Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! This is the Year of the Water Tiger. Find Chinese and Chinese-inspired objects around the museum. Discover connections over hundreds of years and thousands of miles!

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Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger Map

Look around for a bright blue hair decoration. Can you see what it's made from?

Look around for a bright blue hair decoration. Can you see what it's made from?Hairpin, China, 19th century.

Look around for a bright blue hair decoration. Can you see what it's made from?
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 1 of 12)

Tweezers were used to put tiny kingfisher feathers into place, one at a time.

The striking iridescent blue of kingfisher feathers has been highly prized in China for at least 2500 years. The art of kingfisher feather inlay is known as 'tian tsui'.

There are some lucky and magical animals in this room. Can you find this creature?

There are some lucky and magical animals in this room. Can you find this creature?Chinese money cat

There are some lucky and magical animals in this room. Can you find this creature?
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 2 of 12)

It is a lucky cat and is made out of Chinese coins. It would be hung at the end of a bed to bring wealth.

The coins are traditionally tied together with red thread to make the cat even luckier. Red is a lucky colour in China.

This compass is for channelling positive energy into homes. It relates to an old Chinese tradition called feng shui.

This compass is for channelling positive energy into homes. It relates to an old Chinese tradition called feng shui.Compass, (lo pan), China, before 1850.

This compass is for channelling positive energy into homes. It relates to an old Chinese tradition called feng shui.
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 3 of 12)

There are three more Chinese artefacts in the cabinet nearby. One features a dragon, which symbolises strength, goodness and the ability to change into
something completely different.

This pennant is decorated with a dragon, which symbolises strength, goodness and the ability to change into something completely different.

This pennant is decorated with a dragon, which symbolises strength, goodness and the ability to change into something completely different.Pennant, China, Ch'ing Dynasty, before 1863.

This pennant is decorated with a dragon, which symbolises strength, goodness and the ability to change into something completely different.
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 4 of 12)

It is from the Ch'ing period which means it was made before 1863. A pennant is a flag and it is believed this one was taken in battle.

Chinese officials were called Mandarins.

Chinese officials were called Mandarins.Figure of a Mandarin, 1873.

Chinese officials were called Mandarins.
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 5 of 12)

The word 'Mandarin' is based on the Portuguese Mandarim, first used in the 16th century. It means a scholar-official and they often made it difficult for European merchants to trade with China.

Can you find the saucer decorated with goldfish?

Can you find the saucer decorated with goldfish?Goldfish saucer

Can you find the saucer decorated with goldfish?
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 6 of 12)

Fish generally symbolise abundance. Keeping fish, particularly goldfish and carp, can be seen as a way of attracting wealth.

This sculpture depicts Shou Lao, who is one of the Three Star Gods of Daoism.

This sculpture depicts Shou Lao, who is one of the Three Star Gods of Daoism.Figure of the Chinese god of Benevolence, Ming dynasty

This sculpture depicts Shou Lao, who is one of the Three Star Gods of Daoism.
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 7 of 12)

He is typically portrayed with large domed head, lobed ears and a long beard. With him are three animals, a crane, a tortoise and a deer, These are emblems of longevity.

Find the largest moth.

Find the largest moth.Atlas moth

Find the largest moth.
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 8 of 12)

The Atlas moth is one of the largest moths in the world. Its habitat is south-east Asia, including China.

They could be named because of their map-like wing patterns. Or it might be because of their size, after Atlas, the Titan of Greek mythology who was so big and strong, he held up the world?

This teapot is part of a three-piece silver tea service. What do you think the other two pieces are for?

This teapot is part of a three-piece silver tea service. What do you think the other two pieces are for?Silver tea set, Ireland, 1819.

This teapot is part of a three-piece silver tea service. What do you think the other two pieces are for?
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 9 of 12)

Look at the chased and cast decoration. This was made by an Irish silversmith working in Dublin and doing his best to copy Chinese (Chinoiserie) style.

How many Chinese-style features can you spot?

This Chinese dish was discovered in a rubbish pit in Exeter.

This Chinese dish was discovered in a rubbish pit in Exeter.Porcelain dish, China, Wan Li period, 1590-1620.

This Chinese dish was discovered in a rubbish pit in Exeter.
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 10 of 12)

It dates from around 1680, which shows there were trade links between this city
and Asia more than 300 years ago.

The dish is decorated with a landscape scene showing fishermen and boats. It also features waterfalls which symbolise continuous fortune and wealth.

Close by is an English plate and a cup from Portugal inspired by Chinese design.

This beautiful gown must have been a real favourite with its owner.

This beautiful gown must have been a real favourite with its owner.Formal gown, England About 1760-65.

This beautiful gown must have been a real favourite with its owner.
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 11 of 12)

The three-dimensional flowers have been skilfully created and colour matched by the weaver and braidmaker. The silk material would have arrived from China for a dressmaker to make especially for the lady. It would have been very expensive.

Did you know that silk is made by silkworms, which aren't worms? They are the larva or caterpillars of the silkmoth. Their favourite food is leaves from the mulberry tree.

The flowers on this gown are peonies, which in China are associated with Spring.

A typical British mail coach would have a single postal employee on board, armed with a blunderbuss and a pair of pistols to guard the post from highwaymen.

A typical British mail coach would have a single postal employee on board, armed with a blunderbuss and a pair of pistols to guard the post from highwaymen.Flintlock coaching blunderbuss with spring bayonet, England, about 1780-95.

A typical British mail coach would have a single postal employee on board, armed with a blunderbuss and a pair of pistols to guard the post from highwaymen.
(Chinese New Year: Year of the Tiger 12 of 12)

The blunderbuss wouldn't have been invented if it wasn't for GUNPOWDER, which was invented by the Chinese in the
9th century. Fireworks, which use gunpowder were also invented in China.

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My Chinese New Year Notes

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! This is the Year of the Water Tiger. Find Chinese and Chinese-inspired objects around the museum. Discover connections over hundreds of years and thousands of miles!

Find Chinese and Chinese-inspired objects around the museum. Discover connections over hundreds of years and thousands of miles!

Explore links between England and China, and look for hidden symbols. You can travel around the world at RAMM!

Celebrate Chinese New Year

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