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British Museum  🌎 A museum of the world, for the world 🏛 Explore 2 million years of human history 📸📍Tag our location to be featured

At the age of 13, Onishi Isao left home to study the art of ‘urushi’ – a traditional Japanese technique for making beautiful lacquered objects. Learning from a master of lacquer for 10 years, he became totally absorbed by the craftsmanship of this artistic tradition.

The artist creates exquisite trays, bowls and plates by bending strips of aged wood into rings and fitting them tightly together. A special lacquer is then applied to the wooden structure, and is decorated with fine colourful designs. Each one can take a whole year to make!
Watch the full process in our mini documentary – link in bio!🎥 Onishi Isao (b. 1944), round tray in hoop-built technique. Lacquer on wood, 2005. This film series has been produced with the support of JTI.

#OnishiIsao #urushi #lacquer #craftsmanship #Japan #art #Japanese #woodwork #woodworking #BritishMuseum #JapaneseArt

While he wasn’t crushing enemies and hunting lions, King #Ashurbanipal enjoyed scholarly pursuits. He could read and write, which was unusual for an Assyrian king, and he developed the first systematically collected and catalogued library in the world.

The ‘Library of Ashurbanipal’ is a collection of over 30,000 clay tablets and fragments inscribed with cuneiform – a type of writing used in ancient Mesopotamia. The Library contains texts about a broad range of subjects including magic, myths and legends, medicine and military intelligence. Objects from the Library are on display in our major exhibition charting the extraordinary life of King Ashurbanipal.
Find out more and book tickets via the link in our bio.

Supported by BP
Logistics partner IAG Cargo

#BritishMuseum #Assyria #king #AssyrianEmpire #relief #art #AncientHistory #library #cuneiform #exhibition #London

Assyrian kings built on a lavish scale. By the early 7th century BC, the city of Nineveh (now in northern Iraq) was a vast metropolis. Its palaces and temples were adorned with colossal sculptures and brilliantly coloured reliefs. Visitors entered palaces through gateways flanked by massive human-headed winged bulls (known as lamassu) that protected the king from dangerous supernatural forces. Surrounding the palaces were spectacular gardens filled with all sorts of plants and animals, irrigated by an intricate system of canals.

Discover ancient Assyria and its greatest ruler, King #Ashurbanipal, in our latest exhibition.

The BP exhibition I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria is now open – book tickets via the link in our bio.

Supported by BP
Logistics partner IAG Cargo

#BritishMuseum #Assyria #king #AssyrianEmpire #palace #gardens #art #AncientHistory #exhibition #London

Warrior. Scholar. Empire builder. King slayer. Lion hunter. Librarian.

Come face to face with #Ashurbanipal, one of history’s greatest forgotten kings in our new exhibition.

Explore the splendour of the ancient Assyrian empire and marvel at the workings of Ashurbanipal’s great library, the first in the world to be created with the ambition of housing all knowledge under one roof, through an unparalleled collection of objects in our major autumn show.

Discover the world of Ashurbanipal and see amazing ancient artworks in our autumn exhibition – book tickets via the link in our bio.

Supported by BP
Logistics partner IAG Cargo

#BritishMuseum #Assyria #king #AssyrianEmpire #relief #carving #art #AncientHistory #lion #exhibition #London

🧛‍♂️🧛‍♀️ Vampires fascinated artist Edvard Munch in the late 19th century, and he made several dark and sexually charged prints on the theme.
This example was known as ‘Love and Pain’ by the artist, and was first described as a vampiric embrace by Munch’s friend, the critic Stanislaw Przybyszewski. The vampire in this print originally had shocking blood-red hair!

Our curators have selected their top ‘prints of darkness’ in a new #Halloween blog post – link in bio.

#vampires #vampire #BritishMuseum #Halloween2018 #HappyHalloween

🧙‍♀️This engraving shows one of the earliest depictions of a witch on a broom, seen on the right, flying up through the chimney.
Here artist Pieter Bruegel references an earlier Netherlandish artist, Hieronymus Bosch, who was best known for his paintings of devils as hybrids of animals, humans, and inanimate objects symbolising chaos and corruption. Swipe to see the devilish details!

Discover witches, ghosts and skeletons in our curators’ top 10 #Halloween highlights – link in bio.

#BritishMuseum #Halloween2018 #HappyHalloween #witches #witch #broomstick #ghosts

☠️ The skull and crossbones is an instantly recognisable symbol of death. This print from the 18th century was not intended as a work of art – it had a practical use. It may have been pasted onto doors to warn that someone in the house was suffering from a dangerous disease, perhaps the plague.

This #Halloween, discover the supernatural, the scary and the spooky in our new blog post – link in bio.
#Halloween2018 #HappyHalloween #skull #skullandcrossbones #BritishMuseum #prints #drawing #☠️ #💀

These brilliant mid-13th-century tiles are decorated with animals including fish, speckled hares and dog-like creatures, but if you look closer, you can see inscriptions too. The writings are Persian verses from the Iranian epic, Shahnama (Book of Kings). Poetic inscriptions of the Shahnama were found in royal residences during this period.

Discover eight highlight objects from our newest gallery, the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world, via the link in our bio!

#tiles #Islam #animals #Iran #BritishMuseum #Gallery #London #History

Astrolabes were the smartphones of their time, and could be used for over 1,000 different applications!
The word astrolabe comes from the Greek for ‘star-taker’. Knowledge of the stars was an important element of Islamic culture. From the 8th century, scientists and thinkers used instruments like this to gather information relating to timekeeping and the positions of the sun, stars and planets, and pinpoint the direction of Mecca.

This example was made in 1236 in Cairo and is signed by Abd al-Karim al-Asturlabi (‘the Astrolabist’). See this stunning object on display in our newest gallery, the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world. Find out more via the link in our bio!

#Astrolabe #Horoscopes #Astrology #Astronomy #Islam #BritishMuseum #Gallery #London #History

The ‘Hamzanama’, or Adventures of Hamza, is an epic romance about the legendary exploits of the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Amir Hamza. The Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556–1605) enjoyed reciting and listening to its tales so much that he commissioned an illustrated version in Persian, the language of the court.

Taking 15 years to complete, the final work encompassed 14 volumes with 1,400 paintings! In this example, the Old Testament prophet Ilyas (also known as Elias or Elijah) saves Hamza’s grandson Prince Nur al-Dahr from drowning.

Find out more about the objects on display in our newest gallery, the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world, via the link in our bio!

#Islam #Hamza #BritishMuseum #Gallery #London #Persian

It takes a whole year for woodwork artist Suda Kenji to make these exquisite hand-crafted boxes.

Made using a traditional woodcraft technique called ‘sashimono’, they’re so finely made no glue or nails are required to hold them together. Over 20 layers of lacquer are applied to the wooden panels, and once hardened the surfaces are polished to bring out the natural beauty of the wood – in this case maple. Suda also makes the silver fittings himself, controlling every detail of the production process.
Watch the mini documentary via the link in our bio! 🎥📲 This film series has been produced with the support of JTI.

Suda Kenji (b. 1954), Stela Forest in Winter. Urushi lacquer wooden chest with drawers, 2013.

#SudaKenji #sashimono #craftsmanship #Japan #art #Japanese #woodwork #woodworking #lacquer

Japanese artist Kitagawa Utamaro painted this hanging scroll of a courtesan (high ranked sex worker). The fashions and hairstyle of the woman in this powerful and accomplished artwork date it to 1805–1806. As in many of Utamaro’s greatest works, she is shown in a private moment – intently reading a letter, possibly from her suitor. Courtesans were expected to provide glamorous and cultivated company, as well as sexual services, to wealthy clients. Their lives could be harsh and this exploitation was only rarely alluded to in Utamaro’s art, but it was significant at the time that it was represented at all.
#Utamaro #Japan #painting #JapaneseArt #19thcentury #Japanese #art #painting

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