On Thursday, January 19th, Meridian International Center and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China co-hosted the 2nd annual Chinese Lunar New Year reception, celebrating the beginning of the Year of the Dragon at Meridian House. Chinese lanterns and other traditional New Year decorations transformed the historic French-style home.

Over 400 guests attended, including high-ranking diplomats from the Chinese Embassy, officials from the U.S. Department of State, D.C. cultural leaders, local and international media, scholars, and corporate representatives.

In honor of this occasion, Meridian’s Art for Cultural Diplomacy program organized a special art exhibition: A Zhuxianzhen Tradition: New Year Woodblock Prints from Kaifeng.The exhibit included 20 traditional nianhua prints from Henan Province, illustrating auspicious symbols from Chinese folklore €“ the seventh in a series of exhibits created over the last decade by Meridian with Chinese partners.

While enjoying the festivities, guests watched Embassy chefs prepare dumplings and sampled other authentic dishes at stations set up throughout the rooms, each featuring a different region in China.

His Excellency Zhang Yesui, Ambassador from the People’s Republic of China to the United States; Meridian President and CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday ; Meridian’s Chairman of the Board,Governor James Blanchard ; and Meridian’s Senior Vice President for the Arts, Dr. Curtis Sandbergoffered remarks at the reception.

Ambassador Holliday, speaking to the assembled crowd, lauded the event as “one of the new highlights of our calendar, and an exemplification of Meridian’s strong partnerships.”

Following the remarks, 6ixwire Project, a western four-string violin and two-string Chinese violin (erhu) duo, performed pieces from the East and West. In addition, Meridian staff gave guided tours of its acclaimed exhibition CHINA Town: Contemporary Ceramic Painting from Jingdezhen, currently displayed in the White-Meyer House.

The exhibit features an unprecedented collection of porcelain art, which was curated by Meridian International Center and the Ren Jian Ci Hua Company (Jingdezhen, China), with support from the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China.

It is also the first exhibition developed through the much-celebrated Memorandum of Understanding between Meridian International Center and the China International Culture Association. This Memorandum has created a new framework for the expansion of bilateral U.S.-China cultural exchanges, further strengthening and improving relations between the two nations.


Image Courtesy of    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cc_chapman/