Gateway to Asia

The Manchester Museum recently became an official member of Virtual Collection of Masterpieces, an ASEMUS – The Asia Europe Museum Network project. The sheer quality and international significance of the Living Cultures Asia collection secured our inclusion.

The Oriental Gallery, The Manchester Museum, 1980s.

We’re in good company, as other fellow members include such esteemed institutions as:

  •  The British Museum
  • The Museum of World Cultures, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan
  • National Museum of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea 


The aim of the project is to showcase and share information about the very many wonderful Asian collections which reside in European and Asian museums. We currently have 10 records online which you can view by following the link below:


Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures

Mana Maori and a Mongolian Bow

Last week saw the welcome return of several of the Living Cultures collection exceptional Maori objects. In October 2010 the objects were loaned to the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, the Netherlands. They were included in the stunning exhibition Mana Maori: The Power of New Zealand’s First Inhabitants which ran from October 2010 until May 2011. The Living Cultures collection is home to over 250 Maori objects, a significant amount of which are of international importance. One such object is the 19th century kuwaha, or carved doorway, which many visitors to Mana Maori saw for the very first time.

0.7857, Maori Kuwaha, Aotearoa, 19th century. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures Collection.

Furthermore, last week also saw the arrival of  Mongolian performance artist Enkhbold Togmidshiirev as part of the Asia Triennial arts festival. Not only was Enkhbold able to give a wonderful performance using his traditional Mongolian ger, or tent, and a lecture, he was also able to see some of the Mongolian bows and arrows in the Archery collection. In an enlightening discussion Honorary Curator of Archery Wendy Hodkinson and Enkhbold shared their enthusiasm, experience and knowledge of the objects. The moment was captured in the images below, in which you can see Wendy, Enkhbold and  interpreter Tsendpurev Tsegmid.

Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures