LOOKING BACK through my most recent year of Editorials during my brief Christmas 1997 holiday, it became apparent that Chinese art, its museums and supporters, had been the dominant 1997 theme. Especially was this so with the opening towards the end of 1996 of the relocated and vastly expanded Shanghai Museum, with collections that were the subjects of our May-June 1997 magazine. As well as separate articles by the museum’s curators on the Bronze, Sculpture, Seal, Painting, Jade, Ceramics, Furniture, and Coin Galleries, the Director, Ma Chengyuan himself, wrote a separate Preface.
Eight articles carry the museum’s colour photographs of 122 incomparable individual and group Chinese works of art which have stimulated wide overseas and local interest in Hong Kong as well as in Shanghai where stocks of the issue are continually being replenished at the museum’s bookshop.
The previous issue, March-Apri1 1997 , with its cover article, The Three-Inch Golden Lotus: A Collection of Chinese Bound Foot Shoes, had also presented a Chinese subject in an historical, comprehensive way. However, though usually not as seriously discussed or as comprehensively collected by others, the beautifully illustrated miniature Chinese shoes collected by Glenn Roberts and described jointly with Valerie Steele, did evoke some controversy among our readers. More positively it resulted in useful correspondence with the Director of a college museum in America which is devoted wholly to pediatrics and the subject of shoes.
The March-April 1997 number also includes articles by Dr Patrick Conner on George Chinnery and China Coast Paintings; a snuff bottle exhibition, reviewed by collector/cataloguer of snuff bottles, Christopher C.H. Sin; and the Mingei International Museum of Folk Art in San Diego, by Timothy Mertel, an expert on Japanese art who directs the L’Asie Exotique Gallery in San Diego.