Introduction to Chinese Art
Living with the whole world
Dropper in the shape of a tortoise
Eastern Han (25-220 AD)
For us who live in the present
is important to look at the past to shape our
future. Even the museums are institutions that
make memories of the past, enlighten the
present, and open up for the future.
The Museum of Chinese Art and Ethnography share this vision of life linked to the time in which we live. It also offers another: we don’t live only “in” our times, we live “with” our times, for neither individuals, nor nations are “islands.”
This museum was founded in 1901 through the vision of Bishop Guido M. Conforti, Bishop of Parma, who was amazed by the beauty of the objects of Chinese art he had received. Conforti, who was inspired by a "universal passion", the Museum was to be a tool to raise awareness of China. He expressed his thought with a motto: "make the world one family."
The museum is witness to the attention of the Xaverian Institute to the various cultures that promoted it. From 1901 to 1954, the Xaverian missionaries were present only in China. During that short period of time, they have collected materials of Chinese art:
- Collection of pottery and ceramics,
- collection of bronzes,
- collection of paintings,
- collection of objects in ivory, wood, stone, jade,
- various numismatic collections,
- and a whole range of diverse ethnographic material, such as prints, shoes, stamps, jewelry, ornaments, folding screens, everyday objects, etc…
At that time, China was “distant and
foreign”. In today’s world, there is nothing
“distant”, but nothing should be “foreign.”
The Museum displays rare examples of art and life of many countries, cultures, and peoples. Its mission remains the same: to make humanity with no borders, value our rich diversity: not so much past memories, but hope for the future, so as to live "with the whole world."