On 20 December 2016, the Exhibition of Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden and Modern and Contemporary Celebrities' Paintings, which was sponsored by the National Library of China (National Museum of Classic Books) and China Artists Association, was open in the National Museum of Classic Books (NMCB). The exhibition got the support of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing Fine Art Academy, and other institutions, introduced open exhibition planning idea, constructed a conversation mode through the ancient and modern eras in "Mustard Seed Garden". Many leaders from different institutions attended the opening ceremony, including Han Yongjin, NLC director and NMCB director, Xu Li, secretary of the CPC Committee, vice chairman, and secretary-general of China Artists Association, Fan Di'an, president of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, He Jiaying, vice chairman of China Artists Association, and director of Gongbihua Academy of Chinese National Academy of Arts, Wu Hongliang, vice president of Beijing Fine Art Academy, Xue Yongnian, an art historian and art critic. Li Honglin, NLC deputy director and NMCB executive deputy director, presided over the opening ceremony.
Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden was an important guide book for learning traditional Chinese painting techniques. It was considered as the peak of ancient painting manual with the most editions, the largest publication and the greatest influence. It was firstly published during the period of Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty. Later, many different editions came out. The contents of Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden were enriched during the development process, and then it become one of the important works in Chinese art history. Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden had great influence. After it was published, it was renowned home and abroad, many celebrities collected it, and many scholars translated it and did research on it. Among them, Japanese painters in Edo age were influenced greatly. In modern era, Chinese painters, such as Huang Binhong, Qi Baishi, Pan Tianshou, Fu Baoshi, and so on, benefited from Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden during the beginning of learning paintings. At present, this manual is still considered as the guide book of learning Chinese paintings, which has benefited painting community more than 300 years.
The exhibition displayed more than 10 titles of valuable Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden in Chinese and foreign languages collected by the NLC, and introduced the origin and development of Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden in details. The exhibition also displayed many artists' creations based on traditional art since the 20th century, such as Ren Bonian, Wu Changshuo, Qi Baishi, Huang Binhong, Fu Baoshi, etc., contemporary artists' Chinese paintings, and other contemporary artistic works in various media and forms. The exhibition interpreted the bridge roles of Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden in painting art, and shortened the distance between the audience and historical culture and painting art. The audience could feel the lasting vitality of Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden during editions development in hundreds of years, and appreciate many painting celebrities' valuable works. On the same day, the Symposium on "Meet the Mustard Seed Garden again" was held in the NMCB.
Chinese culture has a long history, and deposits the deepest spiritual pursuit of the Chinese nation. Literature classics are not only the important carriers to inherit Chinese traditional culture, but also important spiritual passwords to realize great rejuvenation of Chinese nation and establish cultural confidence. The NMCB has been burdening the responsibility of inheriting and carrying forward Chinese excellent traditional culture, and has held many exhibitions about Chinese excellent traditional culture over the years, which play positive roles for preservation and inheritance, mining and presentation, collation and publication, and so on.