In November a group of us from the Essex Egyptology Group had the chance to visit parts of the British Museum that aren't generally open to the public - some of the storerooms where the 95% of the Egyptian artifacts that aren't on display are held. I'd been on one of these trips before several years ago, so was pleased at the chance to go again - partly because it's a chance to see items you don't normally see, and partly because it would be someone different showing us round so we would see different things.
Last Thursday we went out to the cinema to see a live broadcast from the current British Museum exhibition about the Vikings (which I've already written about here). Cineworld Ipswich sadly managed not to switch the screen on in time for the start of the broadcast, but we only missed the first few minutes.
The British Museum's current large exhibition is about Ice Age Art, and we went to see it earlier this month (just before we went away on holiday in fact, which is why the delay in writing about it :) ).
The British Museum currently has an exhibition on the art of drinking in Asia called "Ritual and Revelry" which runs through till 6 January. We visited it on 23 November as we were in London for a concert that evening.
As well as the lecture we also went to a gallery talk at the Open Evening - these are where a curator takes you around some objects of interest in a gallery for 45 minutes or so. The theme of this one tied in with the Shakespeare exhibition, and was in some ways an extension of the central room of the exhibition. Shakespeare set several of his plays in Venice and (as discussed in both the exhibition and this talk) this was for several reasons, including the fact that it allowed him to portray situations that might've got him in trouble if he'd set them in England.
The lecture at this month's British Museum Friends Open Evening ("A Mind Which Could Think Otherwise: Understanding Shakespeare's Creative Intelligence") was tied in with their current major exhibition about Shakespeare (which we went to see a couple of months ago). The lecturer, Neema Parvini, is an academic at the University of Surrey & has written a couple of books about Shakespeare.
While J looked at Egyptian stuff in the British Museum on our most recent trip to London I took the camera & went and looked at the Chinese Galleries again. The right hand side of the room is laid out chronologically so I started here with the Neolithic period. Even that early jade was still an important and symbolic material for the Chinese.
This is the image I am currently using as my desktop background, it's made from 3 pictures I took in the Japanese Galleries at the British Museum on Monday. In the middle is Monju Bosatsu (Boddhisatva Manjusri), whose lion roars with the sound of Buddhist law. To the left is the deity Fudõ Myõ-õ whose fierce appearance shows his intolerance of wickedness. To the right is Aizen Myõ-õ who has the power to crush desire.
Monday evening was the September British Museum Members Open Evening & this was really why we'd come into London that day. We'd booked on the gallery talk about Chinese horses, given by Carol Michaelson, a (partially?) retired curator at the museum. She gave us a 45 minute overview of a vast swathe of Chinese history from prehistoric times through to the Tang dynasty (~9th Century AD), focusing on horses.
On Monday afternoon we went to look at the free exhibition the British Museum have on till the end of September about horses. To be honest I was much less interested in this in advance than other exhibitions we've been to, but it turned out to be more interesting than I'd expected.