Completed in 1736, Up the River During Qingming is a remarkable example of genre painting, capturing everyday life in China while portraying its prosperity. We partnered with Taiwan’s National Palace Museum to create Up the River During Qingming VR, a virtual reality piece that makes it possible to see the artwork in fine detail—a privilege once reserved for the Qing dynasty Emperor and favored officials.
Through VR, sections of Up the River During Qingming are brought to life—from bustling scenes featuring some of the painting’s 4,000 figures, to architectural details including homes and the royal palace. Significant sections of the painting, which measures 11.5 meters across, have been transformed into interactive games, including the Rainbow Bridge, the Outdoor Theater, and the Golden Orchid Restaurant.
“Up the River During Qingming, especially this version by Qing dynasty court painters, is one of the most exquisite and beautifully rendered genre paintings,” said Lillian Lee, AVP of HTC VIVE and Producer of the Up the River During Qingming VR project. “VR allows us to create content that is both educational and of entertainment value: viewers are able to have fun, while learning about the heritage of a celebrated artwork.”
The exhibition represents a continuation of our partnership with the National Palace Museum which, since 2015, has presented virtual reality pieces including The Spirit of Autobiography (2017), inspired by the renowned calligraphy of Tang-dynasty monk Huaisu, and Roaming through Fantasy Land (2017), a journey through Autumn Colors on the Qiao and Hua Mountains, by early Yuan-dynasty painter Zhao Mengfu.
Facing the Chao Phraya River, the exhibition aims to create a “rainbow bridge” for cultural exchange and learning between Thailand and Taiwan, transporting visitors back in time to wander amid cultural landscapes along ancient rivers. Showcasing a diverse selection of interactive and immersive multimedia installations, visitors of all ages will be able to join the ancient Chinese literati in appreciating natural riverine sceneries, deepen their understanding of the museum’s collection and its profound cultural heritage, and in turn reexamine the local and personal experience of living along the banks of Southeast Asia.
The exhibits include new media art interactive installations, VR, multimedia films, and artifact reproductions. In the Roaming through Fantasy Land VR installation, visitors can walk into the landscape painting of Autumn Colors on the Qiao and Hua Mountains and leisurely proceed along the ancient Yellow River; through the high-definition films and replicas in Traveling through Brush and Ink, visitors are able to appreciate the aesthetics of classical Chinese painting and calligraphy, and explore the landscapes in which the ancient literati “amble, behold, wander, and abide.”
Others include Summer Lotus, which allow the audience to experience an ancient lotus pond brimming with vitality, as well as Castiglione’s Magical Horses in which the audience can watch horses of their creation playing along a riverbank. In addition, this exhibition will showcase the NPM’s latest work, Marvels within the Sea—Immersive Interactive Theater, enabling visitors to travel along the winding river of history, cross ancient waters, and enjoy a cultural feast for the eyes!
Check out the official page here.
Sources: https://arts.vive.com/us/articles/projects/culture-heritage/up_the_river_during_qingming_vr/ and https://theme.npm.edu.tw/exh107/uptheriver/en/index.html