Guided visits to the museum’s storerooms of the Municipality of Milan
STOREROOMS VISIBLE BY BOOKING
Info and booking:
T. 02 54917(Monday–Friday from 10am to 5pm)
Charge:Groups: € 110,00 / in languages other than Italian € 130,00
Schools: general visit € 80,00 / in languages other than Italian € 100,00
Charge for advance sales:€ 1,00 on every reduced school ticket
€ 2,00 on every reduced group or full-price ticket
Groups are to be understood as consisting of no fewer than 15 visitors and no more than 25.
The charge of guided visits are intend not comprehensive of entry to the museum. Booking is obligatory.
The centre collection is visible in the museum’s storages on the ground floor and can be visited by the public on appointment. The displays have been arranged according to geographical and chronological criteria and the provenance of the works: West and Central Africa, the Middle East and Far East, South America and Central America, Southeast Asia, and lastly, Oceania. The earliest works bequeathed to the museum come from a number of Milan’s state institutions such as the Brera Archaeological Museum, the Municipal Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History, while more recently, as the project for the Museum of Cultures became a reality, works have been acquired from or bequeathed by private parties. The works in the municipal art collections comprise over 7,000 objects that span three millennia, from 1500 A.D. to the twentieth century.
The Pre-Columbian and American Indian Collection: 1,627 items
The African collection: 1,162 items
The Alessandro Passaré Collection of African and Oceanic works of art: 448 items
The Franco Monti Collection of African works: 33 items
The Islamic art collection: 436 items
The Chinese collection : 1,028 items
The Japanese Collection:1,574 items
The Southeast Asian Collection: 285 items
The Mariangela Fardella and Giorgio Azzaroli collection of Asmat art: 26 items
The ethnographic collection of musical instruments: 295 items
The collection of hats and fans: 92 items
The second group of sculptures and masks comes from Sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition, part of the collections belong to the well-known scholar Ezio Bassani, the physician Alessandro Passaré and Franco Monti.
Lastly, the collection includes masks and ceremonial sculptures in addition to a sizeable number of utensils and other objects (such as carved wooden doors and locks from Mali) and several small clay statues from the ninth up to the sixteenth centuries. Overall, this collection offers an introduction to the material production of West and Central Africa.
Guinea, Baga People, 20th century, wood, metal tacks. Nimba, ritual mask for shoulders. This particular mask, which represents the mother, shows the parallel between the fertility of women and fields. His performances propitiate the birth and the rains, the growth of children and rice.
Congo, Bakongo People, 20th century, wood, mirror, resin. The reliquary statuette shows a full and realistic face typical of the Bakongo style. The arms, rest on the chest, hold up a reliquary closed by a glass that covers the whole surface of the body. Inside the “medicine” is conserved.
Chinese production, Tang dynasty, 618-906 A.D., glazed terracotta. Bixie, horned sphinx, is a particular "Spirit of the Earth": a guardian of the tombs during the Tang era. Its name literally means "one who drives away harmful influences".
Chinese production, Qing dynasty (1644-1911), stoneware. Green celadon craqueleur vase. Similar in shape to the meiping vases, bulging near the top and tapered at the base, it is displayed with a three-legged saucer (the legs are shaped like lion’s paws). The use of celadon was born in China around the 3th century: despite being known for a long time in Europe, only at the end of the 19th century it started to be interesting among pottery makers.
Chinese production, 18th century, porcelain. ‘Chine de commande’ tea service. In the 17th and 18th centuries there was a growing interest in Europe in the so-called “chinoiserie”, resulting in a brisk demand for items such as porcelains, lacquers, paintings, bronzes and jades. The city of Canton duly specialized in providing articles on commission, produced exclusively for export to the West.
Japanese manufacture, 18th century, wood, leather, iron, silver, papier-mache, silk. A horse’s saddle (umayoroi) consisting of a saddle (kura) in nashiji (“pearskin”) lacquered wood, silverplated and decorated with vines and fruits in relief (takamaki-e) and gold leaf at the centre. Finishings in gold relief decorations. Iron stirrups (abumi) with a silver inlay of a chrysanthemum. Checkered leather saddle pad. Caparison plated with gilt leather squares.
Japanese manufacture, 17th century, wood, lacquer, gilt copper, silver, gold. Document box (bunko) made of lacquered wood, decorated with different maki-e-style (“sprinkled picture”) techniques. The images depicted in the decoration were inspired by the Hatsune chapter of the “Tale of Genji”: on the surface of the box a pavilion, stream and a series of pine trees (matsu) are depicted. In addition, the mon (family crest) of the Tokugawa occurs repeatedly, along with the inscription of a 31-syllable poem.
Japanese manufacture, ceramic vase, last quarter of the 19th century. Glazed ceramic vase, enamelled and partially gilded, globe-shaped and three-legged with lion’s paws legs, the upper part of which, attached to the body of the vase, emerge from the open jaws of a Chinese lion (karashishi). The flattened spherical lid of the vase has a handle in the shape of a free-standing Chinese lion (karashishi). The entire outer surface of the vase is covered with an exuberant decoration consisting of polychrome enamels and gold, naturalistic floral motifs, and geometrical inlays.
Peru, Moche culture, Phase IV (100 B.C. – 850 A.D.), terracotta. Bottle with stirrup handle. The chamber of the bottle is decorated with a long procession of elite members holding hands that spirals upwards around the bottle from the bottom to the top. This is most likely a depiction of a ritual dance, while the line on which the figures are placed may represent a ramp leading up to a ceremonial platform.
Peru, Inca culture, 15th - 16th centuries, cotton and camelid hair wool. Rectangular polychrome textile that depicts a series of quills of the kind applied to certain Andean ceremonial costumes. The warp of the fabric is made of cotton, while the tapestry weft is made of camelid hair, fiber and cotton.
Brazil, Kayapo culture, second half of the 20th century, cotton, feathers and vegetable fibers. Ornamental headdress made of cotton, quills and feathers. The cotton base consists of numerous interwoven strings. The 181 quills (153 red and 28 brown) are arranged in a single row and grow taller at the top of the headpiece, which is attached to a base made of buritì palm fiber by means of special laces. Used by high-ranking males on ritual occasions.
Turkey, 17th century, silk velvet. Textile decorated with staggered rows of large stylized brocaded carnations on a red background. Each flower shape is a composite: from an arabesque motif two serrate leaves (saz) emerge, with a stylized tulip between them; the tulips in turn contain seven fringed carnation petals. Along the short sides of the textile are six sections depicting other stylized floral motifs. The stylized carnation in bloom was one of the most popular motifs for the textiles made in Bursa on the imperial looms and many variations exist.
Central Asia, 17th – 18th centuries, wood, ivory and leather. Saddle wood covered with leather edges and decorations in bone, lacquered in green. It presents a central floral motif depicting a tulip, one of the four classic flowers of Islamic art.
Syria, 16th - 17th centuries, ceramic tile. Square tile with a blue, green and white decoration beneath a transparent glazing. The decoration consists of two facing parrots and part of a medallion defined by a serrate ribbon that contains small flowers painted in negative. The entire surface is covered with large roses in bloom, sinuous flowering branches, bunches of grapes and vines.
Thailand, Ban Chiang, 300 BC - 200 AD., Terracotta, burial pot with red decorations. These vessels, decorated with red spirals and hooks, are typical of the burial sites of Ban Chiang in the northeast of Thailand. Usually, they were buried with the body, containing food or other items for the deceased in his afterlife passing.
Indonesia, 20th century, metal and wood. Kris (dagger) with wavy blade and wooden hilt. Every part of these knives is very finely wrought, with infinite variations. For the Indonesian peoples, the kris has great symbolic value; tradition holds that especially if it is very old and well-made, it has its own “soul”.
ETHNOGRAPHIC COLLECTION OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Pakistan, first half of the 20th century, wood, leather, horsehair, steel, brass, mirror, nylon. Sarinda (archlute), heart-shaped resonator partially covered in leather, which forms the soundboard featuring five inlaid round mirrors surrounded by smaller silver-coloured rings; the same decoration on the sides and the scrall; six tuning pegs (four missing). Various decorations with tufts of coloured thread.
India, late 20th century, wood, steel, copper, brass, wax, pumpkin. Sarasvati Vina (plucked lute). This is the most common chordophone played in classical music in Southern India, mainly by members of the Brahmin caste in the four states in that region of the country. The instrument is usually used for the sangita, a tradition of musical art through which a master teacher orally transmitted his technique, repertoire and personal performing style to his students after a lengthy apprenticeship.
Afghanistan, first half of the 20th century, wood, leather, ivory, metal, natural fibres, mother-of-pearl, plastic, horsehair. Rabab (lute). The Afghan lute is a short-necked lute made from a single block of mulberry wood. Afghanis consider the rabab their national instrument and it is played alone or with the accompaniment of a voice.