Tuesday, April 12, 2011

THE TREASURE HUNTER

MADAME POMPADOUR'S WRITING SET One of the nicest things about travel is the priceless treasures and other artefacts that you get to see, in museums and private collections, in different parts of the world. Priceless jewels, royal one-of-a kind customised collections, religious art, and countless other objects preserved forever.
TRAVEL SET The most beautiful collection of treasures that I saw recently was at the Residenz (the home of the Wittelbach dynasty) in Munich- in the treasury. It looks more like a private collection of treasures in ten intimate, small rooms than a museum: Duke Albrecht V had made a provision in his will that the treasures collected by him will not be sold and this was the beginning of the Treasury. There are jewel encrusted crowns, , exquisite mobile altar pieces like folded books which provided people with a mass wherever they travelled, a compact travel kit that belonged to a French Princess, stone studded ivory crosses, ornate cups of ostrich eggs and, bejewelled daggers which make for a mesmerizing morning. I loved some of the pieces like a gold and enamel statue of St George slaying a dragon made of ruby and emeralds. OLIVE STONE BOAT BRONZE VESSEL WITH  INSCRIPTIONS
JADEITE CABBAGE 
Another great museum where I saw some other unique treasures spirited away from Beijing’s Forbidden City was the National Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. The collections here are so vast that at any one time only about 1% of the treasures are displayed! The show stopper here was a bronze cooking vessel with three legs called the Mao Kung Ting. Inside the vessel are inscriptions from 771 B.C. Another stunner was a tiny boat made from an olive stone: with a covered deck and moveable windows. And that’s not all! The interior has chairs a table, and even dishes! What I really appreciated were the small magnifying glasses which was mounted, so that we could appreciate the details. Another much loved piece is the jadeite bok choy cabbage with semi- translucent leaves and even an artfully carved grasshopper! This has a troubled history attached to it. It was part of the dowry of a Chinese princess, and the symbols on the cabbage like the katydid represented fertility. However the poor princess was not able to conceive and the marriage was doomed. This museum is surely on my list of places to re-visit! 

What are the treasures that you have enjoyed seeing? Would love to know...

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