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Shanghai – a comic strip depicting Marco Polo’s journey

Shanghai, il viaggio di Marco Polo a fumetti
Shanghai, il viaggio di Marco Polo a fumetti

As part of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of Marco Polo’s death (1324-2024) and the 770th anniversary of his birth (1254-2024), the Italian Cultural Institute of Shanghai has organised the exhibition “Il mondo a fumetti: Le meraviglie di Marco Polo”, which will be open from 28 May to 31 August 2024, in collaboration with the Kleiner Flug publishing house and the Florence International School of Comics. The event, which has also been organised in collaboration with the Consulate General, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Shanghai Metro, will be held inside the Middle Longhua Road underground station (lines 7 and 12) in Shanghai, where almost 10,000 people transit every day.

The exhibition sets out to use the captivating and universal language of comics to recount Marco Polo’s journey through Asia and his long stay in China, which spanned from 1274 to 1291. Marco Polo’s incredible journey, which we know thanks to the account composed by Rustichello da Pisa in a “book of wonders” better known as The Travels of Marco Polo, perfectly fulfils the publisher Kleiner Flug’s intentions of demonstrating that the mixing of languages and cultures is an experience of profound and rich knowledge.

The drawings on display will depict both Marco Polo’s childhood, which he spent in Venice, and his extraordinary journey to China and opinions, celebrating the subtle, profound bond that unites Italy and China – a bond made up of peaceful encounters and animated by the desire to seek new knowledge.

Kleiner Flug is a Florence-based publishing house specialising in graphic novels dealing with biographies of illustrious artists, historical figures and adaptations of literary and theatrical works. It has been active since 2013. Its aim is to use the language of comics to talk about historical figures, literature, theatre and art in an innovative way, so as to bring them closer to young people, but also to tell something new to those who may already know those subjects or those characters.

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