Aboriginal treasures are Beijing-bound

March 13, 2008

Aboriginal treasures are Beijing-bound

Gatineau, Quebec, March 13, 2007 — Some of the most important Aboriginal artifacts in the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s (CMC) national collection are heading to China for a groundbreaking exhibition on the remarkable diversity and creativity of Canada’s First Peoples from earliest times to the present day.

First Peoples of Canada: Masterworks from the Canadian Museum of Civilization is organized by the CMC in collaboration with the National Museum of China. It will be presented at the Beijing Art Museum of Imperial City, from August 1 to October 15, 2008. The exhibition will then tour to other venues in China and Japan.

The exhibition includes 150 artifacts from Aboriginal cultures across Canada, notably the West Coast, the Prairies, the Great Lakes Region and the Far North. It is the largest and most comprehensive collection of Aboriginal treasures ever sent abroad by the CMC. The exhibition will be among the international cultural events presented in the Chinese capital when Beijing welcomes the world to the 2008 Olympic Games.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to showcase historic and contemporary culture of Aboriginal peoples to a Chinese and international audience,” said Dr. Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “The exhibition will highlight the diversity, continuity and creativity of Canada’s Aboriginal cultures, and the First Peoples’ ancient and enduring relationship to the land. It richly deserves this international attention.”

The artifacts in First Peoples of Canada are remarkably varied in age, style, materials and purpose. The oldest is a stone projectile point dating from at least 10,000 years ago; the most recent is an exquisite fur dance-parka hand sewn in 2002–2003. Other artifacts range from feathered headdresses to ceramic pots, ivory snow-goggles, silver spoons, copper knives and birchbark canoe.

“An important result of long-term friendly exchange and cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and Canada, this exhibition will write a new chapter in the cultural exchange between the National Museum of China and the Canadian Museum of Civilization,” said Mr. Lu Zhangshen, Director of the National Museum of China. “The exhibition will add luster to the “One World, One Dream” Olympic stage of Beijing with its special charm.”

The exhibition and accompanying text were prepared by Ms. Nicholette Prince (Curator of Plateau Ethnology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization) and Dr. Jean-Luc Pilon (Curator, Ontario Archaeology, at the Canadian Museum of Civilization). The exhibition display and installation are now being prepared by the National Museum of China. First Peoples of Canada concludes the first-ever exchange of exhibitions between the two museums. From May to October last year, the CMC presented Treasures from China, a collection of outstanding artifacts from the National Museum of China.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is Canada’s national museum of human history and the most visited museum in the country. The National Museum of China is a comprehensive museum focusing on Chinese history and arts throughout the ages. This exhibition has been developed as a partnership between the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau-Ottawa, and the National Museum of China, Beijing.

Media Information:

Chief, Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Tel.: 819 776-7167

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