Our venues

Blog

Posts tagged with 'chinatown'

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…

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…

Liverpool’s Chinatown through the lens: Winners

4 June 2010 by davidl

With China Through the lens of John Thomson 1868 – 1872 closing at Merseyside Maritime Museum this Sunday, our Liverpool’s Chinatown Through the lens Flickr competition has now also come to an end and it is time to reveal the winners.

We had a really interesting range of entries and exhibition curator and competition judge Betty Yao found it difficult to choose the winner from nearly 200 photos. However after much deliberation Betty chose three images, which have all also been blogged about over the course of the competition, with the overall winner being ‘Chinese New Year – People’ by Lee Carus, an image she says she ‘returned again and again to’ because ‘…there is so much there – capturing the people, the colours’. Congratulations to Lee, who wins a banquet meal for two at Yuet Ben.

The two lucky runners-up are Graham Morgan, whose enigmatic shot Betty praised ‘for capturing the moment’, and Mark McGowan, whose Chinese arch photo reminded her of two atmospheric images from the exhibition; of the pagoda reflected on the lake, and the hazy shot of a man standing by the River Min.

Congratulations to all our entrants, and one final reminder to visit the Maritime Museum this weekend for your last chance to see John Thomson’s fascinating images.

Read more…

Liverpool’s Chinatown through the lens: Closed!

24 May 2010 by davidl

The Liverpool’s Chinatown through the lens photo competition has ended today, and there is a fantastic range of interesting photos in the competition pool on Flickr. Thanks to all those people who submitted photographs – the images make for fascinating browsing! The winner will receive a banquet for two at Yuet Ben, with two runners-up winning exhibition catalogues.

China Through the lens of John Thomson 1868-72 is only on at Merseyside Maritime Museum until 6 June, so get yourself down there and don’t miss this stunning exhibition.

The winner and runners-up will be announced shortly – watch this space! Read more…

Liverpool’s Chinatown through the lens: People

12 May 2010 by davidl

Complex and complicated are not quite the same thing, a distinction which I think is captured in this week’s highlight from our Liverpool’s Chinatown through the lens Flickr competition, by Flickr user Lee Carus; the scene is busy with detail but not over-crowded, and carefully shot – the photographer waited patiently for some time before snapping this image.

Very colourful photo of people, flags and buildings

Chinese New Year – People © www.leecarus-photography.net

Quite a few different subjects that I have blogged about over the past few weeks appear here – the buildings in Chinatown, the crowds, the flags – but most prominent is the saturation in vivid colour. Practically no two areas use quite the same colour or hue, and the jostling of a brilliant orange jacket to a pearlescent green flag, shimmering gold surrounded by whites, pinks and blues, mirrors the heaving crowds.

Despite the level of detail, the composition is spacious: the cream buildings in the background and the smoke whiting-out the centre is effective in both throwing the more sharply defined foreground figures into relief and receding the background crowds and buildings, a depth enhanced by the stolid black railings to the right leading into the image. Also interesting is the fact that although the crowds are the ostensible subject, those figures in the background left comprise a fairly abstract mass of curves and shapes, the effect being like a painter suggesting a figure or object with a few simple flicks of a paintbrush – they become real as the viewer steps away. See the photo in a large size. Read more…

Liverpool’s Chinatown through the lens: Old and Light

28 April 2010 by davidl

Older buildings have often outlived most of the people who set inside them, but their meaning and significance is usually defined by the way they are used by those same people. This week’s highlight from our Liverpool’s Chinatown through the lens Flickr competition, by Flickr user diaryof70steen, is an attractive composition which, though it consists of two buildings and nothing else, says much about different cultures and communities over time.

19th-century stone building with Corinthian columns and dome beside a colourful Chinese arch

old and light © diaryof70steen

Visually the image creates a striking parallel between the vibrancy of the Chinese arch, its curved roofs and intricate patterns, and the stoic grandeur of the Black-E centre, with its magnificent dome and Corinthian columns. With a whited-out sky the many shapes and patterns of the buildings stand out crisply in an almost abstract way.

More than the architecture however, the photo tells of a long history of different Liverpudlian communities. The Black-E – taking its name from its smoke-stained stonework that was cleaned in the 1980s – combines a contemporary arts centre with a community centre (the UK’s first community arts project), and is based in the former Great George Street Chapel, which closed in 1967. This in turn had been the centre for a programme of artistic, educational and social welfare activities as well as worship, and was itself the second Chapel on the site, opening in 1841 after the 1811 original was destroyed by fire. It seems appropriate that a building so long the hub of many community activities is captured here next to a great symbol of Liverpool’s long-established Chinese community, itself also dating from the 19th century. See the photo in a large size. Read more…

Liverpool’s Chinatown through the lens: Masks

21 April 2010 by davidl

While holiday snaps are often intended to record a static memory of a place and mood – think of all those posed pictures of your family on the beach with fixed smiles – the more artistic photograph can often capture a whole narrative in a single image. I think in this week’s highlight from our Liverpool’s Chinatown through the lens Flickr competition, by Flickr user Graham Morgan (greybeats), something of both approaches is captured.

Chinese New Year photograph with colourful Chinese dragon on the right and men wreathed in smoke on the left

Chinese New Year © Graham Morgan

More familiar as a writhing, twisting creature, the Chinese dragon here is seen as a massive, still block of colours, occupying the whole right side of the image: the lack of body makes it hard to imagine its full size, and it certainly looks like it is towering menacingly over the people on the left. However what is especially interesting about the dragon and the people are their positions and their masks: all of the figures are to some extent covering their faces and none appear to directly acknowledge the others; instead all are facing different directions in a curious, almost posed manner.

The viewer knows that there are really people inside the dragon, hidden under the costume – similarly the man in the foreground half-covers his face, presumably against smoke and noise, the figure behind is half-masked (or half-unmasked?), and those further back still are almost gone completely behind the smoke; everyone is only half-revealed, as though hovering between two personalities, or emerging from a chrysalis. Though it is Chinese New Year, it seems apt that this reminds me of the Roman god Janus (from whom we get the name January), often depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions: back to the old year and forward to the new. This image captures that idea of uncertain but exciting transition, change and ambiguity. See the photo in a large size. Read more…

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

Award-winning blog

corpcomms awards winner logo

Subscribe

RSS RSS Feed

Disclaimer

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.