U.S. university holds int'l symposium on connections between Chinese Silk Road, American "Silk City"

Updated: October 27, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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WAYNE, the United States, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Known as U.S. "Silk City," Paterson, in the northeastern U.S. state of New Jersey, was considered to be the final stop for China's historic Silk Road that connected civilizations of different parts of the ancient world.

This is one of the themes of an international symposium that opened Wednesday morning online and in person at the William Paterson University (WP) in Wayne, New Jersey.

The City of Paterson, about 6 miles from the WP campus, was a major hub for production of silk fabric and earned the moniker of the U.S. "Silk City" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Hosted by WP's Center for Chinese Art, "Across Time and Space: The Silk Road and the Silk City," running through Thursday, gathered together experts from the United States, Britain and China examining the role of the ancient trade route in the development of the United States and China in culture, art, industry and commerce since the 18th century.

Keynote speakers included Feng Zhao, honorary director of the China National Silk Museum; Ben Marsh, professor with the School of History in the University of Kent, United Kingdom; and Stephen Hahn, professor emeritus of English with the William Paterson University.

"Cross-cultural academic exchanges are an integral part of a diverse, modern university's educational mission, whether in the home country, abroad, or in ... virtual education," said WP President Richard J. Helldobler in his opening remarks.

The symposium and the companion exhibits in the university galleries together illustrate the spirit of the mission of the WP's Center for Chinese Art and the university, said Helldobler, adding that since its founding in 2009, the center has been a wonderful conduit for these exchanges and for the enrichment of WP students and faculty, as well as participating artists and scholars.

"The Silk Road from China to America" and "A Durable Thread" exhibits "capture the mutual global influences of China and the United States through one of the most historically valued materials and its tremendous impact on regional industry and commerce, labor, global trade, and of course, art," said Helldobler.

Huang Ping, the Chinese consul general in New York, expressed his hope that "the heritage and spirit of the Silk Road -- peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit -- will be carried forward for the well-being of our two peoples and the common prosperity of the whole world."

"I also hope the Silk Road spirit that once helped shape the world in the past, could continue to help shape the world in the future and bring peace and prosperity," said Huang, adding that he has confidence in the resilience of the China-U.S. relationship, based on a long history of cooperation and a sound foundation of person-to-person and city-to-city exchanges.

"The symposium has built up a platform for professional communication, mutual understanding and cooperation between China and the United States," said Huang, adding WP's Center for Chinese Art is "actually working hard to build a new cultural silk road."

During the two-day event, two exhibitions are on view at WP. A Durable Thread: The Silk Road from China to America reimagines the Silk Road by connecting China to the "Silk City" of Paterson, bringing together a world of silk objects from Asia, Europe and North America from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

Textile Arts from Guizhou of China brings together a selection of traditional textiles and new artworks by artists who are renowned for utilizing resist dyeing, also known as batik, as well as embroidery and metalworking to create a distinct visual language that continues to evolve in the hands of contemporary designers.

Meanwhile, an online exhibition "Silk and the Silk Road," organized by China National Silk Museum, WP's Center for Chinese Art and the Paterson Museum, is executed on the Silk Road Online Museum "Online Curating" platform, featuring 84 artifacts from 41 museums in 15 countries.

Co-organized by the William Paterson University Galleries and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the symposium is co-sponsored by the China International Culture Association, Guizhou International Cultural Association, City of Paterson, Nantong Municipal People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Chinese-American Art Faculty Association, China National Silk Museum, the Paterson Museum, Nantong University, Yangzhou University, Guizhou Minzu University, Guizhou University of Commerce, and Qiandongnan Vocational and Technical College for Nationalities. 

Editor: Gao Jingyan