Jessica Harrison Hall Discusses a Rare Ru Ware Brush-Washer from the Sir Percival David Collection
Booking not necessary, free, first come first served
Jessica Harrison Hall, Head of the China Section at the British Museum explores the history of a beautiful Ru ware brush-washer. Learn why it is so incredibly rare and how it was collected by Sir Percival David and displayed at the British Museum.
The Sir Percival David Collection, displayed in Room 95 at the British Museum, is one of the foremost collections of Chinese ceramics, whose scholarly value is recognised by experts around the world. It is comprised of some 1,700 objects, mostly ceramics, and is shown in its entirety free of charge to visitors. Two hundred of the most outstanding ceramics are positioned in cases in the centre of the room, whilst the remaining 1,500 pots are displayed more densely in a library of ceramics in the wall cases. This display strategy evokes the Qing dynasty’s tradition of showing curios and antiques on staggered shelves, which the emperors favoured for displaying a maximum number of collectables in the palace. This method of display is also reminiscent of the ‘cabinets of curiosities’ typical of the Enlightenment era, and which can be admired in the Museum’s own Enlightenment Gallery, Room 1.
Jessica Harrison-Hall MA FSA is Head of the China Section and Curator of Chinese Ceramics (including the Sir Percival David Collection) at the British Museum. Her research interests are in the material culture of the Song to Qing dynasties and China’s global relationships. Her latest book, China: A History in Objects, published by Thames and Hudson in 2017, explores 6,000 years of Chinese culture.