You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘National treasures’ category.
The British Museum has commissioned two replicas of the early 8th century Anglo-Saxon Franks Casket by sculptor Andrew Lilley. “One option presents the casket in similar colours to the whalebone we see today, while the other has been hand painted in colours that represent how experts believe it may have looked when made.”
The original is on display at the British Museum. The right-hand side of the casket is a replica; the original is in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, Italy.
More on the Franks Casket here.
The Cotton MS. Augustus II. 106 of the Magna Carta. One of only four surviving exemplifications of the 1215 text Source Wikimedia Commons
The Magna Carta: “The greatest constitutional document of all times; the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.”
Great Gold Cross from the Staffordshire Hoard
Discover the hidden secrets of the Great Gold Cross, one of the Staffordshire Hoard’s most iconic objects. View other films in this series and find out more about the history of the West Midlands, on the History West Midlands website: http://www.historywm.com
The Didcot Iron Age Mirror
Leslie Webster, from the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), has described this rare and beautiful mirror as, “…an outstanding example of Celtic art in the later Iron Age… particularly unusual in the way that its delicately incised ornament challenges some of the conventional design rules for the decoration of these high-status objects.” Now, unless some £30,000 can be raised to buy the mirror for the Museum of Oxford, it risks being taken out of the country.
The Oxford Mail reports that the mirror was discovered near Didcot by a metal detectorist and has now been sold to an anonymous overseas buyer. Due to its historical importance however Culture Minister and Wantage MP Ed Vaizey has temporarily blocked its export to see if a buyer can be found in the UK. Vaizey is reported as saying, “The Didcot Mirror is a beautiful object dating from the Iron Age and would be a tremendous addition to any one of our many outstanding national, regional and local museums. I hope the export bar I’ve placed allows time for a UK buyer to come forward and secure it for the nation.”
Below we reported on Cambodia’s campaign to have seven precious stone statues returned to their country from the United States. Today we report on the possible loss to the nation of this rare British Iron Age mirror – an object that could very well be ‘exported’ to an overseas buyer if funds cannot be raised to keep it in Britain. This surely cannot be right. The Japanese have a system of designating important works of art as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. Other countries have similar designations and such objects are not only prohibited from being exported but must also be conserved and preserved to the highest standards. Is it not time for Britain to have similar standards to protect its cultural property?
Those interested in securing the mirror for the nation should call 0845 300 6200 for further information. See also the fund raising event organised by Dumnonika at the Museum of Oxford on Saturday, 12 July 2014. For more on Celtic mirrors Celtic Mirrors.org may be of interest.
Murasaki: A Man Fascinated by Colour
Directed by Kawase Mika (2011). 77 minutes, in Japanese with English subtitles
ATMK Co. Ltd.
Murasaki: A Man Fascinated by Colour is a documentary film following a natural dyer, Yoshioka Sachio and his natural dyeing studio in Kyoto, Japan. Yoshioka is the current head of the natural dyeing studio ‘Sometsukasa Yoshioka’, which has been established since the end of the Edo era (mid 19th century). Upon inheriting his family’s studio, Yoshioka has decided to make a return to the old techniques of procuring natural dyes from the environment. Colours produced with organically grown plants and pure spring water in Kyoto are far more beautiful and enchanting than any chemically produced dye in the laboratory. In his daily routine, Yoshioka teams up with his long serving natural dyeing specialist, Fukuda Denshi, to run the natural dyeing studio, something which has become increasingly rare in the 21st century.
Part of Yoshioka’s work involves the restoration of ancient textile works and decorative materials. He researches the techniques employed to create some of the National Treasures of Japan and traditional gigaku (ancient Chinese performing arts) costumes kept in the Shosoin treasure house (the Imperial treasure house built in 8th century), recreating those same techniques in order to restore artifacts to their original glory. Yoshioka says that it is not modern science, but traditional methods that should be used to authentically restore ancient pieces of artwork. Fukuda Denshi works daily in the studio using ancient Indian sarasa (silk or cotton printing) and kyokechi (wood binding) dyeing techniques. However, Yoshioka and Fukuda do not always succeed, and there are still ancient techniques that even they have yet to uncover.
Presented by the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.
Venue: Cinema City (Screen 2), St Andrews Street, Norwich NR2 4AD England on Monday, 2 June 2014 from 6-8pm. The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with Yoshioka Sachio, the head of the natural dyeing studio ‘Sometsukasa Yoshioka’ who is featured in the documentary.
Atmk. Co. Ltd. 2006-2011. All rights reserved.
UNESCO assess damage to Cairo Museum of Islamic Arts
Video by Rowan El Shimi for Ahram Online
Daily News Egypt reports that –
Members of the UNESCO delegation said it was especially shocking to see the museum in its current state, but praised the quick response of the rescue team. “We were so pleased when we saw in Paris the response of the rescue team,” the delegation said. “This team of 11 people were trained for two years by the Ministry of Antiquities, UNESCO and the International Council of Museums.” Another member of the delegation added; “This museum is so important for us, and when I say ‘us’, I mean anyone who cares about culture; this is the mother of all Islamic museums. Its artefacts are important, but the building itself is equally important. Excellent work has been done here in the aftermath of the explosion, but more will be needed in this coming time. We will connect the conservation specialists in Cairo to other conservation specialists abroad so Egypt can have the best technical support and these artefacts could be seen by you, your children and visitors here in Cairo.”
UNESCO has confirmed that it is setting aside $100,000 in emergency funds to help rebuild the Museum of Islamic Arts.
Full article here.
Video Heritage Channel of Korea
According to Wikipedia –
Cheomseongdae (첨성대) is an astronomical observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea. Cheomseongdae means star-gazing tower in Korean. Cheomseongdae is the oldest surviving observatory in East Asia. It dates to the 7th century to the time of kingdom of Silla, which had its capital in Gyeongju. Cheomseongdae was designated as the country’s 31st national treasure on December 20, 1962.
A Ten Won Korean banknote showing the 1,300 year-old Cheomseongdae observatory
Rummaging through some old papers this morning I came across the banknote above which I‘d saved from a trip to Korea some forty years ago. It jolted my memory of Cheomseongdae (shown on the left of the banknote) which I’d visited back then and thought the attached video might be of interest to some of your readers.
A Dogū (土偶) from the Ebisuda Tajiri site in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. 1000–400bce. Source Wikipedia
Writing in the Sainsbury Institute’s e-magazine, Nakamura Oki, guest curator of the Dogū, a Cosmos: Ancient Clay Figurines exhibition now being held at the Miho Museum in Japan, explains that the exhibition (ending 9 December 2012) extends over ten galleries and is the first large-scale show of Jōmon dogū ever held in the Kansai (Western) district of Japan.
Among the 320 objects on display are twenty one Important Cultural Properties and three National Treasures; the ‘Jōmon Venus’, the ‘Dogū with Palms Pressed Together’ and the ‘Hollow Dogū.’
A particular feature of this exhibition is that many of the Jōmon dogū are in good condition, so their extraordinary charm can be readily accessed and enjoyed. Visitors can also discover more about the crucial archaeological characteristics of these figurines, such as the significance of their poses, the meaning of their numerical content and changes in style over the period of their production.
During the Middle Jōmon period from 3500 to 2400 BC dogū were created in some distinctive postures. Dogū in the arms-outstretched pose have been found widely throughout eastern Japan, from the Chūbu to the Tōhoku district. The ‘Jōmon Venus’ and slab-formed dogū from the Ishigami site, an Important Cultural Property, share the pose of having both arms held horizontally out to the side .The presence of large numbers of dogū with arms hanging down in the Kantō region from the same period suggests that the arm pose was a cultural choice. It seems clear that the arm poses were not the result of technical limitation but were rather part of the symbolic meaning of the figurines.
Full article here.
Master Naohachi Usami, 8th generation head of the Kyoto Shōkaku-dō Conservation Studio, at work in 1978 on a Japanese painting
It is with very great sadness that The Heritage Trust reports the death this morning of Mr Naohachi Usami, 8th generation head of the Shōkaku-dō conservation studio in Kyoto – one of only a few studios in Japan accredited with conserving and restoring Japanese National Treasures and other pictorial works of national and international importance.
Beginning with his father, Naoyuki Usami, Naohachi Usami continued and promoted a policy of accepting and training foreign students in the centuries’ old Japanese tradition of mounting, restoring and conserving works of art on paper and silk. Some of those students studied at the Shōkaku-dō for only a few weeks, while others trained tirelessly there for a decade or more, eventually taking back to their respective countries skills and techniques which are now being used to conserve our precious heritage of Far Eastern pictorial art.
In Asia, Europe and the United States there are national museums and private conservation studios that have conservators, trained at the Shōkaku-dō, who are now working at those studios or running them. The Hirayama Asian Pictorial Art Conservation Studio at the British Museum is just one example which has grown out of Naohachi Usami and the Shōkaku-dō’s open-door policy towards training foreign students and will remain his abiding legacy to the world of Far Eastern pictorial art conservation.
Naohachi Usami was 86, he is succeeded by his son at the Shōkaku-dō, Mr Naohide Usami.
From The Kyoto Shimbun –