Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Two Upcoming Exhibitions of Interest in London

The British Museum is digging out some Chinese objects from its vaults for the forthcoming Treasures from Shanghai: Ancient Chinese Bronzes and Jades. The exhibit runs from 30 January – 27 March. On display for the first time in London will be some of the collection of the Shanghai Museum’s jades and bronzes, with sections on jade and Neolithic pottery; bronzes from the Shang dynasty; objects from the Zhou dynasty (c. 1050–221 BC); tombs, hoards and technology; and some later stuff. The handscroll pictured left by the way is a great portrait of the bronze collector Wu Dacheng (1835-1890) painted by Ren Xun (1835-1893), with the face painted by Hu Qinhan around 1892 all in ink and colours on silk.

My office is a stone's throw from the Shanghai Museum on People's Square and I often pop in while strolling to work to waste an hour or so.Without doubt, along with the collection of Qing clothing and furniture as well as some nice calligraphy, the bronzes are the highlight of the collection - such as the wine vessel (pictured left) from the Shang Period, 13th–11th century BC that will be coming to London.

Meanwhile the V&A is running an exhibit to tie in with the run to the nationalistic orgy of the EXPO in Shanghai when competitive nationalism gets to run rampant on the shores of the Haung Pu for a few months by recalling the first EXPO- London in 1851. The V&A over in South Ken is hosting Shanghai Week, from January 29-February 12 with artifacts from exhibits at previous Expos since 1851. What they have exactly is not entirely clear.

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