19 DECEMBER 2006, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Squeal for joy! The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology ushers in the Year of the Pig Saturday, 20 January 2007 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with its 26th annual Chinese New Year Celebration! Music and dance performances, food, healing and martial arts demonstrations, games, workshops, arts, crafts, children's activities and much more—topped off with the traditional Chinese Lion Dance grand finale—are all part of the spectacular day-long celebration, FREE with Museum admission donation ($8 general admission; $5 students and seniors; free for children under 6, Museum members and PennCard holders).
Musicians Kurt Jung and Qin Qian offer two presentations on the differences between Eastern and Western musical instruments, comparing the erhu to the violin, the gu-zheng (Chinese zither) to the harp, and the ruan to the Western-style guitar. They also cover the historical backgrounds of these instruments and the differences between Eastern and Western musical constructions. The 11:30 a.m. program is designed for families with children, and the 2 p.m. program is recommended for interested adults. Both presentations take place in the Lower Egyptian Gallery.
Activities for children and families abound. Anne Martin-Montgomery, founder and director of Chinese for Families, an organization that works to support American families who want to learn Chinese together, leads an interactive family workshop featuring dance, puppetry and student plays, in Rainey Auditorium from 11:30 a.m. until noon. From 1 to 2 p.m., Chinese for Families offers an ongoing Lion Dance craft workshop in the Mosaic Gallery.
Chinese New Year traditions, such as the Chinese zodiac and its legend, how the New Year is celebrated in China, and the customary decorations, are the subjects of a workshop run by Ting Ting Jin, a former Bilingual Counseling Assistant at the McCall School, in the second-floor Nevil classroom, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a children's craft workshop centered around the Year of the Pig in the Chinese Rotunda from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
No Chinese New Year Celebration is quite complete without the traditional lion dance to chase away evil and usher in a year of good luck. After their Kung Fu demonstration from 3 to 3:45 p.m. in the Harrison Auditorium, lion dancers and drummers from Cheung’s Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy wind their way outside, weather permitting, to the Warden Garden for a boisterous finale.
Chinese food—decorative and edible—is always a featured part of the festivities. Philadelphia’s renowned chef Joe Poon returns to the Museum to give his ever-popular afternoon vegetable carving demonstration from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in the Upper Egyptian Gallery, where he quickly and skillfully turns modest vegetables into flowers, birds, and fanciful scenes. In addition, the Museum Cafe features several Chinese lunch entrees.
Chinese healing and martial arts continue to gain popularity in America, and this celebration offers visitors the opportunity to see and learn more about several traditions. Dr. Ching-Yao Shi offers a lecture on insomnia treatments using acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs, at 11 a.m. in Classroom 1.
Visitors can stop by the Lower Egyptian Gallery from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. to see Falun Gong teacher Lijie Sun demonstrate this widely-practiced system of healing exercises based on the art of QiGong. Master John Chen from Ba'Z Tai Chi & Kung Fu Studio offers a Tai Chi demonstration from 1 to 1:40 p.m. in the Lower Egyptian Gallery.
The University of Pennsylvania Museum features a world-famous collection of early monumental Chinese art, on display in the majestic Chinese Rotunda. A 19th-century crystal ball believed to have been owned by the Dowager Empress serves as the gallery’s centerpiece. As a new addition to this year’s celebration, Dr. Nancy Steinhardt, Penn Museum Curator of Chinese Art, offers a short talk on the art in the Chinese Rotunda, from 11:30 a.m. until noon in Classroom 1.
The Chinese Rotunda is the site for demonstrations by area artists, including paper cutting by Fan-ling Chen, Chinese calligraphy, and Chinese painting. The Museum’s three shops—the Museum Shop, Second Site, and the Pyramid Shop for Children—spotlight their colorful selection of Chinese arts, crafts, games and books for the event.
Onlei Annie Jung, a Chinese brush painting and calligraphy instructor at the Perkins Center for the Arts, joins the festivities this year to teach visitors some basic brush strokes for painting and writing Chinese characters at workshops held in Classroom 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, located at 3260 South Streets on the Penn campus in Philadelphia, is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage. For general information, visitors may call (215) 898-4000, or visit the Museum’s award-winning website at http://www.penn.museum.