Speech by CS at "An Age of Luxury: the Assyrians to Alexander" exhibition opening ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)
Mr Andrew Heyn (British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macao), Dr Fischer (Director of the British Museum, Dr Hartwig Fischer), Ms Rhoda Chan (Head of Charities (Grant Making - Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture), Hong Kong Jockey Club), Ms Anita Fung (Chairman of the History Sub-committee of the Museum Advisory Committee), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the opening ceremony of this special exhibition titled "An Age of Luxury: the Assyrians to Alexander".
First of all, I would like to express my warmest gratitude to the British Museum for honouring Hong Kong the privilege of unveiling the world tour of this prestigious exhibition. Last June, we witnessed the phenomenal success of the "Eternal Life: Exploring Ancient Egypt" exhibition that we jointly organised with the British Museum. The three-month exhibition period attracted a record attendance of over 800 000.
The British Museum is renowned for its mammoth collection of the world's cultural heritage of all natures. Five years ago, the Museum brought to us a comprehensive view of the Mesopotamian civilisation at the exhibition "The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia". The Mesopotamian civilisation, or what is now Iraq, witnessed the flowering of sophisticated art and literature together with remarkable achievements in intellectual, spiritual and scientific realms that still have a profound influence on modern life today.
Today, the "An Age of Luxury: the Assyrians to Alexander" exhibition offers us a deeper understanding of the Mesopotamian region known as the "cradle of civilisation".
Showcasing more than 210 sets of selected artefacts including amber jewellery, gold tableware, cast alloy furnishings and decorative wall panels carved from gypsum, the exhibition is purposely curated to reflect the taste and social status of the wealthy and powerful owners of these stunning luxury goods, explore stories of their makers and bring history to life.
These precious relics were made and traded from India to the Mediterranean in the 900 BC to 300 BC era. The exquisite ensemble of artefacts will not only be an eye-opener for the Hong Kong audience and overseas visitors alike but also substantially raise the public's interest in learning the history of the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is committed to developing Hong Kong into a cultural hub in Asia. Last year, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to our motherland and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, we organised a series of blockbuster exhibitions in collaboration with various world-renowned museums including the British Museum, the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Musée du Louvre. We also hosted the first international Museum Summit jointly with the Palace Museum, bringing together 20 speakers who are leading figures and professionals of world-renowned museums from the Mainland, Australia, Canada, France, India, Macao, Russia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
But the best of Hong Kong is yet to come - we are now seeing the West Kowloon Cultural District on the harbourfront starting to have its physical presence and in due course Hong Kong will bring in wonderful museums. One is the contemporary art M+ with 66 000 square metres of exhibition space. The other is the 30 000-square-metre Hong Kong Palace Museum. This world-class integrated arts and cultural district will be the engine to promote the development of arts and culture, meet the growing cultural needs of the public and strengthen Hong Kong's position as an international arts and cultural metropolis.
The "An Age of Luxury: the Assyrians to Alexander" exhibition unveiled today further demonstrates the strength of Hong Kong as the focal point for cultural exchange and development in the region. I wish to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the British Museum for bringing their invaluable collections to this vibrant and cosmopolitan city again. My thanks also go to the British Consulate-General Hong Kong, Mr Andrew Heyn in particular, for their ardent support and close collaboration in bringing this exhibition to fruition. No less important, my gratitude and appreciation must go to the sponsor of the exhibition, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The Trust has long been our all-time valued partner and supporter for numerous blockbuster exhibitions and arts and cultural events.
On this happy note, I wish the exhibition a tremendous success and everyone a memorable journey of luxury. Thank you.
Ends/Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Issued at HKT 18:30
Issued at HKT 18:30