Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre and Glenbow collaborate on new display of Chinese belongings

Display opens in honour of Lunar New Year


The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre is displaying a selection of objects from Glenbow’s collections to highlight Chinese culture and history. Connecting with Community: A Glimpse at Chinese Belongings launched on January 22 in honour of Lunar New Year celebrations and remains open to the public at the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre through to February 26, 2023.

“These unique objects provide great insight into Chinese history and culture,” says Tony Wong, President of the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre. “Hosting these cultural objects here at the Cultural Centre allows more of the Chinese and broader community to access them and experience their beauty.”

These Chinese belongings were selected collaboratively between Glenbow’s collection team and members of the local Chinese community. By working together, the display showcases objects of great significance and meaning to community members.

“Connecting with communities to share their stories is part of our central purpose at Glenbow,” says Nicholas R. Bell, Glenbow’s President & CEO. “We know many people outside the museum can add richness to the stories behind the belongings in our care. This display marks the beginning of our engagement with the Chinese community. We look forward to working with many other communities as we reimagine Glenbow in the months and years ahead.”

Glenbow aims to build relationships with diverse social and cultural groups across the community to help inform future programming, education and outreach, and identify opportunities for collaboration as the organization works toward reopening the main museum in 2026. Collaborative opportunities like this ensure Glenbow is providing meaningful ways for the community to engage with the museum’s resources.

Objects on display include swords, porcelain and cloisonné vessels, instruments and clothing.  

A robe with detailed embroidery in silk and gold-wrapped thread create the image of a dragon. It has five talons on each foot, its body coiling across the fabric.

One item included is a noble consort’s jifu, a semi-formal court coat worn in the summer months. This coat from the late 18th or early 19th century includes detailed embroidery representing the 12 symbols of Imperial authority, such as dragons and elements of the universe.

A wood engraved dulcimer string instrument. Tuning dials line either side of the instrument with a small drawer in the front of it

Another object is a dulcimer from the late 19th century. The instrument was originally brought to Canada from Canton, China in 1910 by Yuen Kong Chan (Tommy), who received it from his grandfather. As a prominent figure in the Calgary Chinese community, Tommy played the dulcimer at a variety of Chinese clubs, concerts, theatre events and festivals before his death in 1982.

The display is open to the public January 22 – February 26, 2023 at the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre. You can learn more and plan your visit here.

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