Sunday, 26 February 2012

China: Journey to Sheffield

Weston Park museum in Sheffield is currently hosting a British Museum touring exhibition – 'China: Journey to the East'.  Having wanted to go and see it for a while (only partly due to my wife having a hand in installing it), I finally got the chance to go this afternoon.

The exhibition, though not the largest you’ll ever see, takes a look at a variety of aspects of Chinese culture, ancient and modern, through 4 themes – food and drink, festivals and belief, technology and play.  The objects are mostly from the British Museum, though the objects from Sheffield’s own collections and those of Manchester Museum by no means play second fiddle.

The Sheffield Museums’ contribution mainly takes the form of items from the Grice Ivories collection, which I confess I knew nothing of before today, but will definitely not forget.  My images below most definitely do not do justice to the quality of craftsmanship on show.

I was also particularly taken with the (beautifully displayed against a lightbox) shadow puppets of characters from Journey to the West – the Chinese classic tale of the Tang Dynasty monk Tripitaka’s journey to collect Buddhist scrolls from India, with a little help from a magical monkey of course.

Another group of objects also caught my eye, though I think most visitors would pass by them with little thought.  It’s the group of preserved pastries from the Astana cemetery in Xinjiang.  Apart from being fascinatingly preserved funerary objects, astute regular readers may remember that I was fortune enough to pay a visit to Astana cemetery during my trip to Xinjiang last year.

The exhibition continues until 9th April, so you’ve got no excuse for not going to see it for yourself!

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.