Remembering Xu Fancheng: A Symposium on the Life and Legacy of a Sino-Indian Scholar and Artist

In March 2018, the Pondicherry India China Friendship Association (PICFA), in collaboration with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in India, organized a symposium in memory of Xu Fancheng, a remarkable scholar, Indologist, and artist who dedicated his life to fostering cultural understanding between India and China. The event, held in Pondicherry, India, served as a testament to Xu Fancheng’s enduring legacy and the profound impact he has made on Sino-Indian relations.

Co-Partners: Govt. of Pondicherry department of Tourism ,  INTACH Pondicherry, Chennai center for China studies and Sri Aurobindo Ashram

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A Life Bridging Two Cultures

Xu Fancheng arrived in India in 1945 and remained captivated by the country for over three decades. He immersed himself in Indian culture, studying at Shantiniketan under the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore and finding spiritual solace in the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. This deep engagement with Indian thought and philosophy permeated his work, leading him to translate numerous classical texts, contemporary writings, and the philosophical works of Sri Aurobindo from Sanskrit and English into classical Chinese.

A Legacy of Artistic and Scholarly Achievements

Xu Fancheng’s artistic contributions were equally significant. He created over 300 paintings in the traditional Chinese style, capturing the essence of Indian landscapes, people, and religious iconography. His artwork served as a unique dialogue between two cultures, blending Chinese aesthetic sensibilities with Indian themes and narratives.

The Symposium: A Celebration of Hu Hsu’s Enduring Influence

The symposium in Xu Fancheng’s memory brought together a distinguished gathering of dignitaries, scholars, and artists from India and China. His Excellency Luo Zhaohui, the Chinese Ambassador to India, who was himself a student of Hu Hsu, served as the keynote speaker. Other notable participants included Shri V. Narayanasamy, the Chief Minister of Puducherry, and renowned experts in Sino-Indian relations, art history, and philosophy.

The symposium featured insightful presentations and discussions on various aspects of Hu Hsu’s life and work. Speakers explored his contributions to translation, his artistic practice, and his role as a cultural bridge between India and China. The event also showcased a special exhibition of Hu Hsu’s paintings, offering a glimpse into his artistic vision and his deep connection to India.

A Continuing Legacy of Cultural Exchange

The symposium in memory of Xu Fancheng served as a powerful reminder of the importance of cultural exchange and understanding in fostering closer ties between India and China. Xu Fancheng’s life and work stand as a testament to the transformative power of cross-cultural engagement and the lasting impact individuals can have on strengthening bonds between nations.

The event’s success also highlights the ongoing efforts of PICFA and other organizations to promote cultural dialogue and collaboration between India and China. By celebrating the life and achievements of figures like Xu Fancheng, we pave the way for a future of deeper understanding and mutual respect between these two great civilizations.

In Conclusion

The Symposium in memory of Xu Fancheng was a significant event that not only paid tribute to a remarkable scholar and artist but also reaffirmed the importance of cultural exchange and understanding in building bridges between India and China. Hu Hsu’s legacy continues to inspire future generations to engage in meaningful dialogue and collaboration, fostering a future of closer ties and mutual respect between these two ancient cultures.