Friday, February 25, 2011

Rabbit drawing & a visit to the Museum Speelklok tot Pierement

drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Rabbit ~ 2011
5.5"h x 4.5"w - pen & ink, colored pencils on brown paper

No, I'm not trying to jump ahead to Easter with this drawing, but I did want to mark the Chinese New Year with something, so I did this small drawing of a rabbit. I know I'm a little late, since the Year of the Rabbit began a couple of weeks ago, but it still is February! :o)

And for something else Chinese, "Sing Song, Treasures from the Forbidden City" :

This past Wednesday, my husband and I went to the National Museum Speelklok tot Pierement (Music Boxes to Street Organs Museum) in Utrecht, to see the special exhibition of spectacular 18th & 19th century imperial clocks & music boxes from China's Palace Museum of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The clocks and music boxes were made in Londen during the 18th and 19th centuries, expressly for the Chinese trade - most, of course, were made for the Imperial Family (namely, the Emporer) of China. This exhibition is the first time these clocks and music boxes have been seen outside of the Forbidden City - so I had to see it!

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Museum Speelklok's Entrance - Feb., 2011
Nationaal Museum van Speelklok tot Pirement
Steenweg 6  ~ Utrecht, The Netherlands

The Museum Speelklok is world reknowned, and unique in the world, for the delicate restoration work its conservators do on mechanical musical instruments (clocks, music boxes, street organs, etc.). The museum's conservators have also done work for the Metropolitan Museum in New York and for The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Museum Speelklok is also one of my favorite museums in Utrecht - not only is it educational, but it's also delightfully entertaining!

The exhibition, Sing Song, Treasures from the Forbidden City, respresents a 3 year collaboration by the Museum Speelklok and the Palace Museum in Beijing to restore some of the beautiful clocks and music boxes in the Palace's collection. And oh my, are they ever beautiful! Resplendant with precious jewels, sparkling stone, carved gold, etc., the clocks' figures move and make beautiful sounds - some using bells and tiny wooden organ pipes. One particularly charming music box, which was demonstrated for us, was a golden cage with little feathered birds singing (tweeting!) - this particular piece was the one with tiny wooden pipe organs inside, with a small air bellows. Sorry, but no picture taking of the pieces is allowed in the special exhibition.

However, on YouTube there are a few videos of some of the pieces from this exhibition. This one is of one of the large elephant clocks currently on view ... it's absolutely amazing!

video copyright Nat'l Museum Speelklok tot Pierement
Olifantklok - Elephant Clock
Francis Pergil (maker) - ca.1775 - London, UK
Collection of the Palace Museum - Beijing, China

The following video is a trailer from a DVD about the clocks and the collaboration work between the conservators at Speelklok and the conservators in Bejing (the video is in dutch however, with a few bits in english). Along with some scenes of the restorers at work on the clocks,  there are also some great views of the Forbidden City and of the old city center of Utrecht in the video. The full DVD is available in the Museum Speelklok's gift shop.

video copyright Golden Monkey Enterprises
documentary filmaker Pieter Fleury 
Klokken van de Keizer - The Emporer's Clocks

If you happen to be in Utrecht, you might like to see Sing Song, Treasures from the Forbidden City. Having been such a popular exhibition, it has been extended until March 31, 2011. If you can't make it to Utrecht, you can also visit the Museum Speelklok online (link is in english) !

tot ziens,


Threadspider said...

The elephant clock is amazing and I particularly enjoyed the sound. I am going to check out the museum link to sample more delights.
Happy Year of the Rabbit to you-the little drawing is delightful.

J. Nijholt-Strong said...

Thanks Judith (threadspider) :o)
The elephant clock is also quite large, I'd say at least 4 feet high - the video doesn't quite show the true size relation.
Absolutely remarkable in real life.


Meisie said...

Absolutely fascinating!! Wish I could see that exhibit! Thank you so much for sharing this...

J. Nijholt-Strong said...

Graag gedaan, Meisie!


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