May 2019 trip to the United Kingdom. The British Museum.

The British Museum deserves its own post. Probably it deserves many posts. If London is one of my all-time favourite cities in the world, the British Museum is my favourite place in London.

Temporary exhibits are a refreshing change for any museum. I visit temporary exhibits often, even more often for museums that I already have visited in the past. But, permanent exhibits are not so permanent. The British Museum collection has over 8 million objects. Just around 80,000 are on public display at any given time.

Some things do not change. I took the first picture in 2014 with an iPad’s camera. The second picture is from 2019 with a Panasonic DMC-G80. But the Gold wreath has not changed.

Others things do change. I remember that in Room 33 (China, South Asia & South East Asia) three ceramic seated figures dominated the view. I was so impressed by this ceramic figures that my eyes looked in their direction as I enter the room. But, they are gone from their original place. Their original place at least for me.

Today, I visit the Manga マンガ temporary exhibit. Afterwards, I will continue with the permanent rooms.

All the big names in manga are represented here: Dragon Ball, Captain Tsubasa, Astro Boy and much more.

In a big screen, there is a short documentary about Comiket. I have attended Comiket 93 and 95 at the Tokyo Big Sight. It’s interesting to see your own history in a museum.

The British Museum is an incredible place. But as such, it is not free of complexities. Hoa Hakananai’a (‘lost or stolen friend’) reflects one of the complex issues with a museum with artworks from around the world.

Easter Island governor begs British Museum to return Moai: ‘You have our soul’

The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. Tue 20 Nov 2018 18.21 GMT

I am sympathetic with the wish of the Easter Island inhabitants. And, as the museum recognises itself the statue is not a gift, but it was obtained in suspicious circumstances. Whatever the final decision, I hope to be able to visit this Easter Island cultural artefact again.

And each visit, I discover something new. Ram in a Thicket is a statue sculpted around 5,000 years ago in Iran. Maybe I have seen it in the past, but I do not remember it. I usually wander the museum without any goal in mind. A more systematic approach will assure that I see every object. But, I prefer to have serendipitous encounters with the artefacts.

When it was discovered, the 16.5-inch figure had been crushed flat by the weight of the soil above it and its inner wooden core had decomposed. This wooden core had been finely cut for the face and legs, but the body had been more roughly modelled. Woolley used wax to keep the pieces together as it was excavated, and the figure was gently pressed back into its original shape. The ram’s head and legs are layered in gold leaf which had been hammered against the wood and stuck to it with a thin wash of bitumen, while its ears are copper which are now green with verdigris. The horns and the fleece on its shoulders are of lapis lazuli, and the body’s fleece is made of shell, attached to a thicker coat of bitumen. The figure’s genitals are gold, while its belly was silver plate, now oxidised beyond restoration. The tree is also covered in gold leaf with gold flowers.

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, December 17). Ram in a Thicket. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:34, June 16, 2019

There is much more to talk about and see at The British Museum. I will come back again for another visit. But like a man cannot step the same river twice, next time it will be different.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”