MathildeHK at Liang Yi Museum – Great Minds Think Alike: 18th Century French and Chinese Furniture Design

You are curious about Decorative Arts,

You like Art History,

You are fascinated by imperial and royal furniture?

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Exhibition poster, Liang Yi Museum, picture@liangyimuseum

I already went twice to attend guided tours of the exhibition: Great Minds Think Alike: 18th Century French and Chinese Furniture Design, showcasing French Royal furniture in juxtaposition with mainly Qing dynasty pieces. The Liang Yi Museum, in partnership with the Kraemer gallery, in Paris, is part of the French May 2015 programme and  will open throughout the festival period until 31 July 2015.

That Art confrontation is the first in the history of museum display in Asia and gives an echo to the recent thematic at Versailles, back in 2014: The China at Versailles, Art and Diplomacy in the 18th Century, curated by Marie-Laure de Rochebrune.

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Panel screen, Liang Yi Museum, picture@liangyimuseum

The exhibition catalog The China at Versailles, Art and Diplomacy in the 18th Century is an actual marvel of details and follows the history of political and artistic exchanges between China and France during the 18th century. The paintings, furniture, lacquer ware, porcelains and tapestries exhibited bear testimony to the extreme luxury of their time and show how China was fashionable back then. I take the opportunity to advise that reading to any of you.

Pour une Histoire de l’Art Comparee…

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The master pieces, Liang Yi Museum, picture@liangyimuseum

The Liang Yi Museum divided the exhibition into 3 main spaces. The first rooms, downstairs, were dedicated to specific uses and actual master pieces, such as :  game tables, desks or secretaires, libraries and canopy beds, to stress the different styles and motives existing in both continents at the same period. Then, the visitor is led to the upper floor, to compare the structure of chairs, armchairs and tables. That is pure furniture history and expertise. At last, the third space brought a recreation of two cabinets or Studio: the dark wood literati cabinet, dedicated to calligraphy, opposite to the Louis XVI th cabinet, entirely furnished in the  fashion of the Ancient Regime: Lacquered pieces versus gilded pieces.

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Louis XVI th lacquer cabinet and a Chinese Zitan cabinet from XVIII th century, Liang Yi Museum, picture@liangyimuseum

My favorite:

In my second visit, the guide drew my attention on a travelling inkstand made for King Louis XIII. The piece was crafted for King Louis XIII, made around 1620 by Macé Ruette (Relieur du Roi). That case features the coat of arms of France and Navarre, with the armories of St Michel and St Esprit (The Holy Spirit) under the large Royal Crown. I was told the discovery was noted by a professional historian while he was visiting the museum.

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Louis XVIII travelling Inkstand, Liang Yi Museum, picture@liangyimuseum

“Decorated all over with gold-tooled brown Morroco leather which sheathed around a wooden frame, it has an overall monogram of alternating L’s, without doubt symbolizing the royal heritage of Louis XIII. The finely crafted gilded metal hardware included a carrying handle at the top, protective corner clasps and safety latches in the form of a stylised lock. The hinged lid opens to reveal the interior lined with green silk and fitted with an inkwell, a pounce pot and compartments for quill pens.”  by Museum catalog

LIANG YI MUSEUM : Great Minds Think Alike: 18th Century French and Chinese Furniture Design 

181-199 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2806 8280, www.liangyimuseum.com

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday; 10am to 6pm

Admission: By appointment only, HK$200 including a guided tour.

Wednesdays free to full-time students with prior arrangement.

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