— Noted.

The British Museum.

One of my favorite museums in the world is the British Museum in London. It is a beautiful space, the main structures designed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1823, and completed in 1852. In 2000, Norman Foster designed the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court which is the inner courtyard and also the largest covered public square in Europe.




I will admit it. I find museums of anthropology to be challenging. It’s a task to find some kind of emotional connection to historical artifacts, perhaps also because of the underlying notion that the artifacts are so important, they must be delicately placed in a temperature controlled glass case, usually in a dramatic building. Halls are organized by periods and regions, and just one glance at the signs (e.g. Chinese Jade from 5000 BC – present) makes me want to head straight for the cafe and bury my face in a cappuccino.

However, The British Museum is lovely. I spent all day there wandering. The objects are beautifully arranged, with careful attention to color and composition. I found myself wanting to know more about the objects, drawn into the simple (yet carefully considered) context that they were given in their presentation.






One of my favorite pieces was this white porcelain “moon jar” from Korea’s Choson dynasty (1392–1920). The moon jars served practical purposes of for storing rice, soy sauce, alcohol or sometimes displaying flowers. There are now only 20 left in the world. But the reason why the moon jar is so celebrated is because of the purity of the porcelain and the imperfections of the jar’s contour.

“This jar shows this exquisitely, with the imperfections in the clay and the glaze, as well as in the bulge around the centre that marks the join between the upper and lower halves of the body.”




No future plans of making it to London? Check out, A History of the World in 100 Objects, a book that is edited in a way that reminds me of the British Museum’s curation (which is no wonder since it is authored by Neil MacGregor, the museum’s director). One of my favorite objects is #45: Arabian Bronze Hand, from Yemen, AD 100-300.

1 comment
  1. Moon jar, by Adam Buick. | Noted. says: April 3, 20151:23 pm

    […] takes on a body of work based on the Korean moon jar, an imperfect pot that I spotted way back here at The British Museum. Own your very own imperfection pot, via the School of […]

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