Object of the Month

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection.

Stupa

Stupa

Our September Object of the Month is this gilt-bronze model stupa. A stupa is a building originating in ancient India which contained relics or other sacred items. The remains of the Buddha were buried in stupas after he was cremated, and so the stupa became an important Buddhist symbol.

War fan

War fan

Our Object of the Month for August is this Japanese folding fan with a design of the sun disk in red and a gold-leaf ground. It is made from paper and lacquered wood, like many other Japanese fans, but it was used for a different purpose than keeping cool in the summer. War fans were one of the accessories carried by a samurai warrior.

Portrait of Henry Benedict

Portrait of Henry Benedict

This month’s object was researched and written by our work experience student, Christabel Balcomb Nevill. It is an impressive portrait with a complicated history. It is on display in the Castle’s Print Room along with other highlights from Denys Eyre Bower’s Stuart and Jacobite collection.

Bust of a King

Bust of a King

Our Object of the Month for June is this impressive black basalt bust depicting an ancient Egyptian King or official. It was one of Denys Eyre Bower’s most prized possessions and a highlight of his Egyptian collection. On closer inspection however, this suspicious statue reveals its secret.

Thangka

Thangka

From May 23rd, visit the Buddhist Room to view our Object of the Month – this Tibetan thangka, or silk and painted cotton hanging. Originally made to be hung on a temple wall or transported around for education and worship, it is now installed in a new custom-made display case.

Cockerel vase

Cockerel vase

This eye-catching and elaborate vase is our Object of the Month for April. Made in Japan by masters of lacquer and metalwork, it was decorated with a variety of expensive and time-consuming techniques. The motifs were created in tiny detail using inlaid shell, coral, bone, and ivory.

Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara

This impressive statue of a bodhisattva (a being working towards enlightenment) is our object of the month for February. Each detail of this gilt-bronze statue has a meaning related to Buddhist beliefs and teachings.

Articulated spiny lobster

Articulated spiny lobster

In celebration of the New Year, our Object of the Month for January is this articulated model of a spiny lobster. This creature was made in Japan and designed to be lifelike and posable. Spiny lobsters are a staple of the traditional New Year’s meal, and were also a favourite of the samurai.

Jacobite Glass

Jacobite Glass

Our object of the month for December is this engraved glass made for a Jacobite, or a supporter of the Stuart family’s claim to the throne of England. Made in the 18th century, it was designed for toasts to the health of the Stuarts, and decorated in secret symbols and a motto meaning ‘go forth with great daring’.

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