Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Museum Miracle

Liuzhou museum is well worth a visit. Nothing is usefully labelled in anything other than Chinese, but there are cool things to look at. Take a translator.

Also check out the ‘occasional exhibit’ gallery on the first floor. Some good temporary exhibitions. Don’t do what some muppet on Trip Advisor did and cruelly dismiss the entire museum because you fail to notice the three floors of permanent exhibits and assume the small free exhibit was it, as he did.

One thing usually to avoid is the pathetic souvenir shop, labelled as a visitor centre. Totally inattentive staff (often totally absent staff) fail to attempt to sell you anything from the small range of Liuzhou type souvenirs and the whole place seems like a very unwelcoming private tea drinking club for friends of the doorman. If you do try to buy something, they reel back in astonishment as if just finding out for the first time that they are employed in a shop.

A very sad waste of an opportunity. I want to drag them by the ears to the excellent National Gallery gift shop in London. I want to drag me there. And the Portrait Gallery next door. Oh. I’m getting homesick!

But I may be ready to forgive Liuzhou – nearly. I wandered in today and found that, miraculously, for once (actually the second time) they have followed up a temporary exhibit with a book. It isn’t the prettiest tome you will ever see.

fragments - cover

The book is a record of the recent “Remembering the Past and Building a Peace” exhibition about Liuzhou during the Japanese invasion of China in the 1940s.

It starts off with some Chinese art, the relevance of which is not immediately clear, but soon gets into contemporary drawings, some of which are by American flight personnel.

fragments - draewing

Liuzhou after the Japanese defeat. Destruction.

The book also contains many photographs of Liuzhou during the period, some of them very familiar, some I’ve never seen before.

Typically, they pull no punches and dead bodies are depicted along with everything else.

fragments - dead

Bodies found at Liuzhou Airport after the recapture of the city from the Japanese

Among the more familiar pictures is this of what is probably Liuzhou’s first bar. Optimistically named “Spring Victory Bar” it was parked on the river and mainly served US air crew. The book’s caption points out that the boat is typically Chinese so it’s a joint venture!

fragments - bar

I think it should be revived. Crowd funding, anyone?

The book is available from Liuzhou Museum price ¥96

. This entry was posted on Thursday, October 1st, 2015 at 3:13 pm and is filed under About Liuzhou, Art, History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Museum Miracle”

  1. Yiyang Says:

    I’ve been to the two galleries you talked about and I understand your homesickness. However, looking at your blog is really making me homesick…

  2. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    My “homesickness” wasn’t entirely serious.



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