Tag Archives: public talk

Public talk : Rewi Alley Collection, Canterbury Museum

Rewi Alley and a Bronze bust of Alley by Francis A. Shurrock (1887-1977), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1939. The original bronze cast was lost in enemy action on the way to New Zealand during World War Two. The present bust was recast and donated to Canterbury Museum in 1958 by a group of Alleys’ friends, including Shurrock. It was exhibited at the opening of the Hall of Oriental Art.

Rewi Alley and a Bronze bust of Alley by Francis A. Shurrock (1887-1977), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1939. The original bronze cast was lost in enemy action on the way to New Zealand during World War Two. The present bust was recast and donated to Canterbury Museum in 1958 by a group of Alleys’ friends, including Shurrock. It was exhibited at the opening of the Hall of Oriental Art.

New Zealand’s largest collection of Chinese artefacts is now accessible online.

A website documenting and describing the 1,378 objects in the Rewi Alley Collection at Canterbury Museum has been developed by researchers in the first stage of a three-year Marsden-funded project.

Dr Bullen will give a free public talk about Rewi Alley and the Canterbury Museum Collection at 10.15 am to 11.30 am on Tuesday 3 May 2016 at Canterbury Museum.

New Zealand’s largest collection of Chinese artefacts is now available for the public to view in its entirety for the first time.

A website documenting and describing the 1,378 objects in the Rewi Alley Collection at Canterbury Museum has been developed by researchers in the first stage of a three-year Marsden-funded project.

Dr Richard Bullen (University of Canterbury and Canterbury Museum Research Fellow) and Associate Professor James Beattie (University of Waikato) are investigating the scope of the Alley Collection, why and how it developed and whether the gifting and display of artefacts encouraged favourable perceptions of a ‘New China’ in New Zealand during the Cold War.

Springfield-born Alley visited China in 1927 out of curiosity. He stayed for the rest of his life, only occasionally returning to New Zealand. He donated his first objects to Canterbury Museum in 1932. In 1956 then Canterbury Museum Director Roger Duff visited China and brought back a large collection from Alley. Alley brought more objects during trips to New Zealand in the 1960s and 1970s but more often relied on an extensive social network of New Zealanders visiting China to deliver objects to Duff on their return home.

Dr Bullen says, “The website brings together, in one publicly accessible place, a unique collection spanning 5,000 years of Chinese art and culture. Many of the objects are very old and very rare and we’ve discovered some surprises, for example a painting by important twentieth century Chinese painter Li Keran.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Collections, Exhibitions, Learning, News release