Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Immigration, Migration, Integration: SD Chinese Historical Museum

by Patricia Frischer

Chinatown and a fishing village was established between 2nd and 4th avenues.

I have lived in San Diego more than 23 years, but there are still many, many art resources that I have never been able to visit. Once of those, until last week, was the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. I was told about the Museum by Philip Swenson (some may remember ArtRocks Radio and Philly Swendoza!) a few years ago as he lives near by and ever since, I have looked for an occasion to visit.   Located right in the Gaslamp district and not far from the Convention Center, this museum is small but packs in such quality and so many fascinating artifacts that I am happy to report on it this month. 

What I found was a story of immigration, then migration and finally integration. The museum was only established in 1996. In the 1990’s, the local Chinese community learned that the building that had served as their church and school was slated for demolition. In response, the Historical Society rallied to save the historic mission building. Finally, the City approved plans to relocate the building to the heart of old Chinatown, at the corner of J Street and Third Avenue. They offers exhibitions, events and children and adult education.

What you will find is a treasure trove of 3-d dioramas of scenes preserving historical moments along with a selection of object of art and craft. A delightful small garden in back includes a koy pond and some lovely sculpture. Across the street is a special exhibition themed on Dragons. In the added extension  some contemporary art by a local Chinese artist is on view.San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is open 6 days a week: Sunday: 12 PM-4 PM Monday: CLOSED Tuesday-Saturday: 10:30 AM-4 PM

Between 1860 and 1890, the Chinese fished from Cabo San Lucas in Baja  in the South to Monterrey in the north, settling in Point Loma in San Diego.  Chinatown and a fishing village was established between 2nd and 4th avenues with junks harbored in the bay. There were drying racks, shanties and salt tanks where the SD Convention Center now stands.

Woo Chee Chong Store in miniature above and below. These charming reproductions are a delight.

An ornate carving depicting a scene from a book Romance of the Three Kingdoms 

An ancient stone with a natural floral design created by thousands of years of compression. 

Bedchamber with carved wood walls and inset chairs and embroidered bed linens

Hanjialin Bao : Between Black and White 

The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is proud to host a solo show featuring the works of Hanjialin Bao, a local graphic artist, comic artist, and illustrator, and student at California State University Long Beach currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. Bao’s kaleidoscopic works embrace both East Asian folk art traditions and American comic aesthetics. On show are works from her two series, Liao Zhai Zhi Yi (Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio), 2016, and Gui (Ghost), 2019-Present. “I love traditional Chinese culture. I would be proud to become one of the artists who introduces it to the rest of the globe while contributing to the diversity of the illustration world. Ideally, my works would make traditional Chinese mythology more accessible and entertaining for people of various cultures.” - Hanjialin Bao. On extended exhibit until Jan 26, 2020. More info: Natalie Zhang

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