China gifts Tagore gallery on 152nd birth anniversary

Kolkata, May 15 (IANS) A gallery on Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and China was opened Wednesday at Tagore’s ancestral residence in North Kolkata’s Jorasanko, that now houses the Rabindra Bharati Museum.

Put together with Chinese assistance, the gallery is spread over eight rooms on the first floor of the Tagore House, documenting important events during the bard’s 49-day stay in the East Asian nation in 1924.

China has given about Rs.56 lakh for the project, besides donating 500 books published in China on Tagore research and Chinese translations of his works.

Describing the gallery as China’s gift to Tagore, “a friend of China”, Chinese consul-general in Kolkata Zhang Lizhong and West Bengal Education Minister Bratya Basu threw the gallery open to the public.

China has also donated cutlery, chinese lanterns, calligraphy materials and other representatives of its culture.

The gallery has a library-cum-conference hall, a touchscreen computer that contains information on Tagore’s stay in China and transcripts of his speeches in that country.

The gallery chronicles the trade and cultural exchanges between India and china since the ancient period including the famous visits of Chinse pilgrims Fa Hien and Huen Tsang.

The rooms are dedicated to Tagore’s links with China, Chinese studies, the depiction of the neighbouring nation in his writings and the development of his studies in China.

The works of Chinese artist Xu Beihong, known for his Chinese ink paintings of horses and birds, and one of the first artists in his country to articulate the need for artistic expressions reflecting a new modern China, will be featured in a room. Tagore’s portrait by Beihong, who had visited Shanti Niketan, will also find a pride of place.

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