Tag Archives: British Museum

Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Columbia @ British Museum

大英博物館で開催中の「Beyond El Dorado」展(10月17日〜翌年3月23日)を観に行った。普段は行かない種類の展覧会なのだが、たまたまチケットをもらったのだ。

スペイン語で「金箔をかぶせた」または「黄金の人」を意味するエル・ドラードは、全身に金粉を塗り、コロンビアのグアタビータ湖に飛び込む儀式を行っていたMuisca(ムイスカ)族の長の名前で、アンデスの奥地に存在するとされた黄金郷・エル・ドラード伝説の基となった。コロンビアの首都・ボゴタにあるMuseo del Oro(金博物館)と共に企画したこの展覧会では、金のみならず、グアタビータ湖周辺から発掘された陶器や石の遺物など、Museo del Oroから約200点、大英博物館のコレクション約100点を展示。16世紀のスペインのコンキスタドールの到来以前の、古代コロンビアの豊かで多様な文化を紹介する。



I went to see “Beyond El Dorado” exhibition at British Museum. I rarely go this kind of exhibition, but I got a free ticket. That’s the reason.

El Dorado, ‘the gilded or golden one’ in Spanish, is the name of a Muisca tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and, as an initiation rite, dived into the Guatavita Lake in Columbia. It became the name of a legendary “Lost City of Gold.” Organised with Museo del Oro (museum of gold) in Bogotá, this exhibition features over 200 objects from Museo del Oro and around 100 from the British Museum’s collection, not only objects made of gold but also of ceramic and other materials excavated near the lakes, and explores the rich and diverse cultures of ancient Colombia before the Spanish arrivals in the 16th centry.

Unlike in Europe, gold was not valued as currency in pre-Hispanic Colombia but it had symbolic and spiritual meaning for the elite to claim their power, both in life and in death. Tools for rituals, ornaments, animal objects (each animal represents different meaning), and musical instruments etc. – those artifacts show us the advanced goldworking techniques and complex craftsmanship, which were different in techniques and designs across the tribes. I’ve never seen those ancient artifacts from Columbia and I enjoyed learning something new, but I prefer to see them in Columbia, not in London especially during the wet and dark November.

I would think people are more distracted by concurrent Shunga exhibition, and you know why. There was a plan to bring the exhibition to Japan, but I read that no museum was courageous enough to host it because of its explicit portrayal of sex. What a shame!


Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum @ British Museum

私たちはローマ帝国の文明に大いに興味があり、ローマではローマ遺跡や博物館を見て歩き、大規模なローマ遺跡が良い状態で数多く残っているトルコ南西部へも旅行し、2000年前の高度な文明・文化に感銘を受けた。なので、最近始まった大英博物館の「Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum」展(3月28日〜9月29日)は、是非見たい展覧会リストの最上位にあった。


屋敷の階段の下で肩寄せあう家族や悶え苦しむ犬の石膏型に心を痛ませ、400度にもなる火山灰によって瞬時に灰の塊となった、パンや野菜、果物などの食べ物や、真っ黒の炭と化した木製家具など、今まで見たこともないものに驚かされる。絵画や壁画、レリーフ、モザイクからは、当時の服装、パーティや娯楽の様子(横になってお酒を飲む男性の絵)、性に対する姿勢、様々な神々を信ずる多神教信仰(酒の神・バックスのレリーフ)、そして当時の動物や植物などが見て取れる。他にも、ローマ時代のアクセサリー(蛇の形の金のブレスレット)や食器類、道具など、興味深いものがたくさん展示されている。→写眞:Daily Mail


We are highly interested in civilisation of Roman Empire, and fascinated by visiting the Roman ruins and museums in Rome and other places such as south west Turkey where large scale Roman ruins remain in good shape. So, British Museum’s new exhibition of “Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum” (Mar 28 – Sep 29) is the must-see for us.

Pompeii and Herculaneum were two thriving civilisations on the Bay of Naples in southern Italy, but destroyed and buried by the cataclysmic volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in just 24 hours in 79AD. Preserved under ash, the two cities were discovered in their near-perfect state almost 1,700 years later. This exhibition brings together more than 250 artefacts, including recent discoveries and finds from earlier excavations, most of which have never been seen outside Italy.  Findings from the sites give us a glimpse of the everyday life of the people of the two Roman cities. It is said that the population in Herculaneum were more prosperous than pompeii, so you can know the upper class people’s lifestyle from the findings from there. →more photos: Daily Mail

It was fascinating to see casts of some of the victims of the eruption such as a family of four who are huddled together under the stairs of their villa, as well as a pitiful plaster cast of a dog. I’ve never seen totally carbonised food such as bread, vegetables and fruits, as well as charcoaled wood furniture, due to the volcanic ash of 400c. Paintings, frescos, reliefes and mosaics that are still retaining intense colours, show us how Romans lived – their clothing, how they partied and enjoyed life (ex. painting of a man reclining to drink), their attitudes towards sex, and the their pluralistic religion (ex. relief of Bacchus), as well as the fauna and flora of the time. Another interesting objects in the exhibition are Roman accessories (ex. snake-shaped gold bracelet) and everyday life objects such as cutleries and pots.

We like the exhibition a lot, but one of our Italian friend was not so excited about it like us, saying that she prefers to see them in Pompeii… Of course, it is better to walk around the site of Pompeii, and to see a large collection of findings from the sites at Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, but she shouldn’t be too harsh – we are in London, and I think this is the best they can do here!

Wall painting of the baker Terentius Neo and his wife. From the House of Terentius Neo, Pompeii. AD 50–79


The Sunday Times’ special poster for the exhibition

“Treasures of Heaven” Exhibition @ British Museum

Vodpod videos no longer available.

中世キリスト教の重要美術品を集めた大英博物館の新しい展覧会「Treasures of Heaven: saints, relics and devotion in medieval Europe」(6月23日〜10月9日)が先週始まった。大英博物館のコレクションに加え、バチカン、ヨーロッパの教会の宝庫、アメリカやヨーロッパの美術館など40以上の団体から集められた、キリストや聖人、殉教者の遺物を納めた聖骨箱など、150以上もの貴重な美術品が展示されている(展示品写真)。大英博物館によると、イギリスでまとまった数の宗教美術品が一堂に見られるのは、イコンの破壊が広く行われた16世紀の宗教改革の時以来だそう。

展示されている主な遺品は、Crown of Thorns(キリストのかぶせられた荊冠)の一部だとされる3本の刺、十字架の一部、聖ブラシウスの足(写真)、聖母マリアの母乳、聖ヨハネの髪の毛、最も古いものの一つであるキリストの自印聖像など。それらが納められている、銀や金細工の施された聖骨箱の素晴らしいこと。後期ローマ帝国時代に始まり約1000年に渡る中世に作られたこれらの美術品は、それ以降の時代の精巧さに比べて少し荒削りだったりするけれど、深い信仰心と職人たちの情熱が伝わってくる。ドーム(クーポラ)を模した少し薄暗い展示室も雰囲気満点。静謐な心持ちになれる。

British Museum‘s new exhibition, just started last week, is “Treasures of Heaven: saints, relics and devotion in medieval Europe” (June 23 to October 9), featuring over 150 sacred treasures of the medieval age. In addition to the British Museum’s own pre-eminent collection, the important relics of Christ and the saints and other artifacts were drawn from more than 40 institutions including the Vatican, European church treasuries, museums from the USA and Europe (photographs of treasures). British Museum website says that religious treasures have not been seen in significant numbers in the UK since the Reformation in the 16th century, when iconoclasm was widely observed throughout England.

Relics featured in the exhibition include three thorns thought to be from the Crown of Thorns, fragments of the True Cross, the foot of St Blaise (photo), the breast milk of the Virgin Mary, the hair of St John the Evangelist, and the Mandylion of Edessa (one of the earliest known likenesses of Jesus). How graceful and exquisite the ornate reliquaries containing those relics are! Those religious treasures, produced during Middle Ages which started from the late Roman period and lasted 1000 years, are not necessarily as elaborate or fancy as those of the later periods, but you can feel strong faith and passion of the craftsmen of the age. The dome-shaped dark exhibition room, is solemn and serene, and make everyone feel calm and peaceful.

Store Street Espresso Café @ Bloomsbury

昨年10月に、Tottenham Court Road(トッテナム・コート・ロード)からStore Streetを東にずんずん行ったところにオープンした、Store Street Espresso。入口を入ると、カウンター上の木のプレートに並べられている、美味しそうなブラウニーやマフィン、サンドイッチなどが目に入る。白壁には現代アートが飾られ、天窓から太陽の光が差し込む明るくてシンプルな店内は、近くにあるUCL(ユニヴァーシティ・カレッジ・ロンドン)らしき学生で満席状態。雰囲気はいいんだけれど、唯一木の椅子が固いのが難点。特に、左手中程にある、木の板の上にクッションが置かれた席は、長居するとお尻が痛くなってしまう。

独立系のコーヒーが美味しくて感じのいいカフェは、あの辺りには少ない。トッテナム・コート・ロードでの買い物や、近くにあるBritish Museum(大英博物館)での美術鑑賞の帰りに、コーヒーの名店にはお決まりのSquare Mile coffeeから仕入れた豆でいれた、美味しいコーヒーをどうぞ。

Store Street Espresso, opened last October, is located on Store Street, going east from Tottenham Court Road. When you step in the café, good-looking muffins, brownies, and sandwiches on cute wooden boards warmly welcome you. The sitting area is filled with sun shine streaming in through skylights, and modern arts add some excitement to pure white walls. No wonder why this simple and cozy café was full of customers, probably most of them are students of nearby UCL. Nearly perfect, but the only problem is their hard wooden chairs, especially seating of the table on the middle left is just wooden boards with some cushions on the top, and it may hurt your bottom when sitting long.

But there are only few independent nice cafés in the area yet. So when on shopping at Tottenham Court Road or on visit to nearby British Museum, enjoy a good cup of London’s famous Square Mile coffee.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo di Ferragosto) @ Renoir Cinema

Renoir Cinema

昨日、Brunswick CentreにあるRenoir Cinemaで、イタリア映画「8月のランチ」を観た。8月15日のFerragosto(聖母被昇天祭)の話なので、15日に観ようかと思ったが、週末の人出を避けて月曜日にした(平日5時まではチケット代も£3安い)。2008年の東京国際映画祭のコンペティション部門にも選ばれたこの作品では、話題を呼んだマフィア映画「ゴモラ」(Gomorra)の脚本の共同執筆者である、ジャンニ・ディ・グレゴリオが主演・監督を務めた。グレゴリオが自らの母親を介護した経験にインスピレーションを得た、この映画は、独り身で母親とローマの古いアパートに2人暮らしの熟年男のジャンニが、イタリア全土がバカンスに出かける8月15日聖母被昇天祭の前日に、滞納中の管理費と電気代と引き換えに、愛人と旅行に出かける管理人の母親を、数日預かる約束をしたところから始まる。母親だけという約束が管理人の叔母、そして知人の医者の母親と、気づけば4人の高齢の女性の面倒を見ることになるはめに。ジャンニは、ワインをあおりながら、嫌々ながらも甲斐甲斐しく世話を焼く。最初はぎくしゃくしていた個性的な老女4人だけれど、最後は意気投合。最後は楽しく聖母被昇天祭のランチを祝うというストーリー。老人介護というシリアスなトピックを扱いながらも、イタリア映画らしく、笑いを交えた、ほのぼのとしたハッピーな映画に仕上がっている。まあ4人とも元気だから介護とは言わないか。高齢の親を残してバカンスに行くイタリア人は身勝手かもしれないけれども、一人で残しておくのは気が引けるのか、面倒を見てくれる人を捜してから出かける辺りが、なんだか憎めない(それとも単にマザコンなだけ?)。

Renoir Cinemaは、アートハウス映画を上映しているCurzon Cinema系の映画館(スクリーン数2)。ユニバーシティ・カレッジ・ロンドンや大英博物館が近いという場所柄か、主にハリウッドを除く外国映画(特にフランス映画)やインディペンデント映画を上映している。映画館の入っているBrunswick Centreは、60年代にデザインされ1976年に完成した、モダニズム建築の集合住宅と商業施設コンプレックス。老朽化のための改築計画は、度重なる住人の反対によって頓挫していたが、ついに2002年に改築が始まり、2006年に商業施設が再オープンした。現在、Renoir Cinemaの他、高級スーパーのウェイトローズ、カフェ、レストラン、ドラッグストア、ファッション・ブティック等が入居している。

We saw Italian movie “Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo di Ferragosto)” yesterday. Since the movie is about Italian holiday Ferragosto, when all the Italians go on vacation and the the cities are deserted, so we thought to see it on August 15th but we decided to see it on Monday to avoid the weekend (and a ticket is £3 cheaper on weekday before 5pm). Written and directed by co-screenwriter of a mafia movie ‘Gomorra‘, Gianni di Gregorio, ‘Mid-August Lunch’, inspired by Di Gregorio’s own experience in living with his own mother, is a cute movie with lots of laughs.  The main character, Gianni, played by Di Gregorio himself, lives in the old apartment in Rome with his elderly mother. By piling up unpaid bills, Gianni was forced into looking after building manager’s mother for two nights in exchange for forgiving some tenant debts, so that the manager could go on his vacation. Gianni ended up looking after total four elderly ladies – his mother, manager’s mother and aunt, and mother of his doctor friend who had a night shift on the day before Ferragosto. Gianni had reluctantly looked after four old ladies with the help of white wines and ‘bribery’ from the manager and the ladies. The four ladies, each with their own strong personality, had some discord at the beginning, but they hit it off with each other, and had good time over the Ferragosto lunch at the end. Though the story embraces depressing themes such as taking care of aging parents and poverty (well, sort of), Di Gregorio was able to make ‘Mid-August Lunch’ heart-warming and optimistic by the power of Italian sense of humors.

Renoir Cinema is a part of art house movie theater chain Curzon Cinemas and shows mainly foreign films (except commercial Hollywood movies), especially French movies, and Independent movies.  The cinema is a tenant of Brunswick Centre, which is a modernist architecture and a residential and shopping centre in Bloomsbury, near University College London and British Museum. It was designed in 60s and completed in 1976. Plans for renovation had repeatedly been blocked by residents’ committees but much-needed makeover began in 2002, and major works completed in 2006. Now Brunswick Centre houses upscale supermarket Waitrose, cafes and restaurants, drugstores, and fashion chains etc.

Mid-August Lunch postcard

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]