Relics with Rat Design: an Exhibition in Celebration of the Year of the Rat 2020


Date:2020-01-14 ~ 2020-02-23
Venue:Shanghai Museum Lobby, Ceramics Gallery, Painting Gallery and Jade Gallery

       The Rat ranks first in the order of all the Chinese zodiac animals. Despite its being less miraculous than the Dragon, less powerful than the Tiger, less docile than the Ox or the Goat, and less loyal than the Dog or the Horse, it is the Rat that marks the beginning of the cycle, indicating that it is no ordinary animal.
   In Chinese folklore, rats are often associated with oil lamps, melons, and fruits, symbolizing fecundity and prosperity. During the Spring Festival, many Chinese still observe the custom of “rats marrying off their daughters,” for which they celebrate the New Year and express their yearnings for an affluent life. In the creation myths of some Chinese ethnic minorities, this little creature has been considered to be the hero who shed the light to the world with their bites.
   To celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Rat, the Shanghai Museum has selected five works of the shrewd animal to share with you. Exhibited in the Main Hall is a gilded bronze statue of the Yellow Jambhala (“a God of Wealth”), a great charitable deity who grants fortune and protection. Holding the nakula in one hand, he has his eyes wide open, his sash fluttering in the air, and the nakula appears to spew forth precious jewels. The statue is emblematic of munificence, abundance of wealth, and accomplishments. The other four pieces also carry riveting stories that await your discovery. You are cordially invited to locate them in our Calligraphy Gallery, Ceramic Gallery and Jade Gallery.
   As the new Rat year is around the corner, the Shanghai Museum heartily wishes you, our dearest friends, happiness and health. May you enjoy our faithful companionship and may the joy of art and beauty be with you!