The CPEC Summit and Expo, a two-day long conference and exhibition arranged by the Dawn Media Group, the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, and the Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was inaugurated last night in Karachi. While the summit will take place on Monday, 23rd April and Tuesday, 24th April at Bagh-e-Jinnah, a cultural evening titled ‘Tang Dynasty Songs and Dances’ took place at Arts Council Karachi to mark the occasion.
While addressing the audience, Hameed Haroon, the CEO of Dawn Media Group, recalled his 1981 trip to the People’s Republic of China as head of All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) delegation. In the 1980s, the massive terracotta army had been recently discovered in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province. The Chinese government arranged for a cultural performance after the delegation visited the discovery site, and the rendition at Arts Council last night was Haroon’s effort to introduce China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related officials to a similar performance.He invited Fahim Zaman, Secretary General of CPEC Summit, and Ali Hassan Naqvi, Chairman CPEC organizing committee, on stage, to highlight their efforts in arranging the conference. He also recognized the efforts of Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Mr Yao Jing, for organizing the performance, which will help promote cultural exchanges between the two countries. The CPEC Summit and Expo 2018, according to the Pakistan-China Institute Chairman, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, is the largest celebration of CPEC so far.
In his speech, H.E. Mr Yao Jing highlighted how during the Tang Dynasty, China established diplomatic relations with more than 300 states all over the world. Trade convoys were sent to West Asia, East Europe, and Eastern part of Africa, and Karachi was one of the major stops at the sea line trade. Through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China aims to rejuvenate this spirit of ancient connectivity. CPEC is the most effective and result oriented project by the Chinese government in this regard, and with the inauguration of the conference tomorrow, he said the Embassy and Consul General will benefit from the assessment and suggestions for better cooperation between China and Pakistan.
The Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) is viewed as a golden period of China’s rich history, during which the economy, poetry, music and the performing arts flourished. The historic Silk Road was re-opened during this time; travel and trade consequently intensified between China and the Indian Subcontinent. Tragically, following the fall of the Tang Dynasty, all vestiges of it vanished. Many years later, the discovery of certain tombs brought to light a wealth of treasures in the form of paintings, murals and frescoes. The scenes from these artworks, along with poetic descriptions, allowed choreographers and musicians to recreate the dances and musical compositions of Tang Dynasty.
The performances began with an energetic dance titled, ‘The Flourishing Age of the Tang Dynasty,’ featuring the entire Baoji Art Theatre troupe. The dance showed dukes from across China coming to greet the new emperor and empress.
Other dances included an elegant ballet by Chen Yi and Wang Wen titled, ‘Love of Eternity.’ The dancers evoked the eternal romance between two lovebirds through their performance. ‘The Feather Dress Dance – The Dance of the Fairies,’ showed numerous women accompanying an empress, and was a more contemporary take on a traditional Ni Shang dance.
Three instrumental performances were also a part of the show. The pipa, a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument was used in, ‘The Lu Yao Melody of Tang Dynasty.’ This music celebrated the natural beauty of the Chinese landscape. ‘Zen and Meditation’ was another ensemble featuring melancholic music, which highlighted the yearning of two distant lovers. ‘Rhythmic Dancing’ was a romantic instrumental focused on the love between Li Bai and Wang Lun. The instrumentalists, Wang Yaping, Dang Baokang and Li Xiaoju were loudly applauded for their soulful compositions.
Madam Hu Ge performed, ‘The Song of Zhen Guen,’ which narrates the history of Tang Dynasty as a golden period of national unity. The male singer, Yuan Shuai, performed the ballad ‘The Lament of Separation,’ highlighting the emotions of the singer as he parts from a beloved, as well as the song, ‘Men of Guan Zhong.’
The evening concluded with the group dance, ‘Shaanxi Drum Dance.’ The performers had small drums attached to their clothes, and performed with a fiery energy. The dance was meant to evoke the customs, culture, and beauty of emerging Shaanxi while staying true to the spirit of the Tang Dynasty.