A woman looks at an exhibit of the Jin Yong Gallery at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum on Tuesday. The exhibition will officially open to the public on Wednesday.
Dignitaries and celebrities in Hong Kong attended an event on Tuesday to honor Jin Yong, whose picaresque tales of martial arts heroes are beloved throughout the Chinese-speaking world.
The occasion marked the grand opening at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum of Jin Yong Gallery, a permanent exhibition of works by Louis Cha Leung-yung, better known by his pen name, Jin Yong.
The exhibition, which opens to the public on Wednesday, presents nearly 300 items, including manuscripts, photographs, early editions of his novels, film posters, recordings of TV series' theme songs and Jin Yong's personal items, such as a chessboard and a camera.
Jin Yong's novels have been adapted more than 90 times for the big screen and television.
"Cha (Jin Yong) has made a distinctive contribution to the development of Hong Kong's society and culture. With his in-depth knowledge and elegant writing, he succeeded in advancing martial arts novels from leisure reading to the level of literary classics, even becoming a subject for experts and scholars to study and discuss," Lau Kong-wah, secretary for home affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, said while officiating at the opening ceremony.
"His works have had a far-reaching impact on Hong Kong's popular culture and even on global Chinese literature," Lau added.
One valuable manuscript on display is The Smiling, Proud Wanderer that was published in Singaporean newspaper Shin Min Daily News in 1967. "Jin Yong's thought process is clear and smooth, for we seldom see corrections or changes to his draft," said Brian Lam Kwok-fai, a curator at the museum.
Other valuable exhibits include an offprint edition of The Eagle-shooting Heroes from the 1950s.<
The museum gives visitors a vicarious feel of China's landscape through an interactive multimedia device, representing the experiences of the protagonists in Jin Yong's novels with a combination of traditional Chinese cultural elements and custom stories.
Jin Yong fans can test their knowledge about his novels through a quiz, and the exhibition also includes an interactive zone covering 232 square meters, where visitors can exchange blows with martial arts masters in Jin Yong's novels and print the fighting scenes in the form of comics through an interactive device by working with Jin Yong's chief illustrator, Lee Chi-ching, who has drawn comics and covers for Jin Yong's novels since the 1990s.
Lee told China Daily that the exhibition unveils a wide range of his original drawings for Jin Yong's comics that have not been made public before.
Adam Cheng Siu-chow and Liza Wang Ming-chun, who were among the first generations of actors and actresses to play lead roles in drama series based on Jin Yong's novels, and gained fame on the Chinese mainland and in the wider Chinese-speaking community, also attended the opening ceremony.
Cheng said he admired the novelist's broad knowledge of Chinese history, culture, customs and geography, and that it is hard to believe that Jin Yong, as the author of so many martial arts novels, does not know how to use martial arts.
Wang said she was lucky to be selected to star in a TV series adaptation of Jin Yong's The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber, which first aired in Hong Kong in 1978. Wang recalled Jin Yong was "kind and gentle".
The museum spent HK million (.3 million) on modifying its venue and setting up the exhibitions.