Extinct Pleasures: The Use of Endangered Materials in Vanities

2014-09-01 10:00 - 2014-09-30 18:00

Extinct Pleasures: The Use of Endangered Materials in Vanities

When: 1-30 Sep 2014
Where: Liang Yi Museum
Opening Reception: 1 Sep 2014 Mon

An ivory vanity case

An ivory vanity case, By an unknown Japanese craftsman, Circa 1915


Liang Yi Museum, Hong Kong's largest private museum, presents its exhibition entitled Extinct Pleasures: The Use of Endangered Materials in Vanities selected from the extensive Liang Yi Collection and on show to the public from September 1 2014.

A handbag made of turtleshell

A handbag made of turtleshell, Bulgari, Circa 1950s

On the upper level of the museum, Extinct Pleasures: The Use of Endangered Materials in Vanities showcases the use of now extinct precious materials which were historically used in vanity cases, necessaires and compact cases.

The inside of a necessaire

The inside of a necessaire, showing its ivory notepad, Circa 1925

From as far back as ancient Egypt, precious natural materials such as coral has been used and found in pre-historic burial sites. In ancient Greece and Rome, the use of tortoiseshell and ivory were valued highly for their natural warmth and colour they imparted to the objects they decorated.

A gold mesh bag with coral clasps

A gold mesh bag with coral clasps, Cartier, Circa 1910

With over 50 minaudieres, necessaires and compact cases in this exhibition, Extinct Pleasures is so named due to the passing of the CITES international treaty in 1975, which in order to protect 35,000 endangered species from exploitation and eventual extinction, banned the use of these materials in any manner whatsoever.

A peek inside a beautifully intricate necessaire

A peek inside a beautifully intricate necessaire, Wolfers, 1950s

Therefore the exhibit not only showcases how these precious natural materials were used and provide insight into why they were chosen, but as Lynn Fung, managing director of the museum explains, also aims to "to raise awareness to the idea that what was once a commonplace material can easily become extinct, if we are not careful about the finite number of resources we have."


In addition to the guided tours offered at the museum, there are now some 20 WeChat zones, where visitors using the app can access extra information about the exhibits. Selected zones will give you for example a more detailed history in the brand Lacloche, once a prominent jewellery brand in Paris, rival to Cartier and Van Cleef, which has now seemingly disappeared. Within the furniture exhibits, visitors can listen to audio from international experts about how inlay is placed onto the wooden tables; or watch a live demonstration of how the collection's largest table can be dismantled and get an insight into the art of joinery.


About Liang Yi Museum
Opened in March 2014, Liang Yi Museum is Hong Kong's largest private museum, located on Hollywood Road, in the heart of the historic district. Housing a world-class collection of Chinese antique furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties, as well as the world's most extensive collection of European vanities, Liang Yi Museum is a significant addition to the arts, heritage and cultural landscape of the city.


Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 Tue-Sat
Tel: 852-28068280
Add: 181-199 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

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