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lundi 24 septembre 2012

If you are tired of the BRITISH MUSEUM, your curiosity has fallen dormant

The rain had been falling, as forecast and when it seemed to stop, i bought an umbrella and walked towards the British Museum. Many of the streets are familiar or with a faint nostalgia: Euston Street, Gower Street, then Tavistock Square. British medical Association has their offices here so I popped in to say Hello. The settings remain unchanged and still very british, and proper.
Russel Square, went to see the facade of Russel Square tube station where I had to alight a lot of times to go lectures at Queen Square Hospital. Buildings with the names of their architects: Nash, Yates.. publishing houses and offices of quaint associations  Association of Women Pharmacists..
Then the gigantic columns of the British Museum swelling with crowds, you can tell that the visitors have made this a point to visit: japanese with their audiophones, school children ready to have a history lesson on Greece. The crowd, apart from the Japanese, was mainly European with a sprinkling of Chinese. Didnt see many young asians but heard lots and lots of Spanish, Italian, other languages foreign to my ears..
If you have only one hour what would you do?
In fact British Museum, which to me, is the vast and perhaps the best museum in the world, has devised shorter visits, and also a study of history of mankind through 100 different objects.
It was good to see this very short glimpse of the wealth of the British Museum, even though I had to pass through exhibits which I had gone especially to see many times: the egyptian room,the african room, the persian room, the near east and the Persian room..
This is what you can search out and see in one hour at the British museum, gives you a glimpse of the variety of this place..
The Lewis Chessman, found at Isle of Lewis, prompting the Norway-Scotland trade. Did Norway conquer Greenland for the tusks of the Walrus?

The Exquisite metalwork from Ancient Persia is displayed
Believe it or not, they are more than two thousand years old!
Part of the Oxus Treasure.

What was the popular game among the Royals of Ur?

What was interesting was the long held belief among the Cochin Jews that the local game called ASHA is descended from this royal game of Ur and that the jewish migrants 2000 years ago brought this game to India!

 This is the Roman Inspiration for modern Wedgewood, bought from an Italian merchant by Duke of Portland. it is dated around the first century of the Common Era.
 In a separate section, Japanese history is depicted including the coming of Buddhism. This is a fine example of the Samurai Armour.
Cloisonne Jar with Dragons
from the Ming Dynasty
The Chinese dynasties are well represented with objects and I think one should concentrate one visit just to the China, Korea and Japan section.

There is a fairly large gallery of African Art and artifacts (not as big as Branley in Paris). This detailed carving of the head of a Queen Mother from the Benin Province of current day Nigeria ..
 I looked at this Moai from Rapa Nui with a sweet sensation of nostalgia, thought about my friends Fatima and Pedro from Rapa Nui and the lone medical student from Rapa Nui at U of Havana.. also the Japanese tourist I had met there, who shyly admitted to speaking a little Spanish..
It is truly a privilege to have visited Rapa Nui..

 British Museum has a good collection of Egyptian Antiquities, and this piece of Stelae is just an appetizer. School students were milling around the sacrophagi, the Egyptian Mummies...
By the way Rosetta Stone, found in that ancient city was helpful in deciphering Hieroglyphics since the translation was also written down in both the popular language of that time Greek.. Demotic was the language of the common man which appears here.
The Lion Hunts of the Assyrian kings depicted on wall tiles are very detailed. Only Royals were allowed to hunt Lions which symbolised the victory over nature and protection of the populace..
 The hour long quest to see some of the best examples are ending and you reach the grandiose but polemic Parthenon Sculptures.
The history is of immense interest.
Darius had it in his temple at Persopolis and when Xerxes could avenge the defeat of the Persians at the Battle of marathon, he erased the Acropolis and erected a temple with Parthenon. A temple dedicated to Greek Godess Athena was built and it flourished until about 500 AD, when it became a church and decrepitude.. then abandoned, later a gun ammunition factory and later a mosque.. all but destroyed the grand glory of the Acropolis. The remaining sculptures can be found a the Greek National museum.
 The Impressive Lord Elgin (British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire) collection of the Parthenon.

Now to walk back in nostalgia and satisfaction, through the sumerican section and these gate keepers whom i had said hello a hundred times, just a peek into the 
 Egyptian section, to say hello to the Horus, the Falcon.. In reverence to the American Indians, I nodded my head to this supreme bird spirit..

 The rain had stopped. Walking along streets that had never left my memory.. Great Ormond Road.. Woburn on to Grays Inn Road (thought of two good Malaysians who studied there, different epochs of course: Tengku Abdul Rahman as well Lee Kwan Maung, who was a student leader )

Time for Lunch and in London it is never problems, like mushrooms, the cafes and sandwich places dot the scenery.