What's important to you?
10 August 2018 | 12:00 am

Fri, 10th Aug 2018

Our World Gallery has been asking the questions, "What do you hold dear?" and "What objects are important to you?" so we've pulled together some of the responses in the feedback area of the gallery. My cameraMunchy MikeSilver hand of FatimaYellow Submarine albumGrandmother's ringEar plugsFamilyIce creamGin

Saffron and oranges
7 August 2018 | 12:00 am

Tue, 7th Aug 2018

Orange is one of the brightest colours on the spectrum so obviously it has always captured the human imagination. Pommes and oranges It may not stun you to learn that the colour orange derives its name from the fruit of the same title, but where that word comes from is quite the globetrotting story. Orange derives from Old French, in which the fruit was known as pomme d’orange, which in turn came from the Italian word arancia. Here’s where it gets confusing. Arancia is actually an adapted version of the Arabic word nāranj, which in itself is taken from the Sanskrit word naranga. Breathe. The first recorded use of orange in the English language is in a will from 1512 which is now kept in the Public Record Office. Prior to the introduction of orange to the English language, saffron was in common use and described the colour. Most common though was the use of the words ġeolurēad and ġeolucrog which referred to a reddish orange and a yellowish orange respectively. The King of Carrots As well as its namesake citrus fruit, orange is a colour that in nature we often associate with autumn and tubers. Carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes are all orange and their colouration is thanks to a chemical called carotene. Carotenes are pigments that are used by plants to convert light energy into the chemical energy they need to grow. The leaves of deciduous trees turn orange in the autumn as the production of green chlorophyll ends leaving the orange pigmentation of carotene only. Although carotene derives its name from carrots, prior to the 18th-century carrots were not orange at all. European carrots were usually white or red and carrots from Asia were purple. Orange carrots were actually bred by Dutch farmers to pay tribute to William I of Orange who had helped lead the Dutch in their independence struggle against the Spanish Habsburgs. One side-effect of orange entering the lexicon so late is that a number of animals that are distinctly orange in colouration are often referred to as red such as foxes and squirrels. Orange may not seem an ideal colouration for these animals given they spend a lot of their time amongst green leaves, but it still provides useful camouflage amongst the brown of wooded areas.Worth its weight in saffron For a very long time it was difficult for orange pigments to be produced by humans in great quantities safely. From ancient times through to the middle ages, orange dyes were produced using realgar, orpiment, minium, and massicot, but these minerals are highly toxic. Saffron was a natural source of orange pigment but proved far too expensive to be used to produce large quantities. Saffron is best known as a spice derived from the Crocus sativus (saffron crocus) and has been highly prized since the era of the Minoans at least. Saffron has always been highly prized throughout Europe and Asia for use as a spice, in perfumes, as pigment, and as medicine. Saffron is so highly valued as it’s quite simply a case of there being too little to go around. Saffron itself is the stigma of the saffron crocus’ flower, with each flower only producing three stigmas. To put that in perspective – a pound of saffron is at least 70,000 threads. This rarity means that even in the modern day with all our intensive farming a pound of saffron can cost as much as US$5000.As science progressed and orange pigments such as chrome orange could be made synthetically the colour took on importance for a number of artistic movements. Orange was highly popular with the Pre-Raphaelites of Britain inspired by the flowing red-orange hair of Elizabeth Siddal, a model and wife of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists such as Monet, Van Gogh, and Gaugin, were also keen adopters of orange in their work. Colour theory dictated that placing orange next to blue brought out that vibrancy of both colours and so it is common to find these colours in many of the best known paintings of these movements.A "Glorious" colour Due to the House of Orange-Nassau, one of the most important European royal houses in history, the political connotations of Orange are still felt across the continent. Although they are now known as the ancestors of the royal family of the Netherlands, the House of Orange-Nassau originated in the 12th century in the Principality of Orange in southern France. The principality was not named for the fruit but rather took its name from a Roman city founded in 35BC called Arausio, for a local Celtic river god. The Principality of Orange was inherited by William I, the son of the Count of Nassau, in 1544, who would unite the titles upon his father’s death to create the House of Orange-Nassau. William would become a particular favourite of the Habsburgs who ruled the Holy Roman Empire and was installed as governor of Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht. However, outraged at the violence the Habsburgs were perpetrating against the Protestant population of the Netherlands, William would turn against his masters and lead the fledgling nation in its fight for independence during the Eight Years’ War.Due to the actions of William of Orange, orange is now a colour associated with both the Netherlands and Protestantism. This connection between the colour orange and Protestantism in time spread to the British Isles as William’s descendant and namesake, William III of England, would depose the Catholic King James II alongside Queen Mary II during the Glorious Revolution. To commemorate William and Mary’s victories, Protestants in Ireland adopted orange as their colour to honour the Dutchman. The orange of the Republic of Ireland’s flag represents the Protestant communities of the nation and in Northern Ireland, the Loyal Orange Institution, or Orange Order as it is more commonly known, is a Protestant and British unionist society named for William. Illumination It is not just Protestants though who place specific importance on the colour orange. It is a hugely significant colour in both Buddhism and Hinduism too, and it is common to see monks of both religions wearing saffron robes across Asia. In Hinduism, it is common to see Krishna adorned in saffron clothing, and the colour is associated with sacrifice, abstinence, and a search for salvation. The flag of India includes a saffron sash to represent the Hindus of the multicultural nation. For Buddhists, saffron and orange is the colour of illumination and it was decreed by the Buddha himself that monks should wear saffron robes. Monks of the different branches of Buddhism have adopted different coloured robes, and it is the monks of Theravada Buddhism that is mainly practiced in southeast Asia that have chosen orange as their colour.Safety first For many of us, orange will be a colour associated primarily with safety. Orange is the colour most easily seen in dim light or against water making it a colour that is commonly used when high-visibility is required. This has seen it used to colour lifeboats, life jackets, bridges, prisoner uniforms, and even astronaut suits. Even black boxes used to record flight data on aeroplanes are actually coloured orange so they are easy to spot with the naked eye. Playlist ORANGE In recent years plenty of musical artists have turned to shades of orange for inspiration, check out our orange-themed Spotify playlist to see what we're talking about. Whether it's Frank Ocean's debut "Chanel ORANGE" or R.E.M's more sinisterly named "Orange Crush", it's a great leaping off point for you to find out plenty more about this fascinating colour.   Don't forget though that you can learn plenty more about a whole spectrum of colours at our exhibition Colour: The Rainbow Revealed.

The Museum of Your Life part 2
3 August 2018 | 12:00 am

Fri, 3rd Aug 2018 Our World Gallery asked the questions, "What objects do you hold dear?" and "What is a life well lived?"  We've been asking you to tell us about the objects that mean something to you, and we've had some fantastic responses. Designer Wayne Hemingway tell us about how an early Buzzcocks EP helped spark a life of creativity.CBeeBies presenter and self-proclaimed 'nature nut' Ferne Corrigan tells us about her salad servers from Malawi.Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie tells us about her waterphone, which not only sounds but looks beautiful.Sculptor David Mach RA tells us what his daughters hand written note on a napkin means to him. Actress Kellie Shirley talks about her piece of theare history and what it reminds her of.What do you hold dear? Tell us online and visit the World Gallery to hear more stories.

Around the World in 80 Objects Part Two
31 July 2018 | 12:00 am

Tue, 31st Jul 2018 Our Around the World in 80 World Gallery Objects Tour is well under way now. We've travelled across Southern Europe, the length and breadth of Africa, and now we're heading towards Asia. Every day on our Twitter for 80 days we'll be posting a new object that you can see in our World Gallery as we navigate a route around the world. We'll take you over mountains, deserts, and oceans, as we plot a course that shows the global span of our Anthropology collection. Having started right here in England, so far we've moved south through Europe, across Africa, ando now we're looking to sweep through Asia. From there we'll go island-hopping through Oceania, and traverse the Americas, before swinging back around to Lewisham via the Arctic. So join us as we follow in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg and celebrate human creativity, imagination, and adaptability around the world.  A short trip across the Mediterranean from Sardinia brings us to Algeria for Day 7 of our tour of the world in 80 objects found in our #WorldGalleryThis oil lamp was made by the Kabyle peoples of Algeria, the second largest Berber group in North Africa.https://t.co/3kAWYbwxcEpic.twitter.com/A2gWvsrblQ — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 6, 2018  As we continue our around the world in 80 objects tour we're going to have to cross the Sahara.The Tuareg peoples of the Sahara have been riding camels for centuries. There are over 50 words for a camel in Tamasheq. See ours in the #WorldGalleryhttps://t.co/XRd7wqmbZf pic.twitter.com/236XnoCFxR — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 7, 2018After an arduous journey across the Sahara we've reached Mali on day 9 of our Around the World in 80 objects tour.This mask was made by the Dogon people, a group known for their unique art and architecture style. #WorldGalleryhttps://t.co/l5pJp39hep pic.twitter.com/x31wXMBE8N — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 8, 2018Our next stop on our Around the World in 80 objects has brought us to Niger.Niger is home to over 2 million Tuaregs. This silver earring demonstrates to us the wonderful craftsmanship of this nomadic people.https://t.co/Ip2nFBc9lJ pic.twitter.com/HYNdpBJm1T — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 9, 2018Nigeria is the next stop on our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects tour.This wooden plaque was made in 1926. Its central carving depicts a colonial officer and his wife, but on either side of them are two Obas (rulers) of Benin.https://t.co/JY2jsFDkwc pic.twitter.com/0FDMmLUIHK — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 10, 2018We're staying in Nigeria for the next day of our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects tour.This painting by an unknown Nigerian artist depicts Dele Giwa. A radical journalist widely known for uncovering political corruption assassinated in 1986.https://t.co/q9DDGMZerN pic.twitter.com/51BJEv6Y4m — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 11, 2018You may think our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects tour is exhuasting, but the Mbendjele people live a nomadic life with the women carrying everything they own in baskets like this.Find out more about them in our World Gallery. https://t.co/BF3kQv7V9y pic.twitter.com/ikcf5ZlOor — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 12, 2018On day 14 of our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects tour we're moving into Central Africa. The Songye people who made this mask live throughout the Congo basin and are renowned for their skill as woodcarvers.https://t.co/zFwxwlwMOR pic.twitter.com/RUfJLTcqvf — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 13, 2018For day 15 of our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery objects we're staying in the Congo Basin.This statue would act as a fetish for spirits known as "Nkisi" to inhabit.https://t.co/C7ANisvZlv pic.twitter.com/kkdW94Ncjs — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 14, 2018The last few days of our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery objects has seen us celebrating the cultures of Bantu peoples.Bantu cultures spread from the Congo all the way to South Africa and include the Xhosa people who made this intiricate pipe.https://t.co/bXAr2kYfGp pic.twitter.com/RU707Ozv2e — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 15, 2018Remember the Italian snuff box we shared on day four of our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery objects tour?Well today we're sharing a snuff gourd from the Zulu people of Southern Africa. https://t.co/xuiUGbap0v pic.twitter.com/Sud456AMZQ — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 16, 2018Our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery objects tour brings us to Mozambique next.This bowl was collected in Mozambique by Valerie Vowles, Keeper of Ethnography at the Horniman between 1976 and 1982.https://t.co/C3zFy8ldYW pic.twitter.com/eSTy4q47v8 — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 18, 2018Day 20 of our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects tour sees us stop at Lake Eyasi in Tanzania.The Hadza people have inhabited northern Tanzania for thousands of years. This beautiful object is an a'untenakwete, a gourd used to store animal fat.https://t.co/FMZ9Ib9z3d pic.twitter.com/BXx2bLsxVm — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 19, 2018For today's leg of our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects tour we've decided to stay by the banks of Lake Eyasi.This bag was made by the Hadza people and has been crafted with imapala leather.https://t.co/5NZ1rFB7AO pic.twitter.com/wnbyv45oEu — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 20, 2018It's early so no doubt you could do with some coffee. Thankfully the next stop on our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects tour is Uganda where coffee is a major export.This coffee bean carrier was made by the Nyoro people. It's rather charming.https://t.co/V3lf8crCn6 pic.twitter.com/5u6Jj9Ocb9 — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 21, 2018The next stop on our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects tour is Kenya.Stools such as these are used by the Kamba people to keep records of their lives. The decorations on top are coded information that record important details of a lifetime.https://t.co/v8SzqNl62D pic.twitter.com/O85JbMzslA — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 22, 2018Next stop on our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects Tour: Somalia.This milk or butter jug has been decorated with cowrie shells which have been used by cultures around the world as currency or jewelry. https://t.co/T1c85FvEtC pic.twitter.com/gp4JLOyYkg — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 23, 2018Our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects tour is thirsty work, thankfully we have this water carrier handy.This Somalian water carrier has been made from a hollowed out ostrich egg.https://t.co/QSAriqMxsx pic.twitter.com/sAJ6bsU0pC — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 24, 2018The next stop on our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects Tour is Ethiopia.This Coptic scroll from the northern city of Axum is an example of the importance of Christianity in the country. The Ethiopian church is one of the oldest in existence.https://t.co/CBjX5gpHjA pic.twitter.com/uMfBuqt3lN — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 25, 2018Onward to Sudan in our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects Tour.These "magic whistles" were made by the Azande people. Each whistle serves its own purpose such as to bring rain. A spell would be recited and the whistle then blown. https://t.co/VrbJAZWJFW pic.twitter.com/KFtZQhaNR1 — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 26, 2018We have a real treasure for you on the latest leg of our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects Tour.From Egypt, we have an ancient funeral tablet. Steles like this were used since the time of the First Dynasty of Egypt. https://t.co/G3gvTbmoV6 pic.twitter.com/dg7hBQaX86 — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 27, 2018More finds from Egypt on our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects Tour today.Scarab amulets were hugely popular in ancient Egypt and were likely associated with the god Khepri.https://t.co/y5apTJmQSS pic.twitter.com/yzGwUcZLOS — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 28, 2018The next stop on our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects Tour - Palestine.This mother-of-pearl shell has been carved to depict the Assumption of Mary. I guess they don't call it the Holy Land for nothing.https://t.co/U5TxOS16DF pic.twitter.com/v2yqRl7n4G — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 29, 2018Our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects Tour is stopping in Lebanon, more precisely Tyre - one of the great Phoenician cities.The Phoenicians sailed throughout the ancient Mediterranean spreading their wares and language as far as Gibraltar.https://t.co/IbZZKShrK8 pic.twitter.com/6bduJCebV4 — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 30, 2018Day 32 of our Around the World in 80 #WorldGallery Objects Tour has brought us to the island of Cyprus.This terracotta horserider was made in the 7th or 6th century BC when the island was under the influence of the Persian Empire.https://t.co/nNPvYo0N8Q pic.twitter.com/TuzAYXtZFW — Horniman Museum and Gardens (@HornimanMuseum) July 31, 2018 

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