Dragons, Monk’s Caps, and Butter Tea: The Duomuhu
Have you ever tried Tibetan salty yak butter tea? If you visit a Tibetan household today, chances are the tea will be served in a 多穆壶 (duomuhu) like this. I explore the trajectory of the 多穆壶 (duomuhu) throughout history, and what it tells us about the politics of the Chinese empire.
Preserving and Revitalising 昆曲 (Kunqu Opera) on the World Stage
昆曲 (Kunqu Opera) one of the oldest remaining forms of Chinese opera, was listed on the ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity‘ by UNESCO in 2004. It has acted as a representative of traditional Chinese culture and national treasure, receiving attention both nationally in China and around the world. In general academic…
Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year? – Celebrating in Harmony
The term ‘Chinese New Year’ and ‘Lunar New Year’ are interrelated and often spark controversies. The festival itself is celebrated across east and southeast Asia. It is a shared intangible cultural heritage, often victim to claims of origin and authenticity. Can museums and the collections in their care provide a forum to negotiate these claims?
‘Looks more like a dog’. Rabbits or Not Rabbits at MAA
By Jimena Lobo Guerrero Arenas and Mark Elliott. To mark the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year and the Year of the Water Rabbit, we did the obvious thing and looked for rabbits in the collections at MAA. But we didn’t find what we thought we would.
More than Music
4 minute read By Mark Elliott There is music in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Well, there is and there isn’t. Museums have traditionally acquired, exhibited and interpreted artefacts: tangible things. Intangible aspects of human cultural life and wellbeing such as music don’t generally get collected except in their material manifestations as musical instruments.…
Brick Tea and Currency
By Aayushi Gupta In my previous blog post on this object, I pursued one of the clues found on the label on its back. That label also gave us another clue – ‘Given to me by A.C. Haddon 29 Dec 1900’. Who was this tea brick given to? Why did Haddon give it to them?…
A Tea Brick Destined for Tibet
By Shuzhen Kong Ever tried to guess the flavour of tea just from looking at the leaves or bricks, without brewing? Or even just from photographs of them? Take a look at one example from MAA’s collections with me, and see what we can discover.
The Buddha, the War God and the Pirate King
By Ashleigh Griffin While recataloguing the Asian collections at MAA, I came across a number of historic inaccuracies as well as stories of warfare and plunder hinted at in the documentation around the objects. This is the tale of an artefact that brought both of these together, which highlights important issues facing collections of ethnography,…
The Russian Brick Tea Trade in Hankou, China
By Aayushi Gupta In the object collections at MAA I found nine tea bricks – six from China, two from Tibet, and one unknown source. Encountering Russian inscriptions, however, did not make sense; were tea bricks produced in Russia? Where did they travel, and how did they get there?