On April 18th, 2018, the Confucius Institute at Arizona State University held its “CI Open Day,” putting on a rich and colorful display of Chinese culture that drew interested faculty and students from across campus for a lively day of cultural exposure through fun and interactive events. Local CI Director Fannie Tam and Chinese Director Guan Ping joined the day’s activities.
Director Fannie Tam (far left) and Chinese Director Guan Ping (far right) pose with some of the students
The open day offered visitors a chance to experience the rich sights and flavors of Chinese traditional culture. Displays included Chinese lanterns, traditional decorative knots, face masks, fans and paper cuttings; traditional snacks had been prepared for refreshments, while several enjoyed a game of Asian shuttlecock for some lively entertainment.
For an authentic experience of traditional Chinese art, Arizona State’s Confucius Institute set up a Chinese painting and calligraphy stand at the School of International Letters and Cultures. Diana Ho, a gifted painter and calligrapher, was invited as a special guest and put her talents on live display by delivering an exquisitely executed painting that demonstrated the vivacity and graceful charm of Chinese traditional art. Students were invited to take up the brush and try their hand at painting or calligraphy. From unrolling the scroll and dipping the brush in the ink to setting its tip to the blank sheet and focusing on each brush stroke, students were able to get a feel for the passion and precision that goes into the ancient art, while CI teachers patiently offered guidance, showing them how to hold the brush, fill it with the right amount of ink, and apply just enough pressure.
An authentic experience of Chinese calligraphy
Outside the teaching building, a Chinese paper cutting stand was set up, inviting students to create their own paper cuts, including cuttings in the shape of the Chinese character meaning “spring.”
The delicate art of Chinese decorative knotting using a colorful array of cords as demonstrated by the Hanban teachers drew a crowd of interested visitors, queuing up to have a good look. Everyone was eager to study the skill of Chinese knotting. Several American female students asked the teachers how to say “beautiful” in Chinese, whereupon they pointed to their newly woven colorful bracelets exclaiming “Tai meile!” (“How beautiful!”). The male students next to them looked at their own artistic creations with satisfaction: “Tai kule!” (“That’s really cool!”).
And of course the multi-coloredjinzi– or “shuttlecock” – made for plenty of laughter and entertainment as contestants trying their luck at keeping thejinziabove ground (using only their feet) were rewarded with hearty applause.
Once again, the Confucius Institute Open Day at ASU proved successful in that it was not only an opportunity for US students to learn more about Mandarin language study facilities on their campus, but also, by means of offering an array of Chinese cultural exhibits and activities, allowed visitors rare glimpses into Chinese traditional art and culture.