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The Hong Kong Jockey Club Series: Women and Femininity in Ancient China –— Treasures from the Nanjing Museum

Thematic Galleries 1 & 2, and Function Place, 1/F
2022.11.30 – 2023.2.27

Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Nanjing Museum
Jointly organised by the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Nanjing Museum
Exclusively sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club

How would women live differently between the past and the present? A selection of 118 female-related artefacts from the Nanjing Museum were shown in Hong Kong for the first time. The exhibition was divided into four themes introducing ancient women's appearance, daily life, talents, and images portrayed in famous paintings. The exquisite artefacts illustrated the legendary stories of ancient women. Visitors could explore the make-up tips of the ladies in the Han dynasty, the graceful postures of Tang dynasty dancers, the romances of Qinhuai courtesans in the late Ming dynasty, and the Qing empress climbing to ladder to success.
The ingenuity of the talented women is embodied by the textile and embroidery works and the calligraphy and paintings. The exquisite embroidery works by Shen Shou and Ling Zhu, and the paintings by Li Yin and Ma Quan are rare treasures. Throughout history, the women's legends tug at the heartstrings; and famous paintings, such as Li Duanduan by Tang Yin, Portrait of Kou Baimen by Fan Qi and Portrait of Dong Xiaowan by Zhou Xu, enable these stories to be told over generations. In addition, a 13-meter-long scroll, Ancient court ladies at leisure, and Leisure time of aristocratic family by court painter Yang Jin weave the imaginative and realistic images of the court ladies to illustrate their everyday life and leisure activities. The magnificent artefacts and multimedia displays invited visitors to travel through times and explore the stories of the extraordinary women.
To coincide with the exhibition, the Museum produced a video series "Women of Our City: Stories of Inspiring Women", interviewing four incredible women, namely Tina Liu, an eminent image director; Sarah Lee, a world-renowned cyclist; Bonnie Wong (Ah Jeng), a radio host; and fire-fighter Scarlett Yiu to share their fascinating stories, at the Function Place. An interactive programme "Women of Our City: Collections of Hong Kong Pop Culture" is also set up for the visitors to explore the museum collections and look for their classic female figures.
This exhibition was one of the celebration events of the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of HKSAR.

All the content of works are independently produced by the organiser/creative team, and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Series nor the Sponsor.


Teaching kits

Exhibition booklet – Good Life Inspiration

Game kit – A Hunt across Time

Summary of the Exhibition Information by the Nanjing Museum Expert

Exhibit Highlights

Ancient court ladies at leisure (detail)

Ancient court ladies at leisure (detail)

Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911)
Handscroll, ink and colour on silk

Lady holding a fan

Ren Xiong (1823 - 1857)
Qing (1644 - 1911)
Hanging scroll, ink and colour on silk

Female dancer figure

Pottery figure of a female dancer

Tang dynasty (618 - 907)

Li Duanduan

Tang Yin (1470 - 1524)
Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)
Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper

Li Duanduan

Collections of the Nanjing Museum
Image courtesy of the Nanjing Museum