Black Tigers: Special Exhibition of Selected Rubbings from UMAG
12 May to
3 July 2016
Rubbings are inked impressions on paper that have been reproduced from engravings or reliefs. In addition to their long history, rubbings are one of the key ways in which to preserve the calligraphy, culture and history of imperial China.
Rubbings are categorised according to the objects from which they are taken, ranging from pictures and characters on ancient cliffs to steles, epitaphs, bronzes, coins and bricks. Rubbings are also known as black tigers, a term that refers to their generally dark colour and the inherent difficulty in authenticating the rubbings—a challenge that can prove to be as tricky as dodging an attacking tiger’s bite.
In recent years, UMAG has collected a representative group of thirty Chinese rubbings of significance. These precious items add to the UMAG collection and provide insight into the past of both Hong Kong and UMAG. Highlights of the current exhibition include an exceptional rubbing believed to be Tang Dynasty Emperor Taizong’s (Li Shimin, 599–649) war horse, a rare Southern Song dynasty stone inscription from Joss House Bay in Hong Kong, an exquisite depiction of a female figure and numerous canonical calligraphic examples from steles, tombs and mountainsides of various periods.