The Guangdong Museum has opened its doors on May 18, 2010 and has a broad variety of exhibitions. The museum is located in a square building on the southern part of Zhujiang New Town’s City Business District. It has exhibitions on Lingnan history, natural history and art.
The museum is free of entrance but they do want to see some identification upon entering. It’s opened Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm. The museum seems to be popular for a family day trip, so there are little kids running around all over the place. When walking into the museum, you will find yourself in a 5 storey room with an elevated gangway. This passage is currently closed to the public which is unfortunate, because I would have liked to walk up there.
Most Chinese cultural museums have art pieces, deriving from the traditional Chinese art crafts. This is also true for the Guangdong Museum. There are exhibitions on woodcarving, pottery, calligraphy and ivory carving. I always like to see those kinds of items on exhibition because it takes a lot of time and skill to make them, which makes them very impressive.
There is a large amount of woodcarving pieces on display and many of them have been gilded with gold leaf. It’s hard to imagine that they were made out of an ordinary piece of wood. I’m wondering if the skills for making these woodcarvings, still exist in today’s time.
What’s also very impressive are the ivory sculptures that some of the Chinese craftsmen are capable of making. The one in the photo below even has a ball at the top, with different layers inside. I have no idea how they made it but it must have taken a long time.
Many ivory items are made out of elephant teeth but ivory can also be obtained from other species, like a whale or a walrus. Ivory carving is not practiced a lot anymore because the ivory is scarce and the animals providing it are largely protected.
It’s always fun to see some Chinese pottery, because all of these ceramics are very unique and every pottery maker has its own style. Most of them are decorated with bright colors, which makes them very beautiful. There are porcelain dishes on display here that date back to the Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1912). They have been found in the Jiangxi Province.
I was very curious about the Chinese paintings so I was happy to get to this part of the museum. It didn’t live up to my expectations though, because most of the paintings were abstract, which I don’t really like. There was a painting of a cat which is probably the ugliest ‘art’ piece I have ever seen. Hanging it in your bedroom will guarantee many sleepless nights, I’m sure. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one disliking this painting because many people were looking at it with a surprised look on their faces.
Tribal Art of North America: First Americans
This is a temporarily exhibition and it was the only one that didn’t have anything to do with the Guangdong Provice or China in general. It didn’t just focus on inhabitants of America but extended to people living in Siberia. One of the most interesting items on display was a raincoat made from the gut of a seal. This kind of material seems very water resistant, although it’s probably seen better days.
As a part of this exhibition, there are some beautiful stones and jades on display. They have all been found here in the Guangdong area. It’s great to see what kind of products, nature is capable of producing over time.
The last hall I visited, had an exhibition about animals in present and past times. There are some skeletons on display with a group of imitation sharks hanging from the roof area. This part of the building is 3 stories high and is illuminated by blue lights. It makes for a spectacular view, when watching it from upstairs.
If you’re making pictures from the right angle, it makes you look like you’re underwater with a lot of sharks swimming around you. This exhibition is a nice variation to the rest of the museum.
The Guangdong Museum has the typical Chinese art objects on display but doesn’t just stop there. The exhibition of natural resources and wild animals is also interesting for kids to have a look at. Other than that, the building itself is interesting to discover and it has viewpoints on all sides of the building, which give amazing views. If you’re around the area it’s worth a visit, even if you’re not a big fan of museums, like myself.