November 11, 2012

Curator’s picks – my top 5 treasures in the exhibition

James Lin, exhibition curator One of the things that intrigues me most about the items discovered in the tombs of the Han is the story that they tell – not only of the search for immortality, or to display each …

November 10, 2012

How the Han dynasty shaped China today

Over 1790 years since the Han Dynasty fell, today’s China still covers much the same landmass that was established during the Han, over 3.6 million square miles. It is now the world’s most populated country with over 1.3 million people …

November 9, 2012

Jade: The immortal stone

James Lin, exhibition curator Remember Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where the hero searches for the Holy Grail? The Grail was believed to be the cup that Jesus Christ used during the Last Supper and gave eternal life to …

November 2, 2012

Chinese Families Together Project

On the run-up to the opening of The Search for Immortality the Fitzwilliam’s education team worked with local Chinese families to get their take on the show.  The group Chinese Families Together created a booklet for members of the public …

October 26, 2012

Food sacrifices linking to the dead in Han tombs

One of the most astounding features of The Search for Immortality is the many exhibits relating to food, including food utensils, drinking vessels and even a pot with the bones of a cooking bird.   As part of the exhibition …

October 19, 2012

Inside Beidongshan: the greatest of the Han tombs (part 2)

My determination to visit the tomb of Beidongshan took me back in 2010, this time with two colleagues from the Fitzwilliam Museum. We went to measure the objects in the museum, checking the condition and preparing the display cases for …

October 12, 2012

Inside Beidongshan: the greatest of the Han tombs (part 1)

James Lin, Exhibition Curator The most complicated of all the kings’ tombs in Xuzhou is Beidongshan. The tomb was dug into the side of a hill with a 56m long and 3-4m wide tomb passage. Halfway along the passage are …

October 5, 2012

Tomb raiders: The dangers of entering the Han Tombs

Picture yourself in pitch blackness.  You have a torch but it is sputtering from the damp, and you are currently waist deep in stagnant water.  You have no idea what pitfalls may be ahead.  One of your party may already …

September 7, 2012

Documentary: The Spirit of an Emperor

As part of the exhibition the Fitzwilliam invited the filmmaking group, Jumpcuts, to do a documentary around the show.  The group of young people aged 14 to 18 produced the film ‘The Spirit of an Emperor’ which premiered at the …

August 31, 2012

Making mounts and stands for the artefacts

Louise Jenkins, Senior Technician Part of our role as technicians, is to find ways to support our diverse collection when they are on display. Often we use Perspex, an inert plastic that is pliable when heated.  Its malleability enables us …

August 24, 2012

Checking the objects for display

  Helen Strudwick, Exhibitions Officer Of all the elements that happen when setting up an exhibition, possibly the most important (and most time-consuming) is condition checking the objects before the process of displaying them can even start. When objects arrive …

August 16, 2012

Creating a tomb inside the Museum

Ayshea Carter, Museum Designer As the designer for the Fitzwilliam I have been involved with all sorts of exhibitions, from antiquities and contemporary art to mixed media displays.  The Search for Immortality has been the most complex and challenging show …

August 3, 2012

Challenges in the final year before opening

James Lin, Exhibition Curator The greatest challenge in negotiating the exhibition in the final year came about because I know the material so well.  As this period is my speciality, even I have to admit I was demanding.  I really …

July 27, 2012

The beginnings of The Search for Immortality

James Lin, Exhibition Curator As a specialist on jade in the Han dynasty, I had always wanted to do an exhibition on the royal tombs of the Han era.  Simply put, they contain the best preserved and greatest variety of …

June 18, 2012

Welcome to the Han Blog

We are going to be releasing behind the scenes stories and news on the exhibition on this blog over the coming months. This is going to include news and first person accounts we won’t be releasing anywhere else.  Read posts …