19th Aug 2015 - Loan from London museum inspires Novium
Loan from London Museum inspires new Exhibition at Novium Museum
Loan from London museum inspires new exhibition at The Novium Museum, Chichester
A stunning 200-year-old Japanese board game will take centre stage in an exciting new exhibition featuring objects from around the world at The Novium Museum.
The exhibition, called A Curious Case of Collecting: World Objects in Chichester, was inspired after the loan of an ancient Japanese shōgi set from the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London.
The loan is part of Object in Focus, a project funded by Arts Council England. The scheme widens access to the Horniman Museum's collections by offering objects on short term loan to different museums across England.
The shōgi set was purchased by the Horniman Museum and Gardens in 1951. It was believed at the time to have been made by the Japanese porcelain factory Kutani, the pieces dating from 1720, and the board from 1780. If so, it would be extremely rare. It is more likely that it was made in the early 1800s. Most shōgi sets were made of wood, with luxury sets being made of lacquered wood decorated with gold, making this particular set a very unusual piece.
The game of shōgi developed in Japan around 900 - 1000AD and is similar to chess. It is played on a board by two players with pieces representing kings, generals and foot soldiers.
Inspired by this amazing loan, staff at The Novium Museum researched the museum's own little-known collection of world objects.
Also known as 'ethnographic' collections, these objects represent other cultures across the world. Many museums contain collections of 'curiosities' which often now fall under the theme of World Culture. Although these objects do not fit with The Novium Museum's current policy of collecting material of local significance, they are an important representation of the museum's history.
The exhibition features 18 world objects from the museum's collection, including:
a Samurai sword;
a South American Chimu pot; and
an African beaded necklace.
Councillor Gillian Keegan, Cabinet Member for Commercial Services at Chichester District Council, says: "The new World Objects exhibition showcases some hidden treasures which, as far as we know, have never been displayed together before now. There are some fascinating stories behind each object and how they came to be a part of the museum's collection in Chichester."
A Curious Case of Collecting: World Objects in Chichester is now open for public viewing. The shōgi set will be on loan to The Novium Museum until 24 November 2015, with the World Objects exhibition remaining open until July 2016.
Admission to the museum is free.
In addition, a series of family activities, inspired by the new exhibition, will be taking place every Friday throughout the summer holidays, 10am - 2pm. Workshops include beaded jewellery; clay sculpture; and paper making. Places can be booked by calling The Novium on 01243 775888.
A free talk entitled 'Ceramics and Chess in Asia' by Rose Kerr, Former Keeper of the Far Eastern Department at the V&A Museum, will be taking place on 14 October 6.30pm - 7.30pm at The Novium Museum.