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A key exhibition displaying traditional Chinese printing works from non-Han ethnic groups opened in China Printing Museum in Beijing on Aug 11, unveiling a lesser-known part of Chinese printing history.

At Special Exhibition of Chinese Ethnic Print Art, which was co-organized by China Printing Museum and the Chinese National Museum of Ethnology, 125 works from both ancient and modern time are presented to provide a panorama of print art of different ethnic groups in Yunnan, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, among other provincial-level administrative regions in China.

The exhibits include ancient woodblock print on astronomy, religion, medicine, and so on ranging from Yuan (1271-1368) to Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, together with famed artists' works from recent history on figures, landscapes, ethnic cultures. Some displayed copperplate etchings were created in the late Qing Dynasty by Europeans during their explorations in those regions as anthropological references.

According to Zheng Qian, deputy director of the Chinese National Museum of Ethnology, woodblock printing has played a key role in Chinese culture, but those from non-Han ethnic groups used to attract less attention compared with their other art forms such as embroidery or dyeing.

"The exhibition will offer new perspective for our comprehensive understanding of Chinese print art," she says.

As the first temporary exhibition being launched after months of closure of China Printing Museum due to COVID-19, Special Exhibition of Chinese Ethnic Print Artis to run through Sept 15, and several livestreaming tour through digital platforms will be organized to enable netizens have immersive experience visiting the gallery.

Sun Baolin, director of China Printing Museum, said another joint exhibition involving the two Beijing museums will be held later this year, and the two institutions will have more in-depth cooperation in academic research and collection.