OPEN CALL - Chinese Mythology

OPEN CALL - Chinese Mythology

We had multiple debates before determining the “Chinese Mythology” theme. Nezha, a film released not long ago, was a huge hit. Aside from some flaws, the film has touched people’s hearts. I suddenly realized that Chinese mythology had not disappeared and my previous understanding of mythology was since changed. (I used to think that Chinese mythology was just ancient mythology.) In this regard, I cannot agree more with Mr. Ke Yuan’s viewpoint of “generalized mythology” (1).

The reason why Greek mythology enjoys permanent charm lies in that it has been made rich and beautiful by the processing and polishing of generations of great European literati and artists. Similarly, Chinese mythology, which was wild and pristine in the primitive society, has been handed down and gone through constant changes with the changes of social nature. For instance, that Pan Gu took the place of Nuwa reflected matriarchy giving way to patriarchy in the primitive society. There was even a plot of Gun, a gigantic male fish, giving birth to Yu (2) in the ancient Chinese mythology created back then. Another example is that, since the state system was established when the first dynasty was set up, the expression emperors of heaven was changed into the only emperor of heaven. The medical system which flourished in the Warring States Period was embodied by Panmao (3), a bird with a human’s face in the mountain classic part of The Classic of Mountains and Seas, Danmu (4), wood which cured tuberculosis, and other similar mythological fantasies. Chinese mythology always changes with the times endows it with the greatest and most unique charm.

However, Chinese mythology seems to have hit a bottleneck in modern times. In my humble opinion, one reason is that it is ignored by the rapid development of economy and technology, and another is that mere retelling of the gods’ and monsters’ images in ancient books or the stories themselves is just a formality which can hardly impress people. Nevertheless, contemporary Chinese mythology still exists. In recent years, there have been numerous literary works inspired by The Classic of Mountains and Seas, while artistic works are relatively inferior in quantity. Here I need to mention a contemporary artist Mr Jian’an Wu whose point of view is that the current scientific and technological development originates from ancient mythology and people are developing science and technology in order to return to the place where they came from. I agree with him to some extent. What impresses me most about his works is that he injects new content and spirit to the original Chinese mythology. For example, his work Black Carp interprets a story behind a religious murder from the perspective of modern people, making the mythological system of The Tale of the White Serpent richer and more three-dimensional. Therefore, reflecting on our field, I believe that if we present Chinese mythology with the contemporary jewelry language, and dominate the development of Chinese mythology with our spirit and will, the new mythology created will definitely affect the next civilization.

Maybe Chinese mythology will come to an end and disappear in the future when people do not need it, but at least we still need it today. Although unlike the ancients, we do not worship personified objects more than we worship humans, we still need to treat everything in the world with reverence. The relationship between man and the universe, man and nature, and men themselves are all included in mythology. Jewelry itself is a rather direct expression of the relationship between object and human, which is not only an aesthetic appreciation of art. Therefore, we launch the contemporary jewelry exhibition with the Chinese Mythology theme, hoping to see people combine Chinese mythology with jewelry to express their explorations on space science, philosophical speculation, religion, natural environment, local folk customs, personal ideal, view of love, or Chinese kinship concept, etc.

In view of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia in China, the Chinese Mythology exhibition originally scheduled to open on June 15 will be postponed to ensure the health and safety of exhibitors and visitors. The extensions are as follows:
Deadline for Submission: Extended from April 30, 2020 to June 20, 2020
Publication Date: Extended from May 20, 2020 to July 10, 2020
Opening Date: Extended from June 15, 2020 to August 8, 2020

Requirement and schedule:
• Each exhibitor shall design and make jewelry works according to the theme. The quantity is not limited but the size shall be within 50 × 50 × 50 cm. In case of special circumstances, the exhibitors shall contact the organizer in advance. The works shall be original and will be disqualified for entry and exhibition once found to be plagiarisms.
• Image materials, design description and personal profile shall be submitted before April 30, 2020 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for selection by the organizing committee.
• Application and exhibition are free of charge.
• From April 30, 2020, the judging panel will judge all submitted works according to their photos. The results will be published on Vonmo’s official account on May 20, 2020, and the organizing committee will contact the selected artists in time.
• The selected artists shall bear the mailing cost. If the works are sold, 100% of the amount will be given to the exhibitors.
• On June 15, 2020, the Chinese mythology-themed contemporary jewelry exhibition will be open. The organizing committee reserves the following rights: to display the specially invited and selected works freely, to photograph the exhibited works and use the photos in public freely, to use designers’ personal information in public freely, and to publish the public works and work collections for exhibition at home and abroad.
• After the exhibition, the organizer will properly mail back the works exhibited, as well as exhibition certificates and exhibition works collections.
• The above schedule is for reference only. The actual schedule will be based on the actual progress of the project. Exhibitors will be notified in case of any change in the schedule involving them. The organizer reserves the right to interpret relevant matters.

Hongxia Wang, jewellery artist.
Kim Buck, jewellery design master, creative director of Secret Gallery in Copenhagen.
Maria Rosa Franzin, jewellery artist, chairman of the Italian Contemporary Jewelry Association.
Yi Zhao, jewellery artist.

* The following books related to the theme are provided for your reference:
Myth and Poetry by Yiduo Wen.
Chinese Mythology by Mingzi Qian.
Study of Chinese Mythology ABC by Maodun.
Ancient Chinese Travel and Study by Shaoyuan Jiang.
Further on Generalized Mythology by Ke Yuan.
The Water God of China by Zhigang Huang.
A Research of Ancient Chinese Religion and Mythology by Shan Ding.
Chinese Mythology & Thirty-Six Stratagems (Ancient Chinese Wisdom) by Ciyun Zhang.
1. Further on Generalized Mythology by Mr Ke Yuan.
2. Mythology about Yu preventing floods by water control in The waters of the deluge swelled up to heaven. Gun, a gigantic male fish, stole the soil of the Supreme God to dam up the waters of the deluge without awaiting the command from the Supreme God. He ordered Zhurong to execute Gun near the Feather Mountain. At the same time, Gun gave birth to Yu. This story about male giving birth is a trace of the custom of men in the patriarchal clan society dressing up as women and pretending to give birth.
3. Mythology from: There is a bird dwelling on the North Raucous Mountain whose form resembles a crow with a human’s face. It is called Panmao. It flies at night and sleeps during the day. Eating it will cure Jie. Pu Guo made a note about Jie, pointing out that it means heatstroke and is pronounced Jie.
4. The Chinese character dan refers to tuberculosis.