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April 16, 2010

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Shanghai achieves arch triumph

TUSHANWAN Archway, made in Shanghai almost 100 years ago, rose again in Xujiahui yesterday.

Assembled from thousands of pieces, it stands ready to meet tourists in June, along with a museum named after it.

The wooden archway, exhibited at three World Expos in the early and mid 20th century, was shipped back to Shanghai from Sweden last year.

Standing 5.8 meters high, the archway first carved by dozens of orphans has been restored by Shanghai experts after 96 years overseas.

A lack of records posed difficulties for restorers, said Song Haojie, vice director of the Xuhui District Culture Bureau.

"Many pieces with delicate carving have been sold or are missing and we had no reference to its original look," Song said.

The archway was first displayed at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. It appeared at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933 and the New York World's Fair six years later.

It later went to Indiana University in the United States until a European architect took it to Sweden with hopes of restoring it.

The archway returned to Shanghai last summer. After seven months of rebuilding, it has become part of the Tushanwan Museum, on the first floor of the only remaining building of the Tushanwan Orphanage, where it was created in 1912.

The orphanage had been a home for Chinese orphans set up by French missionaries in 1864. These children learned about Western art and techniques at the orphanage. As a result, it's been called the "cradle of Western painting."

Song said Shanghai was a pathfinder in printing in the late 19th century and its development would be shown, phase by phase, at the museum.

More than 500 exhibits, most of them collected from residents, will show the lives of the orphans, wooden artworks and how these artworks were created.

Museum visitors will also be able to see art exhibited at previous Expos.


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