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This virtual exhibition visualizes Chinese material culture through the bookplates (ex libris) of celebrated Hong Kong artist Malou Hung. A bookplate is generally a small print placed on the inside front cover or free endpaper of a book to show ownership. In an era in which the popularity of print media continues to decline, the practice of including bookplates is fast becoming a dying art. 
The exhibition’s title refers to the surprising ways in which we still encounter bookplates during the act of reading. Alternatively, it stands for the remarkable encounters possible when viewing Hung’s images, which go well beyond the general expectations of standard bookplates. These encounters have the ability to transport audiences across time and space, allowing for the appreciation of ancient artworks and diverse Hong Kong neighbourhoods as viewed from the artist’s extraordinary perspective.

Bookplates have been appreciated for centuries as technically refined and beautiful artworks, as well as critical materials for learning about the history of art, printing, books and design. Many of the works on display pay homage to everyday life in Hong Kong’s bygone eras—informed by elements of traditional Chinese culture—which forms an invaluable resource for the study of Chinese art and Hong Kong heritage.

Curated by Sarah Ng and organized by the University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) of the University of Hong Kong, this virtual exhibition highlights Chinese history and culture as well as UMAG’s collection. The exhibition’s four sections range from daily life in bygone eras to the material culture and craftsmanship of Imperial China: Rituals and Daily Life, Superfluous Things, Revisiting and Craftsmanship. The bookplates are juxtaposed with items from UMAG’s collection.

Please click here for the virtual exhibition.

Please click here for details of the onsite exhibition.
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