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China’s Best Autumn Events Of 2013
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China’s Best Autumn Events Of 2013

Picture of Stephanie Chang Avila
Updated: 9 February 2017
Anchored by the megacities of Beijing and Shanghai, China offers a packed cultural calendar of events that includes cutting edge contemporary events and traditional festivals rooted in the country’s long and vast history. Here are 10 must-see autumn events in China.

Art | Interactive Perspectives: Contemporary Exhibition Across the Taiwan Straits

Beijing: 26 August-24 September 2013

The National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing hosts Interactive Perspectives: Contemporary Exhibition Across the Taiwan Straits, an exhibition that celebrates the artistic exchange between China and Taiwan as political relations continue to thaw. The exhibition invites 36 artists from mainland China and Taiwan to explore common issues of urbanisation and globalisation from their distinctive viewpoints in order to generate collaboration and conversation between the artists as well as to challenge the audience to rethink their accepted norms.

Find out more: National Art Museum of China.

Dance | Guangdong Dance Festival

Guangdong: 9-16 September 2013

The 2013 edition of the Guangdong Dance Festival kicks off in September, bringing the best of contemporary dance to the southern city. For its 9th incarnation, the dance festival’s programme includes original performance works by a new generation of Chinese choreographers and dancers who are markedly future-looking; along with its sister event in Beijing (14-30 July 2013), the Guangdong Dance Festival brings together China’s emerging dance talents and established names in a celebration of movement, rhythm and dance.

Find out more: Guangdong Dance Festival.

Prune Nourry, Terracotta Daugters, 2013, work in progress/Photograph by  Zachary Bako, courtesy galerie Magda Danysz
Prune Nourry, Terracotta Daugters, 2013, work in progress | Photo by Zachary Bako/Courtesy Galerie Magda Danysz.

Art | Prune Nourry: Terracotta Daughters

Shanghai: 14 September-26 October 2013

Terracotta Daughters by Prune Nourry draws on the symbolic and historical importance of the Terracotta Warriors in this project, creating 116 life-sized female terracotta sculptures. According to Nourry, the work ‘reflects upon gender preference in China and infiltrates the local culture through the familiar symbol of the Terracotta Soldiers’ and is a continuation of Nourry’s ‘Holy Daughters project in India. In particular, Nourry’s exhibition queries the significant gender imbalance in China, where societal preference and technological advancement have favoured male children over their female counterparts.

Find out more: Prune Nourry: Terracotta Daughters at Gallery Magda Danysz.

Photography | 13th Pingyao International Photography Festival 2013

Pingyao, Shanxi: 19-25 September 2013

Pingyao in Shanxi Province plays host to the 13th Pingyao International Photography Festival in 2013. The festival, situated in Pingyao, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an extraordinarily well preserved city wall as well as Ming and Qing style residences and shop fronts that retain their original architectural elements. Some of the world’s top photographers and agencies have exhibited at Pingyao, including Magnum, Paris Match and Sebastiao Salgado. Set against the backdrop of Pingyao’s historical architecture, the Pingyao International Photography Festival is amongst the most visually stunning in the world. This year’s theme is ‘Image of Walking Towards Life’, encompassing ancient history and modernity.

Find out more: 13th Pingyao International Photography Festival.

Culture | Mid-Autumn Festival

19-21 September 2013

The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is one of the oldest and grandest of traditional celebrations in China, coming second in significance only to the Spring Festival. Moon cakes, a bite-sized sweet confectionary traditionally stuffed with red bean paste with an egg yolk hidden in the centre has become a cultural phenomenon in China, where the exchanging of ever more luxurious moon cakes has become the norm. From its humble origins, one can now find moon cakes wrapped in gold, swathed in silk and boasting of increasingly exotic flavours like durian, seaweed and mango.

Design | DAFF Fall 2013 Design, Art, and Fashion Fair

Shanghai: 20-21 September 2013

Twice yearly, the Shanghai Design, Art and Fashion Fair (DAFF) organised by The Ice Cream Truck (TICT) creative agency kicks off the city’s top ‘lifestyle event that gives China’s rising creative talent a platform to interact, share ideas, and promote new projects’. DAFF is a must-visit for those seeking to discover the latest trends, newest concepts and most in vogue currents in Shanghai’s creative community through a series of workshops, live performances, art exhibitions and pop-up shops.

Find out more: Shanghai Design, Art and Fashion Fair.

Music | JZ Fest

Shanghai: 20 September-20 October 2013

Shanghai’s largest outdoor jazz festival, the 9th JZ Festival in Shanghai features a full month of jazz on eight outdoor stages across the city. Shanghai’s largest outdoor jazz festival brings world class jazz to China, placing Shanghai at the forefront of promoting the development of a uniquely Chinese jazz culture. From Spain, Brazil and Cuba to Malaysia, Mongolia and Western China as well as local Shanghai musicians, Shanghai’s JZ Fest is the preeminent gathering of jazz musicians and jazz aficionados in China.

Find out more: 9th Shanghai JZ Festival.

Culture | Confucius Festival

Qufu, Shandong: 28 September 2013

Confucius Festivals are held across the world to celebrate the birth of China’s most prominent philosopher whose school of thought has defined China’s political, social and moral structures for over two thousand years. Amongst the best, however, is the Confucius Festival in Qufu. Qufu, located in the northern province of Shandong, is the hometown of Confucius. Here, visitors can find numerous historical cultural sites including the Confucius temple, Confucius cemetery, and Confucius mansion, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each year, Qufu celebrates Confucius’ birthday through a programme of performances and rituals, as well as showcasing local Shandong crafts, food and art.

Culture | International Music Fireworks Festival

Shanghai: 30 September-6 October 2013

Every year, Shanghai residents are treated to a display of pyrotechnic prowess to celebrate China’s National Day, which commemorates the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Across the country, in all the major cities, China’s National Day is celebrated through parades, fireworks and concerts. In Shanghai, the Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival puts on a week long display of fireworks paired with music draws huge crowds to Century Park in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area; the explosive blasts that illuminate Shanghai’s iconic skyline at night show off the creativity and technological innovation of the original inventors of fireworks.

Find out more: Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival.

Shanghai Art Fair
阎夫立《禅境》 | © Shanghai Art Fair

Art | Shanghai Art Fair

Shanghai: 14-17 November 2013

The 17th Shanghai Art Fair is one of the longest running in Asia, attracting art collectors, galleries, organisations, artists’ agencies and art aficionados. Blending eastern and western traditions, visitors to the Shanghai Art Fair may see the likes of Rembrandt, Picasso and Dali — giants of the canon of Western art — as well as works by some of China’s greatest artists including Qi Baishi and Zhang Daqian. Held at the ShanghaiMART, the Shanghai Art Fair brings over 1,000 exhibitors from over 50 countries to Shanghai, establishing it as one of the preeminent art events in the country.

Find out more: 17th Shanghai Art Fair.