On November 30, about 50 AAFSW members and guests enjoyed a grand tour of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. We were greeted with a very warm welcome by Mr. Liu Weimin, Minister Counselor, who thanked AAFSW for the admirable work we do to welcome diplomats and help them learn about the United States through our programs.
The tour was led by our excellent guide, Ms. Liu Yuqing. She explained that the beautiful and spacious building, designed by famed Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, features a fusion of the traditional philosophies of Chinese architecture and modernity. Ms. Liu then described the many wonderful works of art and calligraphy that adorned the building.
Of special note was the marvelous Suzhou-style embroidered tapestry, “Birds Singing in a Jade Bamboo Forest.” Suzhou style embroidery is famous for its dynamic design, delicate needlework and elegant use of colors. The bamboo looks real, and the birds are so realistic that you feel that they are flying right in front of you.
Another highlight was the hanging sculpture above the grand foyer’s spiral staircase. Created by famous Chinese artist Xu Bing, “Purple Cloud Rising From the East,” is made of 300 Plexiglas petals, resembling ancient Chinese pictographic characters representing cloud, mist, wind, rain and water.
Many walls were adorned with amazing, spirited, and rare works of art, as well as masterpieces of calligraphy expressing poetry, love, and history.
We all enjoyed this unique and beautiful tour, as well as the coffee and pastries that were served.