At a crossroad on the Silk Road

By Lin Qi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-08-18 08:35:36

At a crossroad on the Silk Road

A hall of MOCA Yinchuan features contemporary art pieces including an installation inspired by unearthed jade clothing sewn with golden thread from a Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) tomb. Photo provided to China Daily

Ever since the first brick was laid, debate has swirled around MOCA Yinchuan, with many people questioning if the underdeveloped Ningxia Hui autonomous region in China's barren northwest is the best place for a contemporary art museum.

The museum finally showed its face to the world with a grand opening on Aug 8. The museum promises to rejuvenate the cultural glory of Yinchuan, a vital crossing point on the ancient Silk Road.

MOCA Yinchuan is located in a half-built art district on the western bank of the Yellow River, far away from the Yinchuan city center. It is surrounded by an idyllic backdrop of rice paddy fields and wetlands.

The museum covers 15,000 square meters. Its innovative architecture imitates the geological fold commonly seen on the rocks and mountains along the Yellow River.

In its heyday, Yinchuan served as a gateway for nomads and Arab merchants to the Middle Kingdom. It has long been an intersection of multiple cultures and today, a quarter of its population are Hui people, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group.

MOCA Yinchuan aims to be a platform to demonstrate and study the connection between Islamic and Chinese civilizations. It is dedicated to providing brand-new channels of communication for Eastern and Western cultures.

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