|Chinese cultural relics exhibition titled Middle Kingdom has just opened to the public permanently in Swedish Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm. About 1200 objects from Shang Dynasty (1600-1050 BC) to Qing Dynasty(1644-1911AD) are on display.
Swedish Crown Princess Victoria formally opened the exhibition by striking on the bronze gong.
Eva Myrdal, Head of Research and Development of the museum said that Swedish archeologists have found some silk fragments in the ancient graves in Birka in Sweden dated back to the sixth century. This was the oldest example of contacts between Sweden and China in material culture. After that in the 18th century, Sweden and China had more contacts due to trade.
Talking about the purpose of the exhibition, Myrdal said they like to make people change their views about the world's history to see how it was really like in the old days for example in 750 AD.
The largest collection of the Museum is from China through controlled excavations and purchase, but close to the origin of the items. The collections range from the bronze age vessels and weapons to the antiques in the Qing Dynasty.
Nanjing Road In Shanghai in 1926
The Middle Kingdom exhibition began with a woman's head sculpture which was bought by then the Swedish Crown Prince Adolf Gustav in a shop in Nanjing Road, Shanghai in 1926. Far from the place of origin, he was told that this sculpture head came from the border to Gansu, northwest China, while the present research shows that it came from Shanxi province in 12th century's Song Dynasty.
According to Eva Myrdal, the collection of objects partly came from the donation of former King Adolf Gustav the sixth, who was almost an archeologist himself and ordered to donate his 2500 pieces of antiques about China to the museum after his death. Some had been bought from market far from the origin in the early 20th century when China faced various problems and the central control was less. Some were also donated by private collectors. For example two big porcelain urns were given by the Portugese embassy to the Swedish Queen Kristina in the 17th century. Some are from the boat of Göteborg.
"It is understood that some of the antiques were stolen by someone but sold in the shops in Beijing, Shanghai, London or Paris, but it is the documents in China and archeologists who now help people to understand what they really represent, the date or the event", said Myrdal.
"And this is the important part of this exhibition. We hope to develop relationship with present date research in China which will help us to say more about things here because the more it is excavated and the more it is published, the more we will be able to put these things into context." said Myrdal.
She said that Swedish museum has a long established contact with China since 1926 when the collection started and Swedish archeologist Johan Anderson began excavation work in China with the Chinese counterparts. And because Sweden was fortunately not one of the colonialists who invaded China then, it came into an agreement with China in how to divide the results of the excavations. And after the items came to Sweden, the Swedish parliament decided to start a museum for these things.