It is reported that the publishing of The Gourd Culture Series complied by Hu Lu has attracted great attention from the media at home and abroad. As an influential work to fill the gap of academic research on gourd culture at home and abroad, Hu and 100-odd other scholars have made painstaking efforts to complete the work. After 3 years’ hard work and many modifications in the draft, they finally presented this great work to the readers.
Recently, The Gourd Culture Series was introduced to the countries along the “the Belt and Road”. Grand conferences on the research and donation ceremonies have been held in Belarus and Maldives, which has led to numerous reports from overseas media. Experts, scholars, and people of all circles from Asia, Europe, America, and Oceania expressed congratulations on the book’s publication and spoke highly of its historic and academic value as well as its contemporary contribution. Viewpoints from some overseas experts and scholars are selected as follows for readers.
Tsutomu Tokida, President of the Association for All Nippon Gourd Fanciers:
As a teacher in Qufu Normal University, Professor Hu is excellent in gourd-themed flower-and-bird paintings. In addition, he is also an outstanding scholar in the study of gourd culture. The Gourd Culture Series, the first book on gourd culture at home and abroad, is a great work that contributes a great deal to global gourd culture research.
I called on Professor Hu twice in 2013 and 2015 respectively. I was deeply impressed by his diligence, persistence and the fruitful results he has gained when I visited the gourd museum he established. In 2014, at the 39th national conference of Association for All Nippon Gourd Fanciers, Hu donated 20 gourd paintings to the exhibition, which was highly appreciated by the audience. In 2018, when I visited Shandong Province on business, Professor Hu Lu held a ceremony of presenting The Gourd Culture Series to the Association for All Nippon Gourd Fanciers and me. I feel quite honored for that.
When I returned to Japan, I gave a detailed description of The Gourd culture Seriespresented by Mr. Hu in the proceedings of Association for All Nippon Gourd Fanciers. The Gourd Culture Series caused a sensation in Japan Association for All Nippon Gourd Fanciers. Many members of the association are willing to read the excellent book and learn the rich history of gourd culture. It is generally believed that this book fills the gap of global gourd culture research. The study of this book is groundbreaking because it connects past and present, spans the time and space, and covers a wide range of fields. It serves as a great cultural work with high academic value.
China and Japan are separated by the sea, but the two counties are culturally related. That is to say, they have wider folk foundation and more similar culture connotation of gourd culture. Through deep discussion, we reached consensus towards promoting gourd culture and strengthening gourd culture communication between the two countries. We have developed effective cooperation and made good results.
I believe that The Gourd Culture Series represent not only a new height but also a new start. It is bound to deepen cooperation between China and Japan, and even the cooperation between China and the other countries worldwide, strengthen friendship, and promote cultural exchanges.
Mr. Vacheslav Polonovsky, international academician of the Eurasian Humanities in Belarus:
Professor Hu Lu serves as a friendly messenger of cultural exchange between China and Belarus. He remains committed to gourd culture research, with nine volumes of The Gourd Series published. Therefore, gourd has served to bridge cultural communication all around the world.
I had a very pleasant and impressive communication with Professor Hu. In March, 2017, I went to the School of Music of Qufu Normal University as an academic visitor, when Professor Hu gave me warm welcome. He told me the past and present of the gourd culture, which broadened my horizon. I was amazed that such a small gourd should carry such rich cultural connotation. In 2017 and 2018, “Glamour of the Gourd — Gourd Culture Tour along the Silk Road” entered Belarus twice. Mr. Hu didn’t show up in Belarus, but his vivid gourd paintings and The Gourd Culture Series left a deep impression on the people of Belarus. At Feramoni national theatre, a nine-volume collection of The Gourd Culture Series, composed by Mr. Hu, was donated to the Chinese Cultural Center in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. This showed a Chinese scholar’s commitment to the friendly cooperation between China and Belarus.
Small as the gourd is, it can connect the whole world. Professor Hu has devoted his life to gourd culture research, and is working hard on his art research. What is more commendable is that he has deeper feelings for his country and a broader international vision. He practices China’s “Belt and Road” initiative and shows the great road and silk spirit. He is a respectable artist, as he takes gourd as the carrier to extend cultural and artistic exchanges among countries around the world.
Mr. Ali, president of Pakistan International Student Union:
Dear Mr. Hu:
The Gourd Culture Series you compiled have a lofty, profound, impressive, and breathtaking meaning. We take this opportunity to express our admiration for you and congratulation on the publication of the series.
Gourd has a long planting history and diversified functions all around the world. In Central Asia, gourd serves as both important food and distinctive crafts. They are popular among the folk, and has a wide folk foundation.
Today, “the Belt and Road” initiated by China is well under way. Promoting cultural exchanges and strengthening people-to-people exchanges are important contents in shared growth through discussion and collaboration. There is no doubt that gourd culture will become a good bridge for communication.
I am willing to be a friendly messenger to promote friendly relationship between China and Central Asia, especially Pakistan. I will work hard to make contributions to the translation and promotion of The Gourd Culture Series, so as to let more countries and people benefit from your research.
Mr. Kaba, an African Guinean scholar:
It was a culture trip with honor and amazement.
I am very much honored to make friends with Professor Hu, a well-known expert in gourd painting and gourd culture research. Under his guidance, I visited Gourd Painting Studio and listened to stories of profound Chinese gourd culture. The trip only lasted half a day, but it impressed me a lot. I surprisedly found that the ordinary gourd in our daily life is not merely a plant or a daily tool, but is so deeply involved in the development of society and the evolution of human civilization, and thus has profound cultural connotation.
What amazed me most was the nine-volume Gourd Culture Series compiled by Mr. Hu. From these books, I learned colorful gourd culture, and also felt Mr. Hu’s heartfelt love and pride towards his country and culture. I have a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and even Chinese spirit through Mr. Hu’s explanation.
In Africa and my country, gourds play important roles in daily life. People regard them as tools in daily life and created all kinds of crafts and musical instruments. As such, they have a wide folk foundation. I am willing to be a friendly messenger to let more people know China and its gourd culture, and make efforts to deepen the friendship between China and Africa.