Fine Dining - Exhibition on Ancient Chinese Culinary Wares
Thematic Gallery (5),
Hong Kong Heritage Museum
28 February 2004 - 26 May 2004
The Chinese custom of sitting around a table and sharing several dishes together is one that everyone knows and enjoys, but in fact it is a tradition that has developed over the long, varied and colourful history of China's food culture. In ancient times, Chinese people used to have their own individual serving of food - much like the tradition in the West - that they would eat sitting on the ground. Generally, a Chinese meal always includes rice, vegetables and steamed fish, and this staple diet can be dated back to the Spring and Autumn (770 - 476 BC) and Warring States (475 - 221 BC) periods. The method of cooking with steam, for example steamed fish, is a way of preparing dishes that was unique to China and that can be compared in importance to baking and roasting in Western culture.

This very brief introduction is just a taster about early Chinese food culture, and if we have whetted your appetite, Fine Dining - Exhibition on Ancient Chinese Culinary Wares is an exhibition you should not miss. An impressive array of over 100 valuable items provided by the National Museum of China is showcased, including tableware, cooking utensils, drinking sets, scrolls as well as brick engravings. This wealth of treasures reveals in concrete fashioned the changes that Chinese food utensils have undergone over the centuries. From early items that served multiple purposes to custom-made tableware demanded for specific occasions, from simple coarse lines to colourful intricate designs, and from practical products to wares of fine art for appreciation, the food utensils on display reflect the richness and diversity of China's early food culture.

To enhance visitors' understanding of how ancient Chinese cookware and tableware was made and used, a number of interactive games focusing on the theme of Chinese food utensils from past centuries will be available to play at the exhibition.

Exhibit Highlights

Pottery Cauldron and Stove Pottery Cauldron and Stove
Neolithic Period (8000 - 2000 BC)

Model of Pottery Stove
Funerary Object
Han (206 BC - AD 220)

Model of Pottery Stove

Lotus Gold Cup with Handle Lotus Gold Cup with Handle
Liao (916 - 1125)

Model of Food Dishes
Funerary Objects
Ming (1368 - 1644)

Model of Food Dishes

Other Past Exhibitions