I’ve got the opportunity to meet Yin Liang, owner of the Asian art and antiquities HeHe Gallery in Lausanne, during his last exhibition at the D10 Art Space in Geneva, in collaboration with Denis Flageollet, his Calligraphy student, and owner of De Bethune luxury watches.
Yin Liang fell in love with Switzerland, and the Canton of Vaud, since his arrival, in 2002. If integrating was probably not easy at the very beginning, he gradually traced his path and career to become the well-settled professional he actually is. He is graduated from Chinese traditional medicine and master of calligraphy. He offers calligraphy lessons all Tuesday evenings at the gallery. As antique dealer and collector, he owns HeHe art and antiquities gallery but he also supplies his services as expert to private collectors and national museums.
For centuries, the Western world has been fascinated by the immense Asian continent with its multiple and millenarian cultures. HeHe Gallery is the spot gathering all this atmosphere, settings and fragrances. Yin Liang’s criteria for selecting objects are based on their quality and rarity, bringing together in his gallery a charming disorder of treasures from Asia to the heart of Lausanne.
The name of the gallery, HeHe, comes from the Chinese representation of a pair of male characters, inseparable and smiling teenagers, embodying the unity and harmony. He jealously holds like an amulet an ivory statuette of these happy brothers.
During the exhibition a large collection of Tsuba, which uses to belong to the Dr Mène in 1913 in France, was on display. In case you doesn’t know what a Tsuba is (like me before visiting the exhibition), a Tsuba is a Japanese sword guard, typically elaborately decorated and made of iron or leather, attached to Katana swords, belonging to the samurai. The samurai adorned the katana with decorations to exhibit their prosperity and stature. These decorations could be seen on the handle and on its tsuba. The tsuba is the guard around the handle of the sword where the blade starts and the handle ends. While the sword is held in a fight, the tsuba helps keep it balanced, while at the same time, it protects the swordsman from cutting his hand on the blade. There are two basic kinds of tsuba: one is created from iron and is known as tetsu; the other type, known as kinko, uses various softer metals such as gold, copper, silver, and alloys. Both can be found as cut out and/or adorned with all manner of carvings and other decorations. Tsuba seem to exhibit all manner of designs. Some can be extremely detailed and lavish while having both symmetrical and asymmetrical designs and patterns. The ones displayed in the gallery are valued hundreds of Swiss francs each.
Among the most beautiful pieces on display, the six traditional Chinese Imperial wedding dresses were totally stunning! Liang showed me all the secrets of these fantastic historical pieces and I was more than happy touching the glorious silk! To create an imperial dress, up to thirty people work during more than a year! You can recognize the dresses belonging to the imperial family because there are the only ones representing nine dragons in their design. For reasons of humility, one was always hidden in the lining. Emperor’s robes were decorated with the ‘Twelve Symbols of Imperial Authority’: the sun, moon, seven-star constellation, mountain, fu pattern, axe head, dragon, flowery creature, seaweed, sacrificial cup, flames and the grain. Women played only a marginal role in the Qing dynasty court and government. As such, opportunities to wear formal dress, such as chaofu or dragon robes, were minimal, and surviving examples are particularly rare. Unlike those worn by men, women’s dragon robes had no front and back vent. Robes were elaborately decorated on both the body and sleeve-bands, which were stitched to the inner sleeves and embroidered with flowers, butterflies or figural scenes. The silk hand embroidery art is a living tradition in China and it is currently back to fashion.
When I asked him what does he like the most of living in Vaud? He said that the most valuable things here for him are his friends; to communicate in the same language now; and the fact that life is simple in Switzerland, relationships between people are less complicated than in his country of origin, this simplicity is even manifested in the style of Swiss cuisine. Even though the culture is less spontaneous, once the local’s open their doors it is forever, people is loyal. He does still miss his family and home food. His passions are, of course the Asian art, and fishing in the Leman lake.
At D10 Art Space he shared the exhibition with De Bethune. De Bethune watches draws inspiration from the Asian heritage so greatly priced in the West and presented two one-of-a-kind models. The first is crafted from a specific alloy little known in the Wets, using the working methods of historical Japanese metallurgists and combining this ancestral expertise with cutting-edge techniques. Conversely, the second model focuses on the quest for artisan-style techniques that involved adjusting hand engraving methods to fashion an extremely high-tech material such as titanium.
Yin Liang organizes one or two themed exhibitions per year including unique and high quality pieces. The following exhibition will take place at HeHe gallery from 3 to 16 December 2018, where we will have the privilege to delight ourselves contemplating 46 images by Hokusai, the author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (1831) which includes the internationally iconic print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, exposed last year at Le Grand Palais in Paris. Don’t miss it! (I won’t!)
Escaliers du marché 5 – 1003 Lausanne, Suisse 瑞士
YIN LIANG 尹 亮
+41 76 328 51 68
MARDI – SAMEDI
10h – 18h30
I want to give credit to my friend Shenjie Cotting who took the best pictures of this article and introduced me to Yin Liang. 谢谢你的朋友 !