As the year of 2021 began, the news that Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB) made the world debut of its Potala Palace series of gold art objects hit the headlines on the large outdoor screens at Time Square of New York City. This collection, with their unique oriental charms, showcased to the world China’s thousand-year-old sophisticated craftsmanship in forging precious metal art objects. Carrying the good wishes of an auspicious new year from the Chinese people to people all over, this SPDB issued, Potala Palace certified collection has now been made officially available to the international market.
Ranking 65th on 2020 Forbes Global 2000 and 220th on Fortune Global 500, SPDB is one of China’s top financial institutions.
And the Potala Palace, SPDB’s partner in this collaboration, is the most splendid symbol of the Tibetan culture and the entire Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China. First built in the 7th century, the ancient Potala Palace, with a solemn history of more than 1,300 years, has traditionally been regarded as an irreplaceable spiritual totem by the Tibetan people. Known as the Jewel of the Himalayas, the palace is also a cultural treasure house home to numerous cultural relics, including stupas, mandalas, porcelain, fine objects of gold and silver, Buddha statues, pagodas, jewelry, thangkas, murals, costumes, scriptures and historical documents.
Thus, during the design of the collection, the designer made extensive use of elements deemed as auspicious in the Tibetan culture, such as the Ashtamangala, a sacred suite of Eight Auspicious Signs. These patterns, ubiquitous and widely used in Tibet, represent eight propitious totems, symbolizing auspiciousness, completeness and happiness. The Lotus pattern is another auspicious element utilized by the designer. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Lotus conveys the philosophical idea that the Buddha and Bodhisattva live in the troubles of life and death without being disturbed by the troubles of life and death. Another highlight of the collection is the bracelets with solid gold beads, which are shaped after the national-treasure-class dzi beads preserved at the Potala Palace. The naturally-formed patterns on the dzi beads, associated with all kinds of favorable attributes in the Tibetan culture, have been accurately replicated. In addition, the images of the Chinese Dragon, Phoenix and Xiangyun (auspicious clouds), representing good fortune, and the image of the Gourd, representing happiness, have also been applied in the designs.
It is generally agreed that artworks must be rooted in their cultural origin in order to have a universal appeal. In that sense, the Potala Palace series not only carry forward China’s traditional Tibetan culture in a new art form but also serve as a golden bridge of culture and friendship, connecting the East with the West and spreading the purest and kindest wishes and blessings from China to people all over the world.
By issuing the Potala Palace series, SPDB is taking concrete actions to fulfill its share of responsibility in cultural promotion as it believes in the old Chinese saying that culture has the power to prosper a country and enrich a nation. This is also proof that the bank is not just a strong Chinese financial institution but also a driving force in facilitating the Chinese culture’s journey of going global.