Today we went to the Jianchuan Museum 建川博物馆, the largest privately owned museum in China, 50km outside of the city.
There was an exhibition about the 5-12 earthquake (above shaking grounds) that we wanted to see:
I don’t know what exactly I had been expecting…
…lots and lots of pictures, arranged on a day-by-day basis, covering the time from May 12th up until June 12th:
…showcases displaying parts of the destruction:
…some personal items like this bridal dress found in a wedding photography studio:
…a wall where people could leave notes:
(the large one reads: “I love China 我爱中国”)
Everything was right there on display, neat and in order, and it could have been easily just like any other history exhibition I had been to before:
Only that these things had happened only a little more than three months ago.
The bridal dress…
I didn’t feel so good when I left the building, and so I was happy that there was finally something relieving to look at:
This is a photograph of Zhu Jianqiang 朱坚强, the legendary pig that had survived 36 days without food during the crisis, feeding off charcoal and rainwater. The owner of the museum, Fan Jianchuan 樊建川 had bought the pig from its original owners and named it Zhu (which sounds like 猪 = pig) Jianqiang (meaning “strong willed”). The pig’s name is thus “strong pig”, and it is said to happily reside somewhere on the museum grounds.
The next exhibition hall we visited was about memorabilia from the so-called “Cultural Revolution”:
Guess how many Chairman-buttons there are on the planet?
Well, how does 3.5 billion (3.500.000.000) sound to ya?
Then there was a particularly interesting exhibition hall:
Read yesterday’s post to understand my excitement when heard the explanation:
“The imprints of the Mao-buttons on the floor and the pictures on the wall represent our world during the ‘Cultural Revolution'”, a lady told me, “and the high walls with the overlapping roof show how we had sealed ourselves off from the outside world during that time.”
There was also some strong symbolism in this arrangement of pictures on another wall:
The next part of the museum was about the 2nd Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945:
The last and final exhibition we visited was a particularly interesting one – it was about chanzu 缠足 – the practice of “bound feet”:
A very interesting matter in various aspects, and an interesting read in any encyclopedia, but you’ll have to see the shoes for yourself to understand what’s most astonishing about this: