Discovery Hall



Treasures & Curiosities: The Sequel

Permanent Exhibit

Special Exhibits

Curriculum coordinated
school programs

Wendy Aitkens, Curator
Tel: (403) 320.3907
Email: wendy.aitkens[at]


image 499 px


JAN 31 - MAY 19.14

Arts of China:
Glimpses of an Ancient Civilization

showcases artifacts from the Royal Ontario Museum’s world-renowned Far Eastern collections dating from the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1300-1050 BCE) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 CE), and examines Chinese history, culture and classic traditions by exploring aspects of three materials closely associated with China: jade, bronze and ceramics.

The rich traditions of ceramic, bronze and jade art flourished in China for centuries. These materials are still used by artists from around the world today, many using similar techniques and finishes developed by the ancient artists in China.

What do ancient artifacts tell us about the Chinese way of life, Chinese attitudes to the world, and Chinese beliefs in the afterlife? Why is jade such an important material to the Chinese? How can one interpret the symbolism that is present in much of Chinese art?... These are some of the significant questions addressed in Arts of China.

Artifacts from the Galt collections will complement 43 artifacts from the ROM's world-renowned Far Eastern collections - including plates, bowls, vases, vessels, a dagger axe, jewellery and other adornments, ritual and symbolic items.

Bilingual exhibit labels.

Exhibit organized & circulated by the

Royal Ontario Museum


Exhibit opens JAN 31.14 to coincide with Chinese New Year



The Chinese were the first to make stoneware and porcelain vessels which they finished with refined glazes. The quality of the wares was popular in local and other Asian markets; over the centuries, their popularity and influence spread to the Middle East and Europe.



Cast bronze vessels, weapons, ceremonial and funereal pieces were often intricately decorated with animals and traditional masks.



Artists carved images of animals and plants in jade (prized for its colour and durability) which symbolized long life, fertility, advancement in careers, and good fortune.


Local artifacts include...

Traditional wedding clothes include a lady's silk wrap around skirt [detail above] and man's wool mandarin jacket and silk trousers, ca. 1900-1910. P19950073149



A mythical dragon and peacock hand embroidered in silk and cotton threads on this cushion cover, n.d. P19910014001


Mask of a sword lion given to Mayor Carpenter during his official visit to Taiwan in 1998, ca. 1993-1997. The sword lion represents a soldier's sword hung over a shield painted with a lion. The symbol represents protection from intruders. P19980048021


Chinese language school book printed in Kowloon, Hong Kong and used in the Chinese Schools established in Lethbridge by Chinese organizations, ca. 1950-1965. P19950073188

  • Ceramic bowls from the Chinese National League in Lethbridge, n.d. (new acquisition)
  • Tapestry depicting the Great Wall of China given to the City of Lethbridge during a visit of research scientists visit to Hengshui City in Heibei Province, 1992
  • Gold necklace featuring Matsu, goddess of the sea, ca. 1990-1997
  • Replica Matsu statue carved from a single piece of wood, ca. 1800-1899
  • Crock of Good Fortune pottery given to Mayor Carpenter in 1998, ca. 1993-1998
  • Functional Chinese style jug used by the Wells family to store vinegar, ca. 1904-2007

and more!

related programs

lecture series

Thu JAN 16 | 7:00 pm
Food Tells the Story: Hong Kong from Colonial to Global Times

Thu FEB 27 | 7:00 pm
Enduring Shades of Influence: Chinese Art and Its Influence
on Japanese Painter and Nativist Hirao Rosen

Thu MAR 06 | 7:00 pm
Chi Gong, posture and Lifestyle for your Mind Body and Spirit

hands-on series

Sun FEB 23 | 7:00 pm
Chinese Dumplings


1st & 3rd Wed monthly



Soap Carving, Chinese New Year, Night Light Lanterns, Chinese Painting, Chinese Folk Games
and more!


Exhibit and curriculum related School Tours and programs are available FEB 03 - MAY 16.14. Contact Belinda for more information: 403.320-4248 | email
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related happenings

click for event details


Exhibit Opening

Sun FEB 09 |
2:00 - 3:00

The Curator Presents...
with Lisa Claypool

Lisa Claypool, Associate Professor, History of Art, Design & Visual Culture at the University of Alberta will discuss the meaning of jades, bronzes, and porcelain in the culture of the last dynasty of China (Qing dynasty, 1644-1911), exploring how they were made, circulated, and collected.


The Curator Presents... with Wendy Aitkens - click for details

History Day

Mon FEB 17 |
1:00 - 5:00

A fun-filled afternoon for the whole family! Come dressed up and have your photo taken with our historic photo cut outs, enjoy hands-on crafts featuring archival photos, find ways to tell your family history story, and learn how to research family history.

click for event details
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