Here’s a rare treat for History Week: a richly illustrated and gilded porcelain plate that links the threads we wear with history, science, and the processes used in the textile and ceramic industries.
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In earlier blogs I have written with great enthusiasm about the sledges and food taken on Dr Douglas Mawson's 1911-1914 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE). Now I find myself similarly excited about some of the clothing from this expedition in our collection.
The Asian art and design collection of the Powerhouse Museum holds many fine examples of metal craft, including a significant collection of decorated Japanese tsuba (sword guards), as well as kozuka knife sheaths and handles, which use an alloy of copper and gold named shakudo.
Community outreach and engagement is a core responsibility of any museum. This is what helps us to bridge social and cultural divides, develop greater tolerance and understanding, facilitate new connections and relationships with one another and expand our way of seeing.
The history of picnics goes back to medieval times in England and Europe when elaborate outdoor feasts were enjoyed by the wealthy. Medieval hunting feasts and Renaissance era country banquets were the forerunners of the casual outdoor picnics we enjoy today.
Memories and food are often wrapped up together, a well known example is that of Marcel Proust, his Aunt Léonie and her lime blossom madeleines. Rather than madeleines, Joungmee Do, a Korean-Australian artist, uses the concept of the rice bowl to explore her own personal memories and meanings associated with food and tableware, in the context of Korean culture and tradition.
It’s International Year of Chemistry and History Week, which this year has food as its theme: a perfect time to meet Frederick Bickel Guthrie, the chemist on this medal. Guthrie worked with a better-known Australian scientist, William Farrer, to develop strains of wheat that were resistant to both drought and rust, a fungus that damages grain and reduces yields.
On the base of this one pound (0.45 kg) unopened tin of Tower brand tea in our collection is the label “This tin of tea was cached by Commander R.F. Scott during his journey towards the South Pole in 1902.
The knife and fork were not made for playthings, and should not be used as such when people are waiting at the table for the food to be served. Do not hold them erect in your hands at each side of your plate, not cross them on your plate when you have finished, nor make a noise with them.
Edison Tinfoil Phonograph, gravity fed model, made by the London Stereoscopic Company (attributed), 1878-1888, H3168 This tin foil sound recording and play back machine has been in the collection since 1915.