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British Museum - exhibitions for 2014

 Vikings: life and legend


THE BRITISH Museum has announced its exhibition schedule for 2014, some free, some with an admission charge.


The BP Exhibition: Vikings: life and legend in The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery – March 6 to June 22, 2014.

The exhibition, developed in cooperation with the National Museum of Denmark and the Berlin State Museum, is the first major exhibition in England on this subject for over 30 years, and presents a number of new archaeological discoveries and objects never before seen in the UK alongside important Viking Age artefacts from the British Museum’s own collection and elsewhere in Britain and Ireland.

The star of the show will be the remains of a 37-metre-long Viking longship, the longest ever found, and the Vale of York hoard, whose size and quality make it one of the most important finds of its type.
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Ancient Lives: new encounters with Egypt and Sudan (title tbc) in Room 5 – May 22 to November 30, 2014.

Recent scientific analysis of mummies by the British Museum using state-of-the-art non-invasive procedures such as CT scanning and 3D visualisation has revealed a wealth of information about how individuals lived and died in Ancient Egypt and Sudan.

This exhibition will explore the lives of eight people, who lived across a period of 5000 years between 3500BC and AD1500. From the daughter of a priest, to a temple singer and a child, this exhibition will get up close and personal with these individuals by understanding the food they ate, their mummification, their health and beliefs.

Visitors will be invited to discover for themselves the mysteries of mummification through artefacts, interactive exhibits and other digital media.

Ming: Courts and Contacts 1400-1450 (title tbc) in The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery – September 18, 2014 to January 5, 2015.

This exhibition will demonstrate how fifty years of the Ming dynasty transformed China into the country we know today, reflecting new research which highlights the inter-Asian connections that have played a key role in the formation of the Chinese state, society and culture.

Between 1400 to 1450, China was a global superpower run by one family who established Beijing as the capital. Ming China was thoroughly connected with the outside world and absorbed many fascinating influences resulting in some of the most beautiful porcelain, gold, jewellery, furniture, paintings, sculptures and textiles ever made.

This major exhibition will include spectacular objects from all over the world, as well as recent discoveries from the excavations of royal tombs in China.

Germany (title tbc) in Room 35 – October 16, 2014 to January 25, 2015.

In a year of many German anniversaries this exhibition uses the 25th anniversary of German reunification to address the significant knowledge gap about German history and culture in Britain, providing visitors with a new insight into Germany’s contribution to world history.

The exhibition will draw on objects from a 600 year period to explore the landscape, history, and culture of Germany from the height of the Holy Roman Empire and the age of Gutenberg through to post Cold-War contemporary Germany. Loans from across Germany will reflect the extraordinary shifts of borders and frontiers that define German history, its great, world-changing achievements and its devastating tragedies.

The exhibition will feature the work of great German artists, from Riemenschneider, Dűrer and Holbein to Kollwitz, Barlach and Baselitz, as well as a wide range of objects that includes prints and maps, coins and medals, spectacular metalwork from clocks to armour, Meissen porcelain and Bauhaus furniture.


Germany divided: Baselitz and his generation in Room 90 – February 6 to August 31, 2014.

This exhibition will feature over 90 works on paper by some of the leading names in modern German art, drawn from the private collection of Count Christian Duerckheim.

It will explore six key artists – Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter, A.R. Penck, Markus Lüpertz, Blinky Palermo and Sigmar Polke – all of whom migrated from East to West and redefined art in Germany in the 1960s and 70s and negotiated with the past on both sides of the Wall. Half of the works on display are by Georg Baselitz (b. 1938), and 34 of the works in the exhibition, including 17 by Baselitz, have been generously donated to the British Museum by Count Duerckheim.

Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300–1100 in Room 41 – Opens March 27, 2014.

This will be a major redisplay of the British Museum’s Late Antique to Early Medieval collections and is the first full refurbishment of Room 41 since 1985. The design, object selection and interpretation will be completely refreshed with the aim of developing a more coherent narrative for the collections, and to display star objects more effectively than ever before. The project has been made possible through a generous donation by Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock.

The gallery tells the story of a formative period in Europe’s history. This time of great change witnessed the end of the Western Roman Empire, the evolution of the Byzantine Empire, migrations of people across the Continent and the emergence of Christianity and Islam as major religions. By the end of the period covered in the gallery, the precursors of many modern states had developed. Europe as we know it today was beginning to take shape.

The Admonitions Scroll and other masterpieces of Chinese painting in Room 91 – April 3 to August 31, 2014.

This exhibition presents major works of Chinese painting and porcelain created in the South East of China, also called Jiangnan, a region near Shanghai along the Yangzi River. Paintings and ceramics from this region belong to the finest produced in China from at least the 6th century. The imagery and fine objects on display reflect the beauty and prosperity of the region, paintings feature the bustling life in the cities or depict elegant ladies and scholars in gardens and children herding cattle.

This exhibition celebrates the re-display of the Museum’s best known Chinese painting, the Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies scroll, in a new gallery space. The display will be further highlighted by silk paintings from Dunhuang in the Northwest of China.

Witches & wicked bodies in Room 90 – September 2014 to January 2015.

This fascinating exhibition co-curated by the artist and writer, Deanna Petherbridge, will investigate the changing depiction in prints and drawings of witches and witchcraft from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. Artists of the calibre of Dürer, Goya and Fuseli were drawn to the rich imagery and mythology that had built up around witches from classical times that ranged from hideously terrifying hags to bewitching seductresses intent on enslaving their male victims through their beauty.


Room 3 sits just inside the Museum’s main entrance and hosts a series of free, regularly changing exhibitions focused on a single object or theme.

Pefect timing: the Mostyn Tompion clock – until February 2, 2014.

This display celebrates the work of Thomas Tompion and coincides with the 300th anniversary of his death placing the finest example of his work in its context of 17th century London.
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From temple to home: celebrating Ganesha – February 27 to May 25, 2014.

A beautiful temple sculpture of Ganesha will be the central object and will help explore the different attributes of the deity, and the different ways he is represented. The display will also highlight the contemporary role of Ganesha, who is celebrated in the annual festival called Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav in which devotees make or buy models, and then immerse them in water.

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