilitate Mainland and overseas visitors to visit the exhibition, a small number of tickets will be reserved for purchase by local travel agencies under the coordination of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

For more details about the exhibition, ticketing and transportation arrangements, please visit the website at qingmingriverside.hk. For enquiries about the exhibition, please call 1823.