Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Immortal Stone

Chinese jades from the Neolithic period to the twentieth century

Jades from the museum’s collection covering the most important periods in Chinese history. Included will be jades for burial; animal sculptures and luxury utensils from the Ming and Qing periods and jades from the imperial collection, as well as fake jades from the late 19th to early 20th century. There will be a catalogue available to accompany this exhibition.

I visited this exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge last weekend. My first impression was that it was quite small, the Octagon is not very big, but I was soon absorbed by the exhibits. There is one fascinating exhibit depicting the various forms of forgery that have been used to make pieces of modern jade look like antiquities. They went to a lot of trouble to do this, copying pieces from catalogues and then scorching them to discolour the jade.

As photography is not allowed in the museum I pulled out my sketchbook to draw the horse below, but unfortunately the nib of my pen snapped and I had to complete the sketch with a non waterproof gel pen. I surreptitiously added watercolour using my tiny watercolour box and waterbrush as only dry media are allowed in the galleries, but it is so small that nobody noticed.

The exhibition is on until Sunday 31 May in the Octagon (Gallery 10)
Admission is free

No comments: