ASHMOLEAN…..Surprises in Oxfords Treasure Chest

Beware…enter the Ashmolean and you could be lost for days….

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Once you cross under the canopy and enter the Ashmolean you enter not just a museum but another world…..a multi cultural world that stretches back across time…
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Buddha is just one of the icons of just one of this worlds great cultures…but it is just one of many. If you take the time to explore you find that despite the Geographic and Ethnic divides and the various Religious Beliefs, there is in fact much more in common than often acknowledged. The Ashmolean takes you on this world trip of discovery.

But for us the BIG surprise was a Gallery with a rather special Display of Roman and Greek Sculptures.

 I think we are all familiar with the images we see on TV and Travel Books of these giant statues of Gods and warriors, either decorating the Temples themselves or as decor within the Temple and City grounds. Within the Ashmolean there are  examples of just a few.

These stone colored carvings are so familiar we donot question but just admire….

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But this is where the big surprise hits you. Step inside the doorway of this Galleries display and you see these sculptures in a much more colourful way.

Scientist and Archaeologists discovered traces of colours on a great many stone carvings. Scientific Research identified and traced the minerals used to create these colours. Then working on plaster casts made from the original sculptures they have recreated the sculptures in the colours as they once were…..Take a look at Augustus and you see a before and after, quite a visual shock.

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And here are some of the rocks and minerals they had to source  and used in the display.

Bold and brash and not what the brain has become used to seeing on a Roman or Greek God, so it was a visual shock…. so here is a short tour of the rest of the display…..

After enjoying this unique look at one aspect of history you do have to find time to explore the many rooms of treasure.  I guess Historians can and do spend many days searching the galleries….but for many of us it is a pleasant way to spend some time out of the hurly burly of Oxford….

10th July

(C) David Oakes 2015

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