NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: September 21 – 27, 2018

David Stanley – Toyok Grottoes

This week: Xu Bing’s commentary on China’s surveillance state; a play inspired by the “First Chinese American”; children learning Chinese as a second language learning a hit Taiwanese pop song; Modern Sky Festival; traditional Chinese music meets American jazz and Caribbean rhythms; a Taiwanese anthology-style film; Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations; talks about Chinese contemporary art and Chinese railroad workers; Printed Matter’s art book fair; an exhibition about gentrification in Sunset Park, Brooklyn; and more…

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Coming Up:

9/28 – A staged reading that follows the first Asian-American singer/comedian through his first year in vaudeville

10/1 and 10/10 – Jia Zhangke’s latest film at the New York Film Festival

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Our weekly listing includes open calls and other opportunities for artists, filmmakers, and others involved with Chinese culture in this intro section.

1) Books from Taiwan Translation Grant A grant opportunity for publishers or persons engaged in translation interested in translating works from Taiwan to obtaining funding for their projects.  Applications are due September 30, 2018.

2) Sinophone Musical Worlds and Their Publics – A call for papers that discuss how cooperation amongst individuals constitute musical worlds, the approach and paradox of political management of popular music, and the role of music in Chinese society.  Read the complete call for submissions. Abstracts are due October 31, 2018, and full articles are due February 15, 2019.

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We add talks, films, performances, exhibitions, featuring or relating to Chinese, Taiwanese, diasporic artists and topics to our event and ongoing exhibition calendars as we learn of them.

We post frequently on our Facebook page.  So check the page for links we share and get a heads up on events before we include them in these weekly posts.  For art, images, and other instances of Chineseness we see, follow us on Instagram.

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Detail from a parody acupuncture chart with Richard Nixon's face and text about "Spasmodic Milhaus Torticollis", a fictional condition "symptomatic of an underlying psychological disturbance" that results in "an exalted altitude of the head" with symptoms that include "communophobia, schizophrenia, paranoia…delusions of grandeur, jockstrapial sidelinerial coachumia, and other manifestations of thwarted adolescent, male chauvinistic Goal Systems fully blossoming into fascia corporeta elitus con imperialis pentagonacia". The left side says "鍼灸取穴参考圖", "Accupuncture point chart". Seen at the Museum of Chinese in America's (@mocanyc) show 'Chinese Medicine in America: Converging Ideas, People, and Practices' on view 4/26 – 9/16/18 _ #museumofchineseinamerica #mocanyc #acupuncture #chinesemedicine #richardnixon #nixon #parody #protestart #art #print #politics #chinese #chineseculture #politics #protest #health #alternativemedicine #orientalmedicine #potus #president #nixoninchina

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We’re looking for contributors!  If you’re interested in writing an article, contributing photos or artwork to be featured with our weekly events and exhibitions listing, letting us know about an event, send a pitch at beyondchinatown@gmail.com.


UPCOMING EVENTS

1) Taiwan: Digital Minister Audrey Tang – Asia Society hosts Audrey Tang, digital minister of Taiwan, for an address and discussion on social innovation, open government, youth empowerment, and the technological innovation landscape and growth opportunities in Taiwan. She draws from her experience in Taiwan’s Executive Yuan (Cabinet), democracy promotion in the Sunflower Movement, and work in Silicon Valley.

Minister Tang will also discuss the UN Sustainable Development goals where innovation is central to its success, and Taiwan’s desire to contribute to this global effort by offering its experience and knowledge to the world.

Friday, September 21, 12 PM – Live webcast available
Asia Society

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2) Conversation with Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang – Join for an evening of discussion around sustainable development, social innovation, and youth empowerment with Audrey Tang, Digital Minister of Taiwan.

Audrey Tang is the youngest and first transgender official in Taiwan’s executive government. A software developer, former entrepreneur and self-described “civic hacker”, Tang heads digital policy and has worked on the vTaiwan and g0v community initiatives.

On Friday, after an interactive Q&A session with Audrey Tang, there will a reception for attendees accompanied with live jazz, catered Taiwanese food, and drinks and networking.  Food and drinks will be served courtesy of Taiwan Bear House and Taiwan Beer.

Friday’s event is hosted by TECO-NY and co-sponsored by TAP-NY, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP), and the World Youth Alliance (WYA).  Saturday’s event is hosted by the Taiwanese American Association of New York and Keep Taiwan Free

Friday, September 21, 6 PM
Saturday, September 22, 10 AM
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York

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3) Citizen Wong Staged Reading – Join for a special staged reading of Citizen Wong, a new play by Richard Chang. Inspired by Wong Chin Foo, the late 19th-century celebrity speaker-writer known as the first Chinese American. His affair with a rich suffragette whose father runs for president captures the essence of an era when racists supported an “anti-Chinese wall” and passed the Chinese Exclusion Act that Wong fought tirelessly against.

The evening will feature a full cast staged reading of the play with short intermission. Wine and light refreshments will be provided.

Friday, September 21, 6 PM
Museum of Chinese in America

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4) Zai Lai Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration – Gather your friends and family together for a Mid-Autumn Festival celebration with Taiwanese eatery Zai Lai. Enjoy a three-course duck prix fixe meal inspired by Chef Edward Huang’s family traditions, hear the mythology of the holiday, and an outing to Columbus Circle for a tea service and moon viewing.

Friday, September 21, 7 PM
Saturday, September 22, 7 PM
Zai Lai, Columbus Circle Turnstyle

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5) The Last Dragon – Leroy Green (Taimak), a young martial artist living in New York City, trains tirelessly to attain the same level of mastery as the great Bruce Lee. One night, his life changes forever when he rescues television personality Laura Charles (Vanity) from evil businessman Eddie Arkadian (Chris Murney). Impressed by Leroy’s bravery, Laura falls for Leroy — but to keep her safe, he will have to defeat a gang leader named Sho’nuff (Julius J. Carry III), the self-styled Shogun of Harlem. (Google)

Friday, September 21, 7 PM
Governor’s Island

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6) MV Premiere | S.H.E 中国话 (Chinese) Cover – by American Kids and Traditional Chinese Music – This MV features native English speaking children from the US covering a popular Chinese rap song 中国话(Chinese) by a famous Taiwanese girl group S.H.E . The original song, released in 2007, hit the top lists of several global music awards including Global Chinese Music Awards and Canadian Chinese POP Music Chart. About 80% of the lyrics are classic Chinese tongue twisters which makes the song unique and challenging for even native Chinese speakers. The singers from our MV are children with ages ranging from 5 to 8 currently studying Chinese as a second language. Not only have they mastered the lyrics, but their original rapping was also impressively spot on.

The premiere will also feature live performance of traditional Chinese arts including Guqin, Face Changing, Hulusi, Erhu, plate-spinning and other performances. The Guqin, arguably the oldest string instrument in Asia, with a 3000 year history which was proclaimed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, will be performed by the artist Jiaoyue Lyu who showcased Guqin for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Lincoln Center. The children from the International Academy of New York will also put on a live performance of the MV. The audience will experience the beauty of both traditional Chinese culture and pop culture in this mid-autumn season.

Friday, September 21, 7 PM
Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Family Auditorium, JCC Manhattan 334 Amsterdam Ave

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7) Dongfeng Liu Band China Caribe CD Release Concert – Pianist Dongfeng “Fred” Liu is joined bey John Benitez (bass), Roberto Quintero (percussion), Francis Benitez (drums), Min Xiaofen (ruan and pipa), Feifei Yang (erhu) and Mongolian musicians for a release party for his new album which fuses Chinese music with American jazz, and Caribbean rhythms.

From the album notes: Rare is the occasion when an artist arrives on the scene who fundamentally reawakens your understanding not just of music but world history, common cultures, and shared values. Dongfeng Liu is this very type of artist. He is a maestro composer, arranger, jazz pianist and educator who draws upon musical influences from his native China, and fuses them with American jazz harmonies with Caribbean rhythms. China Caribe uncovers those buried pages of history in which Chinese immigrants journeyed to the Americas as early as the 1860s. In fact, Havana boasted the largest Chinese population in the Western hemisphere during this period.

Liu’s CD celebrates and dramatizes these cultural cross currents. On this album, we hear what happens when cultures collide – a new sound, a unique aesthetic is born. You haven’t heard anything like China Caribe. I hadn’t. In a word, Liu’s music is peerless. These eight original compositions and arrangements are special and sparkling, meditative and magnificent.  (Kabir Sehgal)

Friday, September 21, 8 PM
Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall

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8) International Symposium: Photography and China – Photography was introduced to China during the mid-nineteenth century as a brand new technology. In less than two hundred years, it has become one of the most popular daily practices and a prominent medium of artistic expression in the country, changing the ways in which Chinese people observe, record, and share the world around them. Although it is a newer creative practice, unique, long-standing Chinese traditions and aesthetics continue to shape the trends of photography in China.

This one-day symposium features leading scholars, industry experts, photography collectors, and artists from both the U.S. and China. Topics vary from Chinese traditional aesthetics and nineteenth century Chinese photography to contemporary masters and cutting-edge photographers. There is also a special focus on the development of silver gelatin printing in relation to its use in landscape photography.

The Photography and China symposium is presented in conjunction with China Institute Gallery’s current exhibition Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens. The morning session is dedicated to the memory of Wang Wusheng, a master photographer best known for his black-and-white landscape photography of Mount Huang.

See the link for program, speakers, and panelists

Saturday, September 22, 9:15 AM – 5:45 PM
China Institute

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9) Mid-Autumn Moon Family Festival – Mooncakes, lanterns, and the Jade Rabbit on the moon! Explore the customs and traditions behind this harvest festival with a mooncake tasting, arts and crafts, stellar story time, and more family fun!

Visit the event page for more information on all the fun family activities.

Saturday, September 22, 12 -4 PM
Museum of Chinese in America

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10) Modern Sky Festival – Modern Sky Festival NYC, now in its fifth year, returns to Rumsey Playfield at Central Park. Dynamic Duo 다이나믹 듀오, Tizzy T, Yao 13 尧十三 with Special Guests Erbai 贰佰 + Song Dongye 宋冬野, Bohan Phoenix (Live) + Special Guest Akin 阿克江, Sunset Rollercoaster 落日飞车 and Se So Neon 새소년 are all set to perform.

Saturday, September 22, 3 – 10 PM
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park

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11) Trilogy of Swordsmanship 《群英會》– The Shaw Brothers studio convened three of its directors to contribute a blade-wielding triptych. In Feng’s The Iron Bow, a sword-in-the-stone scenario doesn’t go exactly as planned for Yueh Hua , so far-from-helpless damsel Shih Szu steps/jumps in; Kang’s The Tigress sees a brothel’s employees rise up in solidarity against criminal Lo Lieh; and Cheh’s White Water Strand pits two of his favorite actors, Ti Lung and David Chiang, in an uprising against Ku Feng.

Dirs. Chang Cheh, Yueh Feng, and Cheng Kang
1972, Hong Kong, 108 min.
In Mandarin with English subtitles

Co-presented with the New York Asian Film Festival

Screens as part of Some Are Better than Others: The Curious Case of the Anthology Film

Saturday, September 22, 1 PM
Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th Street

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12) Four Moods 《樂哀怒喜》– For the “Anger” segment, A Touch of Zen director King Hu adapts a Peking opera and returns to his favored motif of inns, as lawmen’s stopover at one with a troublesome prisoner leads to on-site trouble; “Sadness”, from Hsing Lee, is about a man who has lost his family; “Bliss” (or, “Joy”) sees ghosts shadowing thieves and is directed by Han Hsiang Li, who brokered the project overall; and “Happiness”, from Chin-Jui Pai, extends the film’s themes of death and spirits into otherworldly enlightenment.

Dirs. King Hu, Hsing Lee, Han Hsiang Li, and Chin-Jui Pai
1970, Taiwan, 140 min.
In Mandarin with English subtitles

Print courtesy of the Taiwanese Film Institute.  Co-presented with the New York Asian Film Festival

Screens as part of Some Are Better than Others: The Curious Case of the Anthology Film

Saturday, September 22, 3:05 PM
Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th Street

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13) An Evening with Xu Bing – Chinese artist Xu Bing—who grew up surrounded by books in an intellectual family and later studied printmaking—demonstrated an early interest in language, calligraphy, and typography. Since the 1980s, he has created works that challenge the meaning of language and what we see. His groundbreaking installation Book from the Sky (1987–91) is made up of scrolls and thread-bound books filled with what appears to be Chinese text, but upon close examination turns out to be fake characters. His later work further expanded his investigation of the relationship between images/objects and what they mean to us. Background Story(2004–ongoing), a light-and-shadow box that appears as a landscape painting display is in fact an installation of found materials. His first feature film, Dragonfly Eyes (2017), uses Internet-sourced surveillance footage to construct a fictional tale set in modern China. Xu joins us for an illustrated talk about his universe of language, meaning, material, fiction, and truth.

Monday, September 24, 7 PM
MoMA

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14) Zhang Xiaogang & the Future of Chinese Art, with Barbara Pollack – Join Barbara Pollack for a book signing, discussion, and walkthrough of Zhang Xiaogang: Recent Works, on the occasion of her forthcoming book, Brand New Art from China: A Generation on the Rise.

Tuesday, September 25, 6 PM
Pace Gallery, 537 W. 24th Street

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15) Girl Power! A Feminist Awakening in China– From university campuses to the nonprofit sector and the media industry, accusations of sexual harassment have exposed prominent Chinese intellectuals, charity leaders and journalists. They say a single spark can set a prairie on fire. Can China’s #Metoo Movement be the spark that reconfigures China’s patriarchal society? Will China’s censorship nip the feminist awakening in the bud?

Join Leta Hong Fincher, author of Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China, and Lu Pin, founding editor of Feminist Voices, a Beijing NGO that promotes gender equality, for this timely discussion on China’s feminist awakening.

Tuesday, September 25, 6 PM
China Institute

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16) Monthly Qin & Tonic Mixer – celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival! – Qin and Tonic? You got that right! Join China Institute every last Thursday of the month to mingle with old and new friends who share an interest in all things China. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Live Guqin music by New York Guqin School.

Guided China Institute Gallery tour at 7:00 PM – Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens

Thursday, September 27, 6 PM
China Institute

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17) Debunking Myths About the Chinese Railroad Workers – Join Richard Cheu on a journey of discovery as he explains the origin of several xenophobic myths created to denigrate migrant Chinese workers in nineteenth century America which persist and underly the unending “perpetual foreigner” image of Asian Americans. Richard has developed a fact-based narrative which demonstrates the fallacy of the myths and replaces them with historically-correct evidence .

Thursday, September 27, 6 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


ONGOING FILMS, SHOWS, AND EVENTS

1) Dragonfly Eyes 《蜻蜓之眼》– Few images come closer to reality than those recorded by surveillance cameras. In China, a country with strict film censorship, an estimated 200 million such cameras have been installed to capture life unfiltered; mundane daily activities are mixed with dramatic events beyond the realm of imagination. Visual artist Xu Bing’s first feature film stitches together surveillance footage collected from the Internet to create a fictional tale about a young woman traversing life in modern China. The result is a provocative tale as mundane, surreal, and outlandish as reality itself. Known for works that consistently disrupt our understanding of what we see—from Book from the Sky, an installation of books and scrolls with printed “fake” Chinese characters, to Phoenix, giant phoenix sculptures made of salvaged materials—Xu persistently explores the relationship between vision and meaning.

Dir. Xu Bing
2017, China, 81 min.
In Mandarin with English subtitles

At MoMA, September 21 – 27

There will be a discussion with the filmmaker at the September 21 and 22 screenings, and a talk with the director on September 24.

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2) Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair – Annual book fair includes exhibitors nos:books from Taiwan; Charlen Man and Dreamer FTY from China; and New York-based publisher of independent comics from China and the United States, Paradise Systems and artist Jia Sung and Sarula Bao.

Thursday, September 20 – 23
MoMA PS1

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3) Crazy Rich Asians – The first film since The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago to feature an all-Asian cast is a rom-com based on Singaporean American writer Kevin Kwan’s best-selling book of the same name.

Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. She’s also surprised to learn that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy and he’s considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse — Nick’s disapproving mother.

At local multiple theaters in the New York area


ART EXHIBITIONS

Group Shows, Local Artists, and Other Art Events:

Be sure to visit Chen Dongfan’s Doyers Street street mural, The Song of Dragon and Flowers

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Opening and Newly Listed:

1) Shen Chen – Tradition and the Individual Talent (Fu Qiumeng Fine Art, 9/21 – 11/21) – Shen Chen is an abstract painter and, as such, his project is more open-ended and absorptive, keyed to countless influences across chronologies and cultures. As one of those influences, his works evoke landscapes inflected through a history of Chinese ink paintings, at least conceptually. He started out in a representational mode enamored of traditional Chinese paintings and early on discovered among other heroes the brilliant Liang Kai and Bada Shanren. Both were Buddhists, considered “mad” monks and both remain two of the painters he most admires. It was revelatory to him that they could convey so acutely the things of this world through the deftness of markmaking in which a few strokes can conjure a fish, a leaf, an entire panorama. He was born in Shanghai in 1955 and came of age during the Cultural Revolution. He spent his formative years in China immersed in ink painting but was also drawn to Western culture and has now lived in New York for almost three decades so it is not surprising that his practice is a marriage of East and West. He attended the Shanghai Academy of Theatre where he earned a BFA in 1982 and then went to Beijing, eager to discover ways to make art that reflected the present. The contemporary art scene barely existed then but was about to take off. Beijing was an epicenter, where young artists could meet, collaborate, challenge, and support each other. Change was in the air, as was the optimism and excitement so characteristic of beginnings. Opening a door to the outside world after decades of almost complete isolation heralded a more expansive order of things to come. But then came the tragic events of Tiananmen Square.

Read more of the essay by independent curator, writer, journalist, and critic Lily Wei about the painter

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2) Betty Yu: (Dis)Placed in Sunset Park (Open Source Gallery, 9/6 – 9/29) – New York City has experienced accelerated gentrification in the last fifteen years, with working class and immigrant communities being displaced and uprooted from their homes and communities. Brooklyn’s Sunset Park is one of the many diverse communities that is rapidly changing and being homogenized by waves of gentrification. (Dis)Placed in Sunset Park is an interactive multimedia project that features Sunset Park residents drawing on people’s recollection of the past as they live in the present and articulate their hopes for the future of the neighborhood. The common theme among their stories is the shared narrative of migration to the U.S., their journey to Sunset Park and the fear of displacement as a result of gentrification.

Through augmented reality, an interactive map, and short videos, (Dis)Placed in Sunset Park provides a platform for everyday people who are directly impacted by immigration and gentrification in the neighborhood to have an outlet to express what Sunset Park means to them and what their hopes are for the future of the community. Each story–featuring mainly Latino and Chinese residents–is grounded in the subject’s own sense of home, sanctuary and refuge that they have found in their neighborhood. In Sunset Park, the Latino community is being hit hard by the massive gentrification caused by the multi-million dollar Industry City development, a former shipping industry that employed thousands of U.S. born and immigrant workers that has been rebranded in recent years as an industrial waterfront for the “maker” innovation economy centered on art, high fashion, design, film and TV, tech startups, and specialized food sectors. In Sunset Park’s Chinatown, big money from overseas banks in China, real estate developers and even domestic investors are buying up residential and business properties and converting them into luxury condos, shopping centers, a tourist gateway and other business ventures meant not for working class residents, but for the wealthy. Many are displaced, and those that stay are subjected to rising rents and crowded single room occupancies (SRO) where weak tenant housing laws favor landlords.

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Closing soon:

Liu Chang: The Light of Small Things (Fou Gallery, 7/14 – 9/23)

Documenting China, Stories of Change (Photoville, 9/13 – 9/23)

Yuanyuan Yang: Theater of Crossroads (Gallery 456, 8/31- 9/28)

Betty Yu: (Dis)Placed in Sunset Park (Open Source Gallery, 9/6 – 9/29)

Current shows:

Visit the exhibition calendar for details on the current shows listed below. Check the museum’s or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

Liu Chang: The Light of Small Things (Fou Gallery, 7/14 – 9/23)

Documenting China, Stories of Change (Photoville, 9/13 – 9/23)

Yuanyuan Yang: Theater of Crossroads (Gallery 456, 8/31- 9/28)

Betty Yu: (Dis)Placed in Sunset Park (Open Source Gallery, 9/6 – 9/29)

Cecile Chong – El Dorado / The New 49ers (Lewis H. Latimer House Museum, 5/12 – 10/14)

The Impossibility of Form (Cuchifritos Gallery, 9/15 – 10/14)

Liao Guohe: Burn Witches (Boers-Li Gallery, 9/8 – 10/20)

Zhang Xioagang: Recent Works (9/7 – 10/20)

One Hand Clapping (Guggenheim Museum, 5/4 – 10/21)

Shang Yang: New Works (Chambers Fine Art, 9/15 – 11/3)

Chow Chun Fai (Eli Klein Gallery, 9/8 – 11/17)

Shen Chen – Tradition and the Individual Talent (Fu Qiumeng Fine Art, 9/21 – 11/21)

Metamorphosis: Liu Dan’s Fantastic Landscape and the Renaissance (Nicholas Hall, 9/13 – 11/23)

Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/26/17 – 1/9/19)


Lead image: Reproduction of the Toyok Grottoes at the Turpan Regional Museum in the Tuyugou Valley east of Turpan, Xinjiang, China.  Photo by David Stanley on Flickr.  Licensed by Creative Commons