A Travellerspoint blog

Just a Rainy Day in Tsim Sha Tsui.

A Visit to the Hong Kong Museum of Art.

storm

Flowers on Signal Hill.

Flowers on Signal Hill.

I've probably said it many times before, but summer is the most unpleasant of the seasons here. The weather is either bright and sunny but with really high temperatures and high humidity, so that you feel exhausted just walking a few metres, or it's pitch black, pouring with rain and thunder and lightning. Throw in the occasional devastating typhoon and you will understand why most people here cannot wait for autumn to return.

Yesterday, was the first hot and sunny day after about a week of rain, so I went swimming, but, maybe I am just a moaner, I was really irritable. The water in the pool was like stepping into a hot bath and it was way too busy, as everyone was trying to take advantage of the one non-rainy day. Today I woke up to torrential rain, thunder and lightning, but I still went out, as I have been feeling a bit stir crazy of late.

I decided I would start by taking a quick look at Signal Hill Park in Minden Row, Tsim Sha Tsui. I've been meaning to do this for a while. To get there I took the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui and exited through exit L1. I then went left and left again up a flight of stairs. Signal Hill Park, which is also known as Blackhead Point, is at the top of these stairs. There's a painting on the wall at the bottom of the hill to indicate its presence, but this was obscured by a construction site, so I didn't bother photographing it.

Sign for the tower.

Sign for the tower.

Signal Hill is around 40 metres high. First, you climb up a slope, then a few flights of steep steps. At the top there is an old signal tower. It is possible to go inside, but, naturally being me, I went when it was closed. The opening hours for the tower are: 9:00 to 11:00 am and 4:00 to 6:00 pm daily.

Signal Hill Park.

Signal Hill Park.

Flowers in the park.

Flowers in the park.

Flowers in the park.

Flowers in the park.

The Edwardian red brick signal tower located here was built in 1907 by the Hong Kong Observatory. Originally it housed a time-ball apparatus. This apparatus had previously been located in the Round House of the Marine Police Headquarters, which is now Heritage 1881.

Signal Tower.

Signal Tower.

Signal Tower.

Signal Tower.

The purpose of the time ball apparatus was to signal accurate time to sailors and the general public, so they could set their clocks etc by it. The time-ball service at Signal Tower began on 8th January 1908 and ended on 30th June 1933. By that time improved technology had rendered it obsolete.

The original Signal Tower was only three stories high, but an additional story was added in 1927. This brought the tower to a height of sixty-two feet and made it more visible to incoming vessels. From 1908 to 1920, the time ball was dropped just once a day. This process involved raising a hollow copper ball, which was six feet in diameter, to the top of a mast using a hand winch. Then at exactly 1 pm the ball was released and fell to the bottom of the mast. Later, between 1920 and 1933, the time ball was dropped twice a day at 10 am and 4 pm.

During World War Two, Signal Hill Tower was used as an ammunition store. Nowadays Signal Hill Tower is a Grade 1 listed building. In addition to the tower, there are also remains of an old gun battery here. Apparently this housed four guns. During the war, it is believed anti-aircraft guns were placed here. In peace times there were ceremonial cannons, used to give gun salutes. The soldiers stationed up here were tasked with monitoring the positions of vessels entering and leaving Victoria Harbour.

Gun battery.

Gun battery.

Gun battery.

Gun battery.

There are views over Victoria Harbour from Signal Hill Park, though it certainly does not have the best vantage point any more due to land reclamation and tall buildings on the shoreline. There is a little pavilion to sit in at the top of the hill.

The pavilion.

The pavilion.

View over the harbour.

View over the harbour.

View from the park.

View from the park.

There certainly isn't enough at Signal Hill to justify it as an outing in itself, but if you are ever in Tsim Sha Tsui for another reason, it is worth a look.

It didn't take long before the torrential rain, thunder and lightning started up again. I decided any further explorations were going to have to be indoor ones, so I headed off to the Hong Kong Museum of Art. I don't usually enjoy museums, but every now and then I am in the right mood for one. I loved it here and spent hours looking around. On the way I passed the K11 Musea Shopping Mall and the Space Museum.

K11 Musea, part museum, part shopping centre.

K11 Musea, part museum, part shopping centre.

Sculpture and Space Museum.

Sculpture and Space Museum.

I think this statue looks like deer, but its reflection looks like a spider.

I think this statue looks like deer, but its reflection looks like a spider.

Fountain with flowers.

Fountain with flowers.

The Hong Kong Museum of Art began life in 1962 as the City Museum and Art Gallery and was located in the City Hall, Central. In 1975 the museum was divided into two parts: the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Later in 1991 the Hong Kong Museum of Art moved to these new custom built premises at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. First and foremost I loved the building. It's very modern, extremely spacious and has superb views over the harbour. There are lots of hands on activities to do, the museum is very child friendly. There are lots of places to sit and relax and clean toilets on every floor.

The Hong Kong Museum of Art, celebrating 60 years.

The Hong Kong Museum of Art, celebrating 60 years.

View over the harbour from the museum.

View over the harbour from the museum.

Models of birds flying in front of the museum windows.

Models of birds flying in front of the museum windows.

Windows and birds.

Windows and birds.

View from the window with giant painted on waves.

View from the window with giant painted on waves.

People sitting enjoying the harbour view.

People sitting enjoying the harbour view.

From certain angles the window glass created patterns on your photos.

From certain angles the window glass created patterns on your photos.

Many of the building's doors were made to look like moon gates.

Many of the building's doors were made to look like moon gates.

Activities for children.

Activities for children.

Entry to most of the museum is free, but there are special fee-paying exhibitions, too. The current one was on Baroque Art. I did not go to this. Instead I looked at the permanent exhibitions.

I had a look at 'City Rhymes: The Melodious Notes of Calligraphy'. According to the brochure - Chinese calligraphy is the only script-based form of art that has thrived for over a millennium. It has evolved from purely a medium of communication into an embodiment of abstract aesthetic that represents the calligrapher's spirit and sentiments. Of course I can't actually read any of it, but some of it is quite beautiful.

City Rhymes Sign.

City Rhymes Sign.

Calligraphy as art.

Calligraphy as art.

Calligraphy.

Calligraphy.

Nearby there was an exhibition devoted to the art collection of the late Chinese Art connoisseur Low Chuck-tiew. His collection comprised works dating from the fifth to the twentieth centuries. He gifted much of his collection to the museum.

Statue of Low Chuck-tiew.

Statue of Low Chuck-tiew.

Chinese painting.

Chinese painting.

Chinese painting.

Chinese painting.

There were two exhibitions in particular which I really enjoyed. One was called Shopping in Canton and it was about the trading of Chinese products to foreigners in the past. It had an animation area showing the inside of different shops and examples of the products foreigners sailed here to acquire.

Apparently during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Canton was the centre of foreign trade in China. There were busy shopping streets next to the Pearl River around the Thirteen Factories District in the south west of the city

Shopping in Canton Exhibition Sign.

Shopping in Canton Exhibition Sign.

Animated traders.

Animated traders.

Animated traders.

Animated traders.

Pictures of traders.

Pictures of traders.

Naturally one of the items overseas traders wanted was silk and there were beautiful pieces of embroidered silk on display.

Embroidered silk.

Embroidered silk.

Embroidered silk.

Embroidered silk.

Embroidered parasol.

Embroidered parasol.

Another very important item was tea and there were lovely tea caddies on display, too.

Ornate tea caddy.

Ornate tea caddy.

Tea caddies.

Tea caddies.

Picture of a tea seller.

Picture of a tea seller.

At first I was surprised to see silver ware then I remembered there are silver mines in Mui Wo, Hong Kong and in other areas of Southern China.

Silverware.

Silverware.

Of course another huge export item was porcelain and there were plenty of examples on display here.

Painting of a porcelain shop.

Painting of a porcelain shop.

Porcelain.

Porcelain.

Porcelain objects.

Porcelain objects.

I was interested to read that Chinese people started doing art works that they knew foreigners would like. These were very different from the kind of art they themselves liked. This art work could be portrait painting, pictures of sailing ships, or scenes from Chinese life.

Paintings of sailing ships for foreigners.

Paintings of sailing ships for foreigners.

Paintings for foreigners.

Paintings for foreigners.

Art for foreigners.

Art for foreigners.

Paintings for foreigners.

Paintings for foreigners.

Other things that attracted my attention were some lovely sewing boxes, some items made of ivory which, of course, is now banned here, lacquer ware furniture and a model of a flower boat. That sounds and looks like it should be very pretty, but these were actually floating brothels. Many of the women working on these had been sold to the brothel keeper. Pretty sure their life would have been hell.

Sewing kit.

Sewing kit.

Ivory boxes. Yes I do know it would look better on the elephant. Pretty sure it's old and sale of it is now banned.

Ivory boxes. Yes I do know it would look better on the elephant. Pretty sure it's old and sale of it is now banned.

Lacquer ware.

Lacquer ware.

Model of a flower boat. Looks pretty, nice name, but these were basically floating brothels.

Model of a flower boat. Looks pretty, nice name, but these were basically floating brothels.

The second exhibition I was really impressed with was called Pop Colours. This also showcased Chinese products, but this time they were grouped according to their colour. There was some information about when each colour had been fashionable and about what each colour may have symbolised.

Pop Colours Exhibition.

Pop Colours Exhibition.

Blue was apparently popular during the reign of Emperor Huizong. It is supposed to represent serenity.

The Colour Blue.

The Colour Blue.

Blue ceramics.

Blue ceramics.

Blue Vases.

Blue Vases.

Red stand for innovation. Red objects first became popular during the Qing Dynasty when advances were made with red pigmentation. As red ceramics required very high temperatures, many broke while being fired in the kiln. Lang Tingji was in charge of the royal kiln and the red pigmentation was called after him.

The Colour Red.

The Colour Red.

An arrangement of red items.

An arrangement of red items.

Red Vase.

Red Vase.

Red Ceramics.

Red Ceramics.

Black was popular during the reign of Emperor Qin and stands for fortune. I did not take many photos here as the attendant kept following me. I don't know if she was just bored, or if she thought I was going to run off with the entire collection.

The Colour Black.

The Colour Black.

Black items.

Black items.

White stands for sophistication and was popular during the reign of the Emperor Yongle.

The Colour White.

The Colour White.

White models of gods and goddesses.

White models of gods and goddesses.

White Vases.

White Vases.

Yellow was an imperial colour, only the emperor and empress could wear it. It was popular during the reign of Emperor Qianlong.

The Colour Yellow.

The Colour Yellow.

Golden gods.

Golden gods.

Yellow teapot based on a Chinese character.

Yellow teapot based on a Chinese character.

Gold Embroidered robes.

Gold Embroidered robes.

Another area was called 'Mastering Masterpieces' and tried to teach the fundamentals of Chinese painting. I liked that the walls of the exhibition were shaped like mountains and some bits projected out from the walls. Images of figures and animals moving through the landscape were then projected onto these. This was to teach how to convey depth. There was also lots of information about how to make the different coloured inks for the paintings.

Mastering Chinese painting.

Mastering Chinese painting.

Mastering Chinese painting.

Mastering Chinese painting.

I took a short rest up in the attic area of the museum. This had various areas people liked to take pictures with, such as its cloud cushions.

Up in the attic.

Up in the attic.

Up in the attic, cloud cushions.

Up in the attic, cloud cushions.

Feeling refreshed I had a look at portrait play. Here you could grab a frame and get your photo taken pretending to be a painting. There were also computer screens covered with parts of the face such as lips. When you click on the lips, you are taken to the portrait they are part of and given information about the painting. I was enjoying this until when I was investigating noses, I accidently pressed a camera button and projected an image of myself onto the screen behind me. I don't know what's meant to happen after that, but as people gathered around looking at my image on the wall, I am ashamed to say I ran away. I'm not too fond of being the centre of attention, I can tell you.

Portrait Play.

Portrait Play.

Portrait Play.

Portrait Play.

Portrait Play. I ended up on that screen with everyone watching to see what I was about to do. Nightmare.

Portrait Play. I ended up on that screen with everyone watching to see what I was about to do. Nightmare.

Even exiting the museum was fun. It was possible to just go out the way you had come in or to walk through an exhibition which, I think, was supposed to represent the journey through life. I was tired by this stage and did not take time to read about anything I was passing. I didn't entirely understand what was going on, but it was photogenic. Every now and then you would come to something that would say something like: get married/don't get married, stay in your job/change your job. I suppose it was all meant to make you consider your life choices. Personally I just liked the fact it was colourful and had strangely shaped doors, but then I don't really claim to understand art. There were paintings and sculptures interspersed throughout the rooms.

As usual I see I am wrong this exhibition is actually celebrating sixty years of the Hong Kong Museum of Art and showing its development over time.

The Long Way Out. It started off very green.

The Long Way Out. It started off very green.

The Long Way Out. Sculpture.

The Long Way Out. Sculpture.

The Long Way Out. Did I mention it was kind of green in there?

The Long Way Out. Did I mention it was kind of green in there?

The Long Way Out. Stop and make choices.

The Long Way Out. Stop and make choices.

The Long Way Out. Stop and make choices.

The Long Way Out. Stop and make choices.

The Long Way Out. Paintings.

The Long Way Out. Paintings.

The Long Way Out. Paintings.

The Long Way Out. Paintings.

The Long Way Out. Paintings and Doors.

The Long Way Out. Paintings and Doors.

The Long Way Out. Images of these sweets rolled along the screen. Little kids delighted in chasing them.

The Long Way Out. Images of these sweets rolled along the screen. Little kids delighted in chasing them.

Passing by art.

Passing by art.

The long way out. This orange area was supposed to be about going on a journey.

The long way out. This orange area was supposed to be about going on a journey.

The Long Way Out. Everything went orange near the end.

The Long Way Out. Everything went orange near the end.

When I got to the exit, the thunder and lightning were going crazy and the rain was pelting down. I looked out of the windows and was tempted to stay longer just to keep dry.

Its raining out there.

Its raining out there.

Looking towards the Peninsula Hotel as I left.

Looking towards the Peninsula Hotel as I left.

Still it wasn't too far to the MTR and a mainly dry route home.

Posted by irenevt 08:14 Archived in Hong Kong

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

That looks like a really fun day. Of course, I love museums. I might never have gotten out though because I hate to make decisions. I'd probably still be standing at one of the choices trying to make up my mind.

Chinese watercolor paintings are amazing. They are among the best in the world. Don't feel you have to understand them to enjoy them. People make that mistake with music too. Just like what you like and that's fine.

And please send us some of your rain . . .

by Beausoleil

Haha wish I could send you some of our rain. We've had typhoon 3 for a couple of days. Torrential rain, thunder and lightning has kept us stuck in.

by irenevt

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login