Friday, November 14, 2008

Silk Road Museum and Nepal Museum

I went to the Silk Road and Nepal Museums in Insa-dong, and the hike up the long, twisty mountain road made me wonder if I was actually talking the silk road to Nepal. Here is a view looking down to the first turn:

The museum was in an inauspicious, three-story building tucked into the side of the mountain, with a fabulous view.

The Silk Road Museum and the Nepal Museum occupy the same spaces in the building to the extent one really doesn't know where one leaves off and the other begins. This is furthered by the almost complete lack of interpretive material in English.

That being said, it is a charming little place, with scads of antique weapons from ancient Chinese cannon to nineteenth century pistols, juxtaposed against a modern collection of anti-war posters. There are numerous display cases protecting objets d'art with provenance ranging from Turkmenistan to Beijing, and everywhere in between. However, much of the catalogue is actually lying out in the open, stacked in corners, or on tables or filling little closets--temple bricks and roofing tiles from Nepal, silk goods, saddles, animal fur saddlebags, carvings, huge pots, mannekins dressed in antique garb. (I have virtually nothing to add to the photos, so I have not included 'alt tags' for you to read on mouseover.)

When I finally finished wandering through the place, three adjummas, one of them apparently the proprietor, invited me to join them for a few tiny cups of tea. I'm not sure if that was as extra or if it was included with the W 5,000 admission.

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