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Bristol welcomes the Year of the Monkey

The University of Bristol Chinese Lion Dance Troupe perform at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Press release issued: 1 February 2016

A cultural spectacular will welcome the Year of the Monkey at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery this weekend. Students and staff from the University of Bristol will be helping visitors to celebrate Chinese New Year in traditional style, with dancing lion performances, martial arts, traditional Chinese dances, storytelling, family trails, arts and craft activities, live music and much more on Saturday and Sunday [6 and 7 February].

One of the key attractions is the authentic lion dance performance by the University of Bristol Chinese Lion Dance Troupe, which takes place twice a day.

The University of Bristol Chinese Chess and Calligraphy Society will be on hand to teach calligraphy, while the University of Bristol Botanic Garden will be showcasing its Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden - the largest collection of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs in the UK.

A special pop-up exhibition, entitled ‘Wartime China Through the Lens of Joseph Needham’, promises to give a unique insight into the photographs taken by British scientist and historian Dr Joseph Needham, who was in China from 1942 to 1946 aiding the war effort by supplying laboratory equipment and scientific books to Chinese scientists.

The exhibition is part of the Visualising China project, a virtual online archive of Chinese life which gives users the opportunity to explore and interact with more than 8,000 digitised photos of China taken between 1850 and 1950.

The University of Bristol is sponsoring this year’s event, alongside Lebara Mobile.

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, said: “The programme for this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is action-packed and promises to be a fun and enjoyable cultural experience for all the city to enjoy. Dozens of our students and staff are once again volunteering, and our Chinese students in particular are really keen to share their customs and culture with visitors throughout the weekend.” 

Laura Pye, Head of Culture at Bristol City Council, said: “Chinese New Year at the museum is a spectacular weekend of celebrations and one of the highlights of our calendar. The event wouldn’t be possible without the support of the groups, organisations and individuals who come together to showcase Chinese culture. I would like to thank our event sponsors, Lebara Mobile and the University of Bristol, for their generous support.”

A variety of family activities including mask-making, paper folding and storytelling will be on offer, as well as opportunities to create lanterns and dragons, try your hand at calligraphy and show off your moves during interactive dance classes.

Stalls throughout the museum will be featuring elements of Chinese culture with tea-tasting, acupuncture, Qigong workshops and Chinese medicinal plants. There will also be tours of the museum’s magnificent Eastern Art collection, a Chinese inspired menu in the café and Chinese goods for sale in the museum shop.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is open from 10am until 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday, with performances from 11am to 4.30pm. The Lion Dance Troupe is performing at 11.45am and 4.10pm on Saturday, plus 11.30am and 4.05pm on Sunday.

The Year of the Monkey starts on 8 February 2016 and continues until 27 January 2017. According to the Chinese Zodiac, people born in the Year of the Monkey are intelligent, witty and mischievous.

Further information

A full schedule is available on the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery website.

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