When we talk about Lingnan culture, Guangdong is a place that we
will always mention. In the Ming dynasty, textual material and record about Lingnan
has been published like Guangdong Provincial Gazetteer. According to黃佐 (1997),
people from Guangdong is perceived as barbarian when compared with the Central
China. They were regarded as uncivilized, brutal and exotic before the Ming
dynasty. However, it seemed that there was a change in the perception after the
Ming dynasty. They tried to say that there was no difference between the
Central China and Guangdong. People who lived there were civilized (頁494-497). Hence, we think that Guangdong is a representative place
to show the evolution and construction of Lingnan culture.
The maritime Silk Road has been started since the Qin and Han
dynasty. Especially in the Ming and Qing dynasty, Guangzhou played an important
role for connecting China and the West through foreign trade (李萍，2000，頁15). And Guangzhou’s foreign trade would
also benefit Guangdong. Also, it provides an valuable opportunity for Guangdong
to contact with the foreigners as well, exporting a wide variety of goods
including artworks to the foreign countries like the United Kingdom, Spain and
the Netherlands (葉顯恩，2005，頁106), which
lead to a significant cultural exchange between the West and the East.
Why we choose art and craft?
Art and craft is popular among the western
countries and foreigners including Guangdong embroidery, carving and porcelain.
Because of the great popularity and large demand in those types of artwork, the
craftsmen who produced these crafts would like to add some new elements in their
art production such as western subject matter and technique if we see from the artworks.
Therefore, we consider that using art and craft as our theme is a good way to
show how the foreign culture impact on Lingnan culture.
Nowadays, traditional Guangdong art and
craft have to face different challenges. One of the common challenges of the
craftsmanship is the lack of new generation to engage in the industry
particularly the three of them that we have chosen for this exhibition, as well
as some specific skills are no longer extant and new techniques have been used
by new craftsmen (劉鵬飛、黃健源，2012). As a result, rather than the urgency to promote the traditional
craftsmanship, we think that there is also a need to let the people especially
who are living in Lingnan region to know and learn more about the craftsmanship.