Before the Spring Festival holiday kicks off, the Capital Museum in Beijing opened on Tuesday a special exhibit to delve into the history and culture surrounding this livestock animal and its contributions to humanity: Harmony and Good Harvest.
Harmony and Good Harvest is the final exhibition in the museum’s “Celebrate the Spring Festival” series. From the Neolithic Age to today, the relationship between humans and pigs has lasted for more than 10,000 years in China, with the animal playing an important role in people’s daily lives.
The exhibition is divided into three parts. The first part shows the pig’s significant contributions to human survival and its irreplaceable role as a important spiritual symbol for families and clans in ancient China. The second part introduces the symbology of the pig and its use in ceremonies to pray for rain in ancient times. The final section delves into the pig’s use as a zodiac animal and its relation to the Chinese calendar.
One red clay statuette of a pig’s head made approximately 7,000 to 6,000 years ago that was unearthed near Beijing reflects the development ancient agriculture and animal husbandry in North China. Visitors may notice that the pig shares many characteristics with today’s domesticated pig as its tusks are quite small and its snout is shorter than that of a wild boar.
When people talk about pigs in China, many will mention one of the Four Great Classical Novels, Journey to the West, and the character of Zhu Bajie – one of the most famous pigs in China.
Two ancient painting albums in the exhibition depict several important scenes from the novel. The clothing of the characters in the painting reveal that they must have been painted during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), while the mountains and rivers, pavilions and pagodas, interior furnishings are all depicted in fine detail.
The exhibition has also taken measures to ensure it can appeal to the whole family. In the center of the exhibition hall hangs a television showing episodes of the UK’s Peppa Pig, which is hugely popular among young kids in China. Even the furniture fits the Year of the Pig as the chairs in the exhibition hall are made up of small figures of pigs standing in a line.
图：Li Hao, Tao Mingyang