JANUARY 2013
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Nestorian Crosses of the Yuan Dynasty

University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG)
10 Jun - 31 Dec 2015
Opening Reception : 10 Jun 2015, 17:30 - 01 Jan 1970, 08:00
1/F, Fung Ping Shan Building, University Museum and Art Gallery, 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
Nestorian Crosses of the Yuan Dynasty

Nestorian Bronze Plaques of the F.A. Nixon Collection
Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368)
H: approx. 7 cm
Gift of the Hon. R.C. Lee and Mr. J.S. Lee
Collection of the University Museum and Art Gallery
The University of Hong Kong

The University Museum and Art Gallery is elated to open the re-installed display of its large and unique collection of Nestorian crosses, small bronze artefacts that were cast in the Ordos region in north-west China (Inner Mongolia) during the Yuan dynasty (1272–1368). They measure between 3 and 8 cm in height, are flat plaque-like ornaments with an outline in high relief and have a loop on the back suggesting that they were used as personal seals and were worn on the body. The loop facilitates a strapping to human clothing or girdles.

The fine motifs of the cast Christian and Buddhist symbols and the rare survival of red-coloured ink deposits in intermittent lower parts of the design, suggest that these seals were used as chops and transferred their individual designs by printing them on other matters. Although all crosses are cast, a process employed for the repeated production of an exact same size and design, the Nestorian crosses all seem to be unique and are, in fact, characteristic for their individual designs.

Stylistically, all crosses fall into 4 different categories, many with mixed Christian and Buddhist motifs in the same artefact. The largest number of known crosses is executed in crucifix form—hence the group description as “crosses”—with either flat or round ends. Other ‘crosses’ actually show animal shapes, predominantly birds, but also hares, as well as geometrical, such as sun-like, designs and miscellaneous Chinese seal-like forms.
The re-installation of the University Museum’s collection coincides with the University of Hong Kong’s international three-day conference on the Jing Jao Church of the East, its culture, history and art.

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University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG)


90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
museum@hku.hk

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sat 9:30 am-6:00 pm, Sun 1:00-6:00 pm. Closed on public holidays and university holidays

Website:
www.hkumag.hku.hk

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