What To Expect At Wuhan’s Newest Museum Exhibition

Excavating Wanlin Musuem's latest offering: "画里乾坤 to see a world in a grain of sand"

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Wanlin Museum

Since last year, Wuhan University has enjoyed a gorgeous new museum, built in a very modern and abstract fashion. I am sure you won’t miss it: it’s a tall, massive, whimsical building and you will probably wonder how this monster of cement stands without falling apart. Then you will marvel at the plaza in front of the building, and if you are not in a hurry you will enjoy a coffee on the roof-top café while gazing at the city below.

The museum’s futuristic design resembles something from a Sci-Fi movie (photo by Sharath Ajith)

The museum is named after Chen Wanlin, an intriguing character who has his statue near the entrance, with a short inscription explaining his adventurous life and how he went through the Sino-Japanese war and the cultural revolution. Being also a benefactor, this hero of modern time funded a scholarship for impoverished students that still exists nowadays.

But let us go back to this haven of culture within Wuhan University. You have until 2 May to go there and discover more about old Chinese civilization (and when I write old, I mean ancient & antediluvian, because I am talking about an artifact from the Han Dynasty). Well, the Han dynasty is only 2000 years old, which is less impressive than the 5000 years they are talking about in the museum. Also, you can not exactly see the relics but only printed reproduction…but I advise you not to be picky! You can not see reproduction of 2000 years old artifacts everyday!

(photos by Sharath Ajith)

“To see a grain of sand in the world”

My apologies, the English name of the exhibition is “To see a world in a grain of sand” but since no one was able to explain me what it means (and I was not smart enough to figure it out myself), I tried to see if it made more sense this way.

A moment of silence to reflect on how old these exhibits are… (photo by Sharath Ajith)

For instance the artefacts (the real one, not the reproduction, please follow me) were unearthed in Nanyang, a charming city in Henan. I strongly advise you to go there. I heard they have some amazing collections from the Han dynasty. I also recommend you review your Chinese mythology before going, or you will not be able to recognise the Nvwa, Fuxi and other celestial beings.

The museum is quite poor at explanations (then again, how can one explain 5000 years of history?). The only English signs displayed will urge you to reconnect your inner-self with the spirit of your forefathers and rediscover your 5000 years of history, because I tried to think about my ancestry but it was definitely was not Han, and my poor country does not have 5000 years history  (I bet yours does not too).

Last but not least, if you are between 3 & 8 years old (mentally), you can join a little activity where you can, with your own little hands, make a copy of the bas-relief themselves by placing wet paper on them and gently tapping with a sponge full of ink-giving you the feeling of an archaeologist.

Exhibition Times

Exhibition ends on May 2, 2018 & is open Tuesdays-Sundays, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, (last entrance 4:30 pm)

Printing Activity: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-11 am; 2 pm-3 pm
Entrance is Free but remember to bring some ID (e.g. Student Book/Card)
Venue: Wuhan University, Wanlin Museum
武汉大学万林艺术博物馆二楼

Photo Credit to Sharath Ajith
sharath.ajith@yahoo.com