Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sunday afternoon at the ROM

I just emptied my camera of its pictures in hopes of finding one suitable for yesterday's post, and found a bunch of photos I took at the ROM on Sunday.

(Museum subway station)

I totally forgot about that trip!

Isaac and I decided to take Tristan to the Museum on Sunday afternoon.

Tristan wanted to see the Diamonds exhibit but neither Isaac nor I were interested in it, so we hoped to substitute the new Gems and Minerals exhibit instead.

And I wanted to see the Costumes and Textiles exhibit and the Ancient Ukraine exhibit.

I think Tristan enjoyed it, but we stayed until closing time and as we were leaving Tristan said, But wait! We haven't seen the Diamonds yet!

And of course it was too late, the Museum was closing.

Ah well. I on the other hand was completely satisfied with the trip.

Most of my photos were from the Gems and Minerals gallery, I guess I got tired of taking photos after that.

(Malachite, and close-up)

The colours of the minerals were totally amazing. Absolutely brilliant.

And they weren't even gems, they were "just" minerals.

It must be an amazing experience to find these brilliantly coloured minerals in the ground.

(Copper sheet, five feet high)

The Ancient Ukraine exhibit was about a Neolithic civilization in the Ukraine, called the Trypillians (the ROM spelled it "Trypilian", but I found a Ukrainian website that insisted that the correct spelling was "Trypillian").

These people lived in the Ukraine around 5000-2500 BC, their disappearance remains mysterious. They had the huge settlements, the biggest at that time in history, but they were not "cities" in the sense that they did not have separate buildings or structures for industry, governance or religious activities. Just houses.


And the houses were fairly widely spaced, with little in the way of defensive structures between or around them. The houses were arranged in two or three large concentric rings.

The exhibit showed an aerial photo of a modern farming area, and you could make out the very faint outlines of an ancient Trypillian settlement, more than 5,000 years old.

They had household altars, wheeled toys and presumably wheeled carts, but no pottery wheels. They made quite beautiful large jars without access to pottery wheels, which I think is impressive.

Their diet was based largely on grains that they grew. They did not keep large herds of animals, although they probably kept a few goats.

So they were not nomadic or pastoral, but their settlements didn't last more than a few decades before they moved on, never to return to that location again.

This civilization pre-dates both the pyramids and Stonehenge.

The third gallery I wanted to see was Costumes and Textiles, up on the fourth floor in the Chin Crystal. There are only two galleries up there so not a lot of people go there.

(Amethyst, in basalt)

I think I want to visit that gallery again as by the time we got there I was getting tired and not really taking it all in. Some absolutely gorgeous costumes from previous centuries though. In the very early 20th century the ROM acquired a huge collection of Chinese imperial costumes, clothing only worn by Chinese emperors and empresses.

I guess after the fall of the last Chinese empire in 1905 those costumes were going cheap on local Chinese markets and the ROM saw a deal. They only had one or two of those costumes on display, what looked like silk kimonos with embroidered dragon emblems.


Apparently there were strict rules about who could wear embroidered dragons, and the colours indicated your rank in the royal court.

Next to the Costumes and Textiles gallery was an exhibit that is hard to describe.

Last year there was an art project on the site of an old Tent City in Toronto, what was once a community of homeless people that last for a few years before being shut down by the police. That land has since been filled with big box stores like Home Depot.

For the project they roped off an area and constructed "houses" that artists painted, the art commemorating the homeless people who used to live there. All of those painted houses are now standing in the top floor of the ROM.


My membership in the ROM runs out at the end of February, I am not sure that I will renew, so I have to get in as many visits as possible before then.

(Tin soldiers)

I think I would like to get a membership in the Canadian Textile Museum next, it's also of interest to me and it's cheaper. I hope to visit there before the end of January as there are a couple of temporary exhibits that I would like to see, of textiles from Afghanistan.

Between the ROM and the AGO and the Textile Museum, these are as far as I am concerned the saving graces of wintering in Toronto.

(Tristan trying out a "chair" in the Spirit Gallery)


One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

What magnificent pictures.

Anonymous said...

Oh Anne,

You take me and the boys to such interesting places! You're a great storyteller and a great photographer, too, so you add magic to the fun!

Methinks that God must have laughed when He/She created COLORS and then put them everywhere. Not just one color, mind you, but a rich extravagance of millions of colors! Imagine the many colorful minerals waiting to be discovered and to amaze the finders!

You know I'll enjoy the Textile Museum! Yummmm!! When are we going?!


20th Century Woman said...

The pictures have the wonderful randomness of a really good museum. Satisfying because they let you wander from one topic to another without having to work at a connection. But what are those mystery things -- the grey ones. One that looks like soft, rounded grey fat relaxing, and the other that looks like a scary animal head made of sharp grey spikes? I forgot to mention the really good writing.

Geoff Trowbridge said...

Looks like a great museum, Anne. And I'm envious of those pictures of your grandkids waiting for the subway/train. Sigh, I wish we decent public transportation in the states (outside of a few large cities like New York).

Zabetha said...

20th Century Woman, I'm afraid I don't know what those two rocks are, but they sure are interesting aren't they? I'm sure there were labels to say what they are but I neglected to include them in the photograph so I would remember. What looks like a scary animal head is actually a mass of black sheets, it might be slate or something like that.

Soon Barbara, soon! Not sure when exactly but it has to be this month!

Toronto was fortunate, Geoff, in that the city started the subway system back in the '50s when there was money to do it, such projects are terribly expensive now. There are plans though to extend it using LRT in the suburbs.

Something interesting I found out this weekend while in Barrie, 100 km north of Toronto. Back in the '80s when railway companies started shutting down passenger train routes all across Canada, they also ripped up the tracks to prevent any hope of re-establishing those routes. However, the City of Barrie had the amazing foresight to buy the train route, tracks and all, between Toronto and Barrie after CN Rail shut down that route. I guess they nursed the fond but at the time very faint hope that one day the train route might be revived by some other rail company. Recently (2008), a commuter train has been re-established along that route because the train tracks were still there, thanks to the City of Barrie!