Auspicious Clouds

Organizer Long Museum West Bund

The image of auspicious clouds is a widely known cultural symbol that has been passed down from generation to generation in China. Since ancient times, it has been regarded as a token of holiness and blessings, and has been commonly used in design patterns for clothing, artifacts, furniture, architecture, as well as literary and artistic creations.

Wang Anshi (1021-1086) in the Northern Song Dynasty composed a poem with “the auspicious clouds” as its theme, “the roof tile of the royal palace, still covered in snow, glitters under the sunshine to respond to the auspicious clouds”. In novels of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there are also abundant descriptions about the “auspicious clouds”. For example, in The Legend of Deification, a mythical legend, there is a scene portraying people’s imagination of the fairyland, where “the sky is painted in a rosy brush, with auspicious clouds in five colors floating and glowing in an elegant manner”, and “pavilions and towers loom behind the auspicious clouds, with only the chiming of the temple bells lingering and fading into the distance”. 

In Beijing Olympic Games 2008, the graphic image was employed in the design of the Olympic Torch and the official uniform of Chinese athletes, implying the idea of being the "origin of symbiotic and inclusive harmony". Favored by Chinese people for thousands of years, the auspicious clouds has become a symbol of expectation for happiness in both literary and artistic creations and daily life.

Zhao Yanzhao (birth date unknown-around 714), a poet of the Tang Dynasty, wrote in one of his poems, “the auspicious clouds heralds the early years in a wonderful life, and the auspicious snow promises the beginning of a thriving month”. The year 2020 corresponds to “Geng Zi" in the traditional cyclical calendar. In the end of 2019, two new art exhibitions, titled Auspicious Clouds (Gallery 2) and Auspicious Snow (Gallery 6) are open to the public at Long Museum West Bund. Two exhibitions feature paintings on the theme of the clouds, snow, early spring and new year celebration.