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Golden Techniques: Art of the Chinese Goldsmiths

The research project “Ancient Chinese Gold Techniques” is a collaborative effort of Art Museum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics Protection, the Master Studio of Chow Tai Fook, and the Conservation Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong, for the first time to use interdisciplinary research methods to reconstruct several major ancient goldsmithing techniques and the history of the development. Golden Techniques: Art of the Chinese Goldsmiths is co-presented by Art Museum and Master Studio of Chow Tai Fook. The exhibition features over 40 pieces (sets) of carefully-selected ancient Chinese gold and silver wares from private collections as well as the collection of Art Museum, and samples from reconstruction experiments as well as traditional goldsmith’s tools, both from the Master Studio of Chow Tai Fook.

The exhibition will bring the cutting-edge findings of ancient Chinese techniques used to make gold and silver objects, emphasizing on granulation (making gold granules and welding them onto the object), gold wire techniques, as well as techniques used to make gold inlays. During the exhibition, guided tours and a series of public lectures will be organized that aim to provide the audience with different museum experiences and deeper understanding of the exhibition subject.

Both the exhibition and the entire research project are fully sponsored by Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Co. Ltd.

Exhibition highlights

Leisi Filigree Bun—Net with Two Dragons Ming dynasty (1368–1644) Diameter 9.6 cm, Height 6.4 cm, Weight 138.5 g (inlays included) Mengdiexuan collection

The underlying shape of this hair ornament is made of filigree, and consists of a hemispherical, ribbed top attached to a round, flat, collar-like base. The top and base are joined with gold foil, while the standing wing-shaped ornaments at the sides and back are attached to the base with hooks. Holes on the sides of the base enabled the whole accessory to be secured to the head. The ornament is elaborately decorated. Bats and lotus flowers decorate the top and the collar below. The wing-shaped ornaments are embellished with five-clawed dragons chasing an inlaid flaming red gemstone amidst cloud scrolls. The dragons’ necks are made of springs so that their heads would sway with movement.

Gold Plaque with Double-Dragon Design Han to Six Dynasties, 2nd century BC–6th century AD Length 4.6 cm, Width 3.9 cm, Weight 8.5 g Mengdiexuan collection

This piece is an ornament on government official’s headdress during the Qin–Han period. It is related to both Buddhism and Daoism. On the piece are two confronted dragons, whose bodies are covered by gold granules. The gold wires are scientifically proved to be twisting strips.

Venue: Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dates: July 4 - September 27, 2017

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