To outdo each other in impressing visitors to the World Expo in Shanghai, participating countries are putting on display their national treasures, many of which had never been taken abroad. The Little Mermaid statue from Denmark, Impressionist paintings and a Rodin sculpture from France, paintings by the Italian Renaissance master Caravaggio and other national treasures are part of the countries' bids to showcase their best. Entertainment will also be a major part of some pavilions' offerings. Among the 20,000-strong performances will be big names such as Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala from Italy, Russian singer Vitas and jazz pianist Herbie Hancock from the United States. Representatives of these pavilions see the higher profiles as a way to promote their countries' culture, as well as boost their tourism and economy. This is the first time, for example, The Little Mermaid has left Copenhagen since it was dedicated in 1913. Even during the six-day 'soft opening' of the expo, thousands of visitors swarmed to the Denmark pavilion to view the lady from Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, which is well known in China. Wang Jing, the pavilion's deputy director, said it was an honour to share the statue with tourists from all around the world. 'Denmark has never valued an expo to such an extent. [Moving the statue] was meant as a cultural exchange, and in the meantime, it can be helpful to business and trade between [Denmark] and China,' she said. The France pavilion will exhibit six paintings by Impressionist masters, such as Paul Cezanne and Vincent van Gogh, and a sculpture by Pierre Auguste Rodin, all borrowed from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Italy is showing two paintings by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Basket of Fruit and Boy With a Basket of Fruit. The Czech Republic removed two bronze Plaquettes of Good Fortune from Charles Bridge in Prague and installed them at the expo, and Nepal is displaying Buddhist relics. Luxembourg is also competing for Chinese people's attention by exhibiting the Gelle Fra (Golden Lady in English) statue, a national monument. Completed in 1923, the statue had never been out of the country. Professor Xu Mingqi, of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the expo was a good opportunity for mainland people to learn about other countries, since most of them have never gone abroad.