Byzantine and Christian Museum :: Temporary exhibitions

Chinese works of art from the I. and D. Passas Collection

18 December 2019 until 30 September 2020

The temporary exhibition “Chinese works of art from the I. and D. Passas Collection”, organized by the Byzantine and Christian Museum, is the first public presentation of objects from the Passas Foundations collection of Asian art.

The aim of the exhibition is to present the little-known Chinese art of preciousstone carving to the Greek public, as this is reflected in the exceptional works of art from the Passas Collection. At the same time, the exhibition highlights the symbolisms and messages hidden behind the figures and decorative motifs, which is indeed one of the fundamental characteristics of Chinese art. The visitor to the Museum will have the opportunity to admire delicate masterpieces depicting heavenly deities, human figures and mythological animals, elaborate vases and decorative
vessels made of jade (a term that describes two different stones, nephrite and jadeite), deep blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, purple amethyst, transparent rock crystal, iridescent “tigers eye”, dark green malachite, and violet chalcedony. The exhibit also includes miniature sculptures carved in white and red coral.

The objects displayed in the exhibition are arranged in seven thematic units: Echoes of a glorious past, Splendor and Luxury, The world of symbols, Feminine beauty, Objects of worship, Collecting Chinese nephrite jades, and Painting in stone. Throughout the exhibition, visual aids provide information regarding the use of precious stones in Chinese art, especially nephrite jade, or, as the Chinese call it, the “stone of heaven”, as well as clues to interpreting the motifs and symbols decorating the objects.

In addition to the Chinese miniature sculptures, the exhibition also presents paintings by the distinguished painter Efstathia Milaraki, a young artist who has spent many years working in China. Her work, inspired by classical Chinese paintings, creates a dialogue with the stone sculptures adorned with Chinese landscapes. Parallel to this, the interplay between visible and ultraviolet light is harnessed for a unique display combining Chinese sculptures carved in fluorite and works using the painters unique chromatic palette.
A special educational program has been created in the exhibition space on the ground floor of the Duchess Mansion.