Chengguan beatings… now a work of art!

Along the River during the Qingming Festival

A new version of “Along the River During the ‪#‎Qingming‬ Festival” has stirred up a hot discussion on social networks.

The 25-meter-long ‪#‎photograph‬, named after the most renowned work among all Chinese paintings, has featured roughly 40 social events or phenomena in recent years.

Scenarios such as “Chengguan” (urban management officer) beating people, young women seeking sugar daddies, the famous drunk-driving case “My father is Li Gang” have replaced the natural sceneries and prosperous economic activities along the river bank in the original painting.

The photographic work is on display in the 2014 LIANZHOU FOTO Festival held in Lianzhou city, Guangdong Province between Nov. 21 and Dec. 22.

Some netizens criticized the work, saying it magnified social evils, but others thought it was creative and a mirror of the times.

“I don’t like the documentary photography technique of presenting reality, but prefer a teasing way and posing models,” Dai Xiang, the creator told the newspaper, Southern Metropolis.

“I want to present thought-provoking topics to interact with the reality and that are based on the attitude of pushing the society forward,” Dai added.

Over 1,000 people engaged in the creation of this artwork that took two and a half years to complete. Apart from time consumption, the photograph costs nearly 80,000 yuan ($13,027), according to Dai.

Along the River During the Qingming Festival is a painting attributed to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) artist Zhang Zeduan (1085–1145). It captures the daily life of people and the landscape of the capital, Bianjing, today’s Kaifeng city in Henan Province, from that period. Successive scenes reveal the lifestyle of all levels of the society from the rich to poor as well as different economic activities in rural areas and the city, and offer glimpses of period clothing and architecture.

What’s amazing here isn’t so much the photo (though that’s awesome too) but the fact that that description came from – I shit you not – CCTV’s own Facebook page.


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