Tuesday, October 07, 2014

A Walk Around The Ashmolean

Waaaaay back in June I went on a trip to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The coach journey there was pretty awful and made me feel very ill, but as soon as I saw the imposing Ashmolean facade I felt a little better. I had been given a ticket for the Cezanne and the Modern exhibition, which was interesting and well put together but not particularly my thing. I still enjoyed looking at Cezanne's use of colour, and there were some very beautiful landscapes and watercolours of trees.

Clockwise from top left: Animal figurines including Iranian bronze stag, 1200-1000 BC ; bronze stag figurine, 600-330 BC ; antlers;  forgery of a terracotta figurine of a stag.

After that (and a delicious lunch of falafel and salad in the basement cafe), I had a few hours to look around the rest of the Ashmolean. I naturally gravitated towards lots of deer related objects. Look at those magnificent antlers!

Egyptian leather boot, AD 801-900

There are a wide range of objects on display at the Ashmolean, which I really like. You can see everything from incredible pieces of carved amethyst, to humble boots like the one above. It's amazing how well it has been preserved.

 Clockwise from top left: gold and silver dress pins, third to eighth century BC; necklace-600-330 BC, Kish; gold necklace, AD 100-150; gold necklace with pomegranates, third century BC.

Something else I found myself drawn to was the jewellery. There were some beautiful examples on display which were all very different. I found it very inspiring.

 This bird skull with a rather impressive beak was both fascinating, and slightly terrifying!

Horses of Luristan

I thought this was a particularly unusual and eye catching display. The Ashmolean team really seem to be good at drawing people in with the way objects are displayed. There was a good balance between more traditional displays, and innovative installations like this.

 I realised I had taken a lot of photos of weapons when I got home! My boyfriend is fascinated by them, and I tend to look out for things I think he will like when I do museum visits. Although I'm not keen on violence, you can't deny the incredible craftsmanship that has gone into these weapons, and some of them are really very beautiful.

Overall I really enjoyed my visit to the Ashmolean Museum, and I am hoping to go back for a longer visit (with no coach travel!) as soon as I can. It's a wonderful museum, filled with treasures, and I think for anyone creative it could provide a great source of inspiration. After all, it worked for Tolkien!


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