Speech by H.E. Mr. Sun Yuxi, Chinese Ambassador to India, at the Inauguration of Exhibition "Folk Art from the Hometown of Terracotta Warriors and Horses
(September 26, 2006, Lalit Kala Akademi Galleries)

Shri. C. Babu Rajeev, Director General, Archaeological Survey of India,

Mr. Li Junmin, Deputy Director General of Department of Culture, Shaanxi Government,

Dr. Sudhakar Sharma, Secretary of Lalit Kala Akademi,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good Afternoon!

First of all, I would like to extend my cordial welcome to all of you.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Shaanxi province, the hometown of Terracotta warriors and horses, lies in the center of China. Shaanxi witnessed the history of friendly exchanges between China and India since 1300 years ago. In 645 A.D., the eminent Chinese monk of Tang Dynasty Xuan Zang returned to China after his visit to India. The Court of Tang Dynasty held an unprecedented grand welcome ceremony for him at Ci'en temple, literally means 'mercy and kindness' temple, of Shaanxi province. Xuan Zang was then appointed the first abbot of Ci'en temple. Later, Xuan Zang designed and presided the constructing work of Dayan Pagoda, literally means Big Wide Goose Pagoda, which is used as a shrine to keep Buddhist scriptures, sculptures and holy relics of Buddha that Xuan Zang brought back from India.

Over 1300 years passed, the tradition of friendly exchanges between our two countries is still going on. As you are aware, 2006 is China-India Friendship Year. More than 50 programs have already been and will continuously be developed in the fields of politics, economy, culture, tourism, science, technology and so on. Among these programs, Shaanxi Culture Week is one of the most important culture programs. Apart from these official programs, many non-governmental and non-planned exchanges are carried out to celebrate this specific year. Just as this moment, two Chinese teams composed of Buddhists, scholars, medias and ordinary people are traveling on foot and by vehicles through Shaanxi towards India following Xuan Zang's footmarks. Through exploring the difficulties that Xuan Zang experienced 1300 years ago, they wish to express their friendly sentiments to today's Indian people and peoples on the way to India in hope of further promoting exchanges between our two peoples.

Luckily, people nowadays have much more convenient facilities of transportation. It takes 7 to 8 hours only to fly between China and India. More and more Chinese tourists, attracted by the splendid culture and civilization of India, are coming every year. Indian tourists going to China are increasing rapidly, too. The capital of Shaanxi province, Xi'an, is becoming the third popular tourist destination city in China after Beijing and Shanghai among Indian tourists.

Today, Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China, Government of Shaanxi Province, Chinese Embassy in India, and Lalit Kala Akademi jointly present the exhibition "Folk Art from the Hometown of Terracotta Warriors and Horses", in hopes of helping Indian people learn more about the local conditions and rich folk customs of Shaanxi, an ancient place that has witnessed the time-honored friendship between China and India since 1377 years back, and about Shaanxi people, and expressing the traditional friendly sentiments of Shaanxi people to Indian people. May this exhibition write a new chapter of friendship between our two countries.

I wish this exhibition a complete success.

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