3rd February 2023 – (Hong Kong) “The Hong Kong Jockey Club Series: Women and Femininity in Ancient China – Treasures from the Nanjing Museum” exhibition being held at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum (HKHM) will end on 27th February (Monday).
A total of 118 exquisite artefacts from the Nanjing Museum, covering the daily necessities and accessories of ancient Chinese women; the embroidery, paintings and artefacts created by talented ancient women; as well as paintings depicting women by famous literati in the past, are on display in Hong Kong for the first time. It is valuable that 21 of them are grade-one national treasures. Members of the public are encouraged to grasp the opportunity to visit this not-to-be-missed exhibition at the HKHM located at 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin.
The exhibition is composed of four parts, showing the fashionable demeanour, wisdom, lifestyles and talents of ancient Chinese women in multiple perspectives and demonstrating the essence of Chinese traditional culture and art. The first part surrounds the change of fashions in hairstyles, make-up and clothing of ancient women. Highlight exhibits include a grade-one national treasure, a 13-metre-long Qing dynasty handscroll “Ancient court ladies at leisure”. This silk painting guides viewers through more than 20 activity sites, such as bamboo forests, gardens, pavilions and terraces, to know more about the variety of leisure activities of ancient women. The painting is like a pictorial guide to ancient leisure activities. The “Pottery figure of a female dancer” shows the graceful posture of a dancing lady in the Tang dynasty, which expresses the beauty of ancient ladies.
The second part of the exhibition enables visitors to explore the everyday life of women in different social classes through the display of their daily living necessities and accessories. The grade-one national treasure “Golden court crown” on display is a headdress worn by titled noblewomen attending formal occasions in the Qing dynasty, which symbolises the status and glory of the ancient women.
The third part is a collection of paintings, calligraphies, embroideries and artefacts created by talented Chinese women in different dynasties, which demonstrate their talents and ingenuity. The not-to-be-missed exhibits include the “Flowers and butterflies” hanging scroll created by female painter Ma Quan in the Qing dynasty; and the embroidery “American actress – Beecher”, a classic work created by the “Needle Sage”, the late Qing dynasty embroidery master Shen Shou. She integrated the principles and techniques of chiaroscuro and perspective borrowed from Western paintings into traditional Suzhou embroidery, to present the texture of human skin and clothing realistically.
The last part of the exhibition is paintings of women by artists, which allow visitors to explore the stories of these legendary women. Wonderful exhibits include painting “Li Duanduan” by Tang Yin, one of the four painting masters of the Ming dynasty, which tells the story of Tang poet Cui Ya and the famous courtesan Li Duanduan, and more.
This exhibition has introduced many multimedia interactive elements, and visitors can mix and match the hairstyles, accessories and make-up of ancient women with the interactive game and create their own ideal model of ancient women. They can also tailor-make a mobile wallpaper with the auspicious patterns from the exhibits, or take photos with an Instagram filter drawn by Hong Kong artist Messy Desk.
In response to the exhibition, the HKHM has specifically curated the section “Women of Our City”. Through listening to fascinating stories of four incredible and inspiring Hong Kong women, namely eminent image consultant Tina Liu, world-renowned cyclist Sarah Lee, radio host Bonnie Wong (Ah Jeng) and fire station officer Scarlett Yiu, and by viewing the museum collections of pop culture, visitors can explore the images of contemporary females in Hong Kong.
The admission fee to the exhibition is $10 and a half-price concession is available to full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities. Free public guided tours in Cantonese are available everyday (except Tuesday) at 12.45pm and 3.15pm. On Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, Putonghua and English tours are available at noon and 3.45pm respectively. The museum is holding a series of free-of-charge special programmes for the public, including embroidery workshops, classical Chinese dance performance and lectures. For details of the exhibition, registration of special programmes and admission arrangements, please visit the website at www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk/en_US/web/hm/exhibitions/data/exid274.html or call 2180 8188 for enquiries.
The exhibition is jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the Nanjing Museum, jointly organised by the HKHM and the Nanjing Museum, and under the exclusive sponsorship of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). It is one of the many initiatives supported by the HKJC’s approved donation of $630 million to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, demonstrating that the HKJC is resolute in pursuing its purpose of acting continuously for the betterment of society, all in support of creating stronger communities together.
To safeguard public health, all persons entering indoor venues under the management of the LCSD must wear their own masks.