The California Academy of Sciences and the
Information Division of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office In San Francisco


A Photographic Exhibit By Wu, Shao-Tung
January 29 through July 30 Images Available

With my pictures of cranes,
I hope to enlighten and inspire people
to put greater efforts into environmental protection.

-Wu, Shao-Tung

SAN FRANCISCO (January 2000) — Cranes are an important symbol in the arts of China, Japan and Korea. They are often shown carrying a peach of longevity or a stalk of wish-fulfilling fungus, or with a pine tree, yet another symbol of long life. A crane in a pine tree is often used as a wedding motif, to wish the bride and groom a long life. Though their symbolic significance varies from culture to culture, each crane gesture and pose conveys a sense of calm and harmony.

A Thousand Cranes, an exhibit featuring fifty photographs of cranes, opens at the California Academy of Sciences on January 29. Through the lens of photographer Wu Shao-Tung, these photographs reveal the grace and beauty of these large birds that have been around for the last 34 to 50

million years. Cranes are found everywhere except South America and Antarctica. Yet, their numbers continue to decline due to habitat destruction and unregulated hunting. Mr. Wu is a retired photojournalist who has spent the last eight years observing and photographing cranes in India, Siberia, Africa, China, Australia, North America, and Japan.

A Thousand Cranes will also include a jade crane statue and life-size bronze cranes on loan to the Academy from the Asian Art Museum. The Academy will display its original copy of a Double Elephant folio of John James Audobon’s "Birds of America." The rare folio, one of only 134 sets, includes 435 hand-colored plates with 1,065 life-size figures of 489 different bird species.

As a gesture of goodwill to visitors to the exhibit, the Academy will hang 1000 folded paper cranes from the ceiling.

Generous support for A Thousand Cranes has been provided by the Lite-on Cultural Foundation in Taiwan, the C.Y. Lin Cultural Foundation in Taiwan, and the National Culture and Arts Foundation in Taiwan. A Thousand Cranes will be on display through July 30.