Wednesday, January 16, 2013


The building with the tower is the Town Hall, and the building behind is the museum.
The weather was cold as you can see from the deserted street

So we are back, the paintings safely delivered, and once more in the museum at Bietigheim.  They had been brought back to this German town by Doctor Erwin Balz a hundred years ago from Japan. They are very proud of his collection at the museum, though I believe there is quite a lot of stuff in Stuttgart as well.  In the town there is a municipal Japanese garden just opposite his house.  The lecture was a great success, we were not sure that anyone would turn up but about 70 people did and listened for the hour and a half as LS talked.  He had an interpreter, and after the lecture a chosen few went back to see one of the paintings unrolled along with the two journalists from local papers.  Lots of questions were asked by the audience as they watched the restoration through the slides, the idea of 'reversibility' that Japanese paintings can always be restored because of the same technique (used for hundreds of years) using the 'aged' paste and water and the removal of the fine tissue papers came across clearly.  So that in a hundred years  they can still be restored once again, though hopefully they will never reach that same crinkled appearance again.
We met the mayor the day before for a cup of coffee with his young family, and the first thing you learn about this German town is how proud they are of their cultural heritage, statues, modern and old abound in the town, the old buildings have been restored traditionally.  Also taxes are quite low and you can park for free in car parks!
So what else, we had a two hour guided tour from Margaret, one of the guides from the museum, and Regina the curator and our host, lovely lady and her husband Franz, took us to the Hochdorf Celtic burial site on sunday.  On tuesday before we went to the airport at Stuttgart, we saw the Celtic exhibition housed in two great museums in Stuttgart.  This is an important Celtic exhibition, loads of Celtic bling, torcs that were so beautifully decorated, great bronze cauldrons and the original Hochdorf  settee and gold bowls and waggon.  I spotted the Gundestrup silver cauldron and the Desborough late Celtic mirror (on loan from the British Museum). Both objects I never thought I would see... No cameras are allowed in the museum, and bags and coats have also to be put away in lockers, but when ever I hear British  historians quibbling about the use of Celtic with a small or large 'c', I shall reply 'nonsense' for there is a definite style of outstanding artwork that follows through from the Hallstatt to the La Tene period.
Photos will be put on Northstoke 2 on Wordpress, because I am sure to have used up my ration on this blog fairly soon....
The Hochdorf Celtic burial on his bronze 'sofa', though I am sure it would have had cushions and animal furs on it when in use

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