Where’s Grandpa Ofu: Dr. X’s Plan
Hiding and looking for the antidote at the Chinese Antiquities Gallery
In ancient China, each color had a designated symbolic meaning in different dynasties. For imperial porcelain production, in particular, the design and color were highly influenced by the aesthetic taste, artistic achievements and religious beliefs of the emperor.
Yellow was the imperial color. Bright yellow was the supreme color reserved strictly for the emperor, the empress dowager and the empress only.
Apart from everyday objects, imperial garments were the best way to reflect the supreme status of the emperor through colors and decorative motifs.
During the Qing dynasty, bright yellow dragon robe adorned with the “Twelve Imperial Symbols” was a costume that could be worn only by the emperor. The symbols include the sun, moon, constellations, mountains and a pair of dragons, symbolizing the virtues of the emperor.
About Chinese Antiquities:
The Chinese Antiquities collection has the widest ranging and oldest art objects and artefacts at the HKMoA. Totaling more than 4,500 items or sets, it includes ceramics produced by various kilns for domestic and export, textiles and other categories such as bronzes, jade carving, lacquer ware, enamel ware, glassware, bamboo carving, wood carving, ivory carving, rhinoceros horn and furniture. Among them, ceramics are the most representative, accounting for over half of the collection and spanning the period from Neolithic to the twentieth century. Fashioned for use in everyday life, as ritual objects, as mingqi (brurial objects) or purely for decoration, each and every piece has fortunately been preserved through the ages, escaping the ravages of time to form an essential part of China's rich cultural heritage. The Chinese Antiquities Collection embody a high degree of creativity and technological skill and thus provide invaluable materials for studying Chinese ancient society and culture.
Given Hong Kong's geographic location, it is natural that tangible art objects of southern China should be a central focus of our collection. As part of our mission to promote the understanding and appreciation of Chinese cultural relics, the Museum has been ardent in its efforts to acquire outstanding artefacts for display, while our collection has been tremendously enriched by generous donations and bequests from the public. Among the most significant of these are a collection of bamboo carvings received from the estate of Dr Ip Yee in 1985, which highlights the close relationship between this art form and the lifestyle of the Chinese scholar, and two collections of Shiwan pottery donated by Woo Kam Chiu in 1986 and by Mrs Kwok On in 1987, which bear testimony to the achievements of the celebrated Guangdong kiln. Equally important, however, are the many other donations our museum have received from numerous different institutions and individuals, and their generosity not only reflects their support of our museum, but is also indicative of the growing awareness of the need to preserve our cultural heritage.