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VIRTUOUS HERITAGE: XU FAMILY OF GUANGZHOU MANDARINS, REVOLUTIONARIES, EDUCATORS AND SCIENTISTS
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25 Nov 2011 - 22 Apr 2012

As part of the celebrations to commemorate the centenary of the 1911 Revolution and the 100th anniversary of The University of Hong Kong, the University Museum and Art Gallery will jointly present an exhibition with Guangzhou Xudi The Xu Clansmen’s Association to trace the development of China in the past two centuries through the legacies of the Xu Family in Southern China. This exhibition will narrate the political evolution of China through the individual legend of the Xu family and its consequences from the Qing dynasty to modern China.

The Xu (Hui in Cantonese) family migrated from Chaozhou in eastern Guangdong to the provincial capital Guangzhou in the early 19th century. They settled in the city’s Gaodi Street. Generations of the Xu family flourished there in an extensive private residential compound known as Xudi, parts of which still stand today. Beginning from the late Qing period, through the Republican era to the present, members of the Xu Family served in multiple capacities that made them influential in charting the destiny of the Chinese nation.

Members of the Xu clan include Qing mandarins of the first and lower official ranks; the first generation of the Chinese diplomatic corps; revolutionary military commanders; a martyr general of the 7th Red Army; celebrated poets; the wives of a literary giant and outstanding scientist. In addition, there are important educators and pioneering engineers through the successive episodes of the Opium War, the Taiping Rebellion, the Reform Movement of 1898, late-Qing Constitutional Monarchy, 1911 Revolution, Sino-Japanese War, up to the formation of New China.

The exhibition features about one hundred artefacts related to individual members of the Xu clan, including model of Xudi family compound. Highlights of the exhibition include Xu Yingkui’s first-rank court official robes, imperial necklaces, his imperial examination paper and personal effects such as a jade ruyi-sceptre, Fuzhou lacquer box, birthday celebration banners, imperial examination paper, and other archival documents.

A fully-illustrated publication on the saga of the Xu (Hui) family will accompany the exhibition.


Count tribute of Xiangguang for funding to build the Kowloon Walled City in 1847

Collection of the First Historical Archives of China, Beijing


Blue-and-white bowl base mark “Neifu (Palace)”

Gift of Mrs Ting Hui Wai Yu

 Collection of University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU

 

Covered box decorated with floral scrolls in famille rose enamels on green ground, Xushi Jinzhuan Yinguan basemark

Tongzhi, Qing dynasty

 Songxianfen Studio Collection

 

Jadeite court beads with wooden box inscribed with “first-rank court official”

Songxianfen Studio Collection

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