Stick and I went to the Capital Museum to see the Treasures From The Louvre: Art From Ancient Greece exhibit. Stick and I are both classicists so we were really excited to go. It was great to see statues and vases showing stories we could “read” instead of seeing some guy… with a dragon… um… doing stuff… with some other guy… Unfortunately, the actual exhibit was almost completely overshadowed by the behavior of the other visitors.
I’m not really fond of the Chinese custom of eating cold dumplings out of a plastic bag on a crowded bus or subway, but next to priceless antiquities it makes my skin crawl. Ditto for carrying and drinking soda in the museum. You don’t have to be a conservationist or a classicist to know that food and antiquities do NOT go together. It’s an accident waiting to happen, and we can’t go buy a new red-figure oinochoe because someone spilled Coke on this one.
Remember that this is Beijing, so the eating and drinking is in the midst of a crowd all pushing and elbowing each other as they try to take the perfect picture.
I thought this was pretty bad, until I realized that, no, they’re not just leaning over the ropes to get a good flash photo, they’re actually touching the statues. As in, hmm, I wonder if Athena’s dress folds are actually cloth? Nope, it’s marble. Hey, come touch this! It looks like fabric but it’s stone!
I’d like to end with something funny about what a different culture this is, but I have to go write to the Louvre and ask them to take their pieces back to France while they still have them.