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The final section of the exhibition looks at the state of Confucianism in contemporary China through the eyes of seven artists from the two Chinese Republics – the People’s Republic of China and the Taiwanese Republic of China. Utilising time honoured symbols and iconic forms, they ask trenchant questions of the Confucian traditions and the state of Chinese society today.

The deconstructed Ming-style chairs of Shao Fan (nos. 35-37) and Yang Mao-Lin’s newly anointed Buddhist deity (no 29) inspired by Japanese Anime are oblique critiques of old values as well as the globalised community in which we live today.

Cai Zhisong’s Chinese scroll and bamboo strips (nos. 32, 33) refer to the most iconic media in the fine arts, that of painting and calligraphy. Fashioned out of lead, without any traces of the markings they are meant to accommodate, they are a response not only to the durability and dubiousness of their traditions, but also the criticism that Chinese artists ape the West.

No longer anonymous, these artists sign and date their works. They work in a system, not of patrons, but of clients and critics. However dissonant, these renewed symbols in Chinese art remain phenomenal for their extended and potent links with the past. In this small selection of art works spanning two and a half millennia, the connections demonstrate the durability of Confucian ideals as well as its contradictions in the dialogue between ancient and contemporary Chinese art.