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Chinese New Year!

8 February 2013 by Lucy

Most of us have already celebrated the New Year, and enough time has passed that we have made – and broken – New Year’s resolutions a plenty!

If like me you’ve taken a while to get started with your plans to start a new fitness regime or take up a new hobby, why not have another crack at starting a fresh this Sunday, with the dawning of the Chinese New Year.

2013 is the Year of the Snake, and World Museum can certainly boast a lot of snakes in its collections. You can visit the Clore Natural History Centre to see some of the snake specimens and skeletons on display, or have a look at our online collection if you really want to have a good nose at what’s in our stores. Read more…

Free copies of the John Moores China catalogue

21 December 2012 by Karen

Galleries are fab places during the Christmas holidays. They’re quiet, uplifting, not the television, and you leave feeling slightly virtuous before returning to the orgy of chocolate and booze that has been your diet for most of December. And in the case of our venues, they’re totally free.

If you wander to the Walker this festive season to catch the John Moores Painting Prize before it closes on 6 January, you’ll no doubt see the rather large and rather excellent prize winners from the John Moores China exhibition. These are just five of the 63 pieces from the Shanghai exhibition, all of which are featured in the Chinese exhibition catalogue. In the spirit of festive generosity we’re giving away this Chinese catalogue for free to anyone who buys a copy of our own John Moores exhibition catalogue. Read more…

Ready to set sail…

23 November 2011 by Gemma

Main sail before treatment and junk after conservation

Main sail before treatment and junk after conservation

The conservation of the Chinese junk from Swatow is now complete. Being such an interesting project, I will briefly share the treatment processes which have transformed a dirty, unstable model, back to its original beauty.

Firstly the hull and wooden components required cleaning. The model was vacuumed to remove any loose dirt on the deck and inside the bulkheads. After testing to find the safest, and most effective cleaning materials, the hull was cleaning using detergent in deionised water, which made a huge difference to the models appearance, as the shine of the wood oil can now be appreciated. The painted surfaces on the model were carefully cleaned using saliva, which is a surprisingly effective cleaning material. Read more…

Chinese Junk

5 October 2011 by Gemma

chinese junk ship model

Ship models have been made for centuries, representing changes in style and function of ships and boats, all around the world, making them such interesting objects! My current project in ship and historic model conservation illustrates this point well, as it is a model of a Chinese junk. A “junk” is a ship from China, and as you can see they are most unlike the European ships we are used to seeing. This project represents a challenge as the historical context of objects is an important consideration when conserving objects, and I had no knowledge about junks prior to starting the project. Read more…

Fan-tastic

7 July 2011 by Eleanor

Telescopic handheld fan

 Chinese Export Hand-held Fan

National Museums Liverpool’s conservation studios have been a hive of activity over the past few months, as conservators have been busy preparing objects for the new Museum of Liverpool, which opens in just 12 days’ time. 

Recently I have been lucky enough to conserve a number of handheld fans which will be exhibited in the new museum’s Global City gallery.  When I found out that I would be conserving fans, I expected to encounter paper and perhaps some plastic or wooden sticks, but I was in for a much bigger treat!  Lacquer, ivory, tortoiseshell, silk, feathers, gold pigment and mother of pearl were just some of the materials that I came across.  Read more…

Liverpool’s Chinese Family Tree

30 June 2011 by Lucy

How much do you know about your parents and grandparents?

Bernie, Denise and Sun Yui worked with us to find out more about their families who feature in a new interactive Family Tree displayed in East meets west – The Story of Shanghai and Liverpool, part of the new Museum of Liverpool opening on July 19th.

Copies of marriage certificates, passenger lists and trade directories have been put together in a visual log that will provide visitors with plenty of ideas on how to track down family members past and present. These personal stories took us to archives in Shanghai where researchers tried to trace the participants’ Grandfathers – Sow Loo, Ching Ming and Leung Ngau. Read more…

Liverpool’s Chinese community during the Blitz

4 May 2011 by Lucy

Francesca Aiken, Assistant Exhibition Curator for the Global City Gallery in the new Museum of Liverpool writes:


Seventy years since the May Blitz, the spirit of Pitt Street lives on.

 

Seventy years ago this month, a devastating aerial bombardment struck Liverpool, ending lives, demolishing homes and displacing whole communities. It is in tribute to “the spirit of an unconquered people” that Liverpool’s Anglo-Chinese community were part of the effort to keep calm and carry on, piecing back together not just buildings but homes and livelihoods.

Pitt Street, 1915, shaped by tall converted warehouse buildings and cobbled streets, stretches out under the constant watch of St Michaels Church spire, busy with dozens of Chinese businesses, from boarding houses to grocers and tobacconists. This was the birthplace of Liverpool’s Chinese community, the destination for seamen from all over the world including Spain, the Philippines, Italy, the West Indies and Scandinavia – to name just a few. To the people who lived and grew up there, this was ‘world’s end.’ Pitt Street was the place to go, bustling with shops and cafes all within easy reach of the docks. Kwong Shang Lung was one of the city’s earliest grocers to specialise in Chinese food, trading from 1915 until the bombs fell in 1941. Read more…

Where has my father gone?

21 March 2011 by Lucy

Francesca Aiken, assistant exhibition curator for the Museum of Liverpool’s Global City Gallery writes:


David Yip

David Yip narrated ‘Where has my father gone?’ for East meets West – The Story of Shanghai and Liverpool. With special thanks to David Yip and Lisa O’Neil for providing these images.

“How could it happen? How could I not know about this?” was David Yip’s response when he heard for the first time about the enforced repatriation of hundreds of seamen from Liverpool’s Chinese community that took place in 1946.

For many of those directly affected, the wives and children of Chinese seamen who worked for the Merchant Navy during the Second World War, the truth about their sudden disappearance wasn’t known until decades later – many thought they had been abandoned. Now, 65 years later, more and more are discovering the truth. Read more…

Chinese Artists

14 March 2011 by stepheng

Chinese painting of sailing ship.

Image courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

I like the way Chinese artists have depicted the West over the centuries, particularly on ceramics and canvas.

Their work shows a fine delicacy which is charming as well as inspirational. Chinese marine art perhaps lacks the sense of movement captured by European artists but I am drawn in by the incredible technical detail.

A number of Chinese artists worked in Far East ports specialising in ship portraits for Western captains.

Several fine examples from the period 1850 to 1910 are on display in Merseyside Maritime Museum’s Art & the Sea gallery. Read more…

Farewell my Valentine

10 February 2011 by Lucy

Francesca Aiken, assistant exhibition curator for the Global City gallery in the new Museum of Liverpool says:

Photograph of porcelain tea cup and saucer

‘The Sailors Farewell’ cup and saucer, on display in the Global City gallery from July in the new Museum of Liverpool


 

Working late, forgot the flowers, no card this year? Spare a thought for the wife of this sailor, whose husband must soon depart for many weeks or months on board ship without contact from home.

 

A sailor’s life was a dangerous one, where being swept overboard or wrecked without hope of rescue were a constant risk.  Forget texts or Facebook, this young woman would have to wait until he returned home to know if he was safe or not.

Known as ‘The Sailors Farewell’ this porcelain teacup and saucer was made in China in the early 1800s for sale to European socialites who enjoyed the delicate art of tea drinking.

Due to be displayed in the new Museum of Liverpool opening this July, this rare example of a European couple painted by Chinese artists will feature in the Global City gallery alongside some of the best examples of Liverpool and Chinese pottery from the 18th and 19th centuries.

East meets West the story of Shanghai and Liverpool illustrates how potters in Liverpool upped their game by imitating Chinese porcelain (even going so far as to add fake Chinese marks to the base) to meet the insatiable demand of consumers.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.