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1st September, 2016 to 4th March, 2017

 The beauty of the natural world and the passing of the seasons have been celebrated by painters and artisans since antiquity. In China, craftsmen embraced nature by turning magnificent tree trunks into elegant furniture and sculptures decorated with emblems of plants and animals, rich with historical and mythological associations. In Europe, nature symbolism from oral narratives, mythology and poetry found its way onto decorative objects in every century, evolving according to fashion. 

Spanning over three centuries, The Secret Garden: Symbols of Nature in Wood, Silver and Gold investigates our universal regard for the natural world and the manifold ways it is expressed in art. Shown together for the first time, over two hundred works from Liang Yi Museum's internationally renowned collections of Chinese antique furniture from the Ming (1368 –1644) and Qing (1644 –1912) dynasties; European, American and Japanese silver; and gold vanity cases explore how artists, craftsmen and designers from different continents and cultures have formed images of visual beauty in response to nature. It examines the rich symbolic language they used on wood, silver and gold which was intended to be understood by all.

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Table with Shelf and Inlaid Tabletop (detail) Suzhou, China 17th century Zitan and semi-precious stones Height 78 x Width 75 x Length 38cm Liang Yi Museum collection

Necessaire with Internal Clock Unknown maker c. 1910 Gold, rubies and diamonds Height 11.3 x Width 7.2 x Length 19cm Liang Yi Museum collection

Compact Unknown maker c. 1940 Gold, jade, diamond and ruby Height 1.1 x Diameter 8.1cm Liang Yi Museum collection

Set of Salt Holders Russia Maker: Lyubavin 1896 Silver-gilt, filigree and enamel Diameter 3cm (each) Liang Yi Museum collection

Large Standing Screen China Early 19th century Zitan and marble Height 210 x Width 140 x Length 93cm Liang Yi Museum collection

Vegetable Bowl Denmark Maker: Georg Jensen 1925 Silver Width 25cm Liang Yi Museum collection

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