The British Musuem

Lending MFA Paintings to Shanghai Museum's Exhibition in October 2012: Masterpieces of Early Chinese Painting and Calligraphy in American Collections

In this presentation, I will outline the process by which four US museums lent Song and Yuan Dynasty paintings to Shanghai Museum in October 2012. I will also include our experience of lending ceramics to the Yuan Blue and White exhibition at Shanghai Museum in 2012 as well.

I will go through the collaborative process at the US end and at the Chinese end. This will include details of preliminary meetings between the four US institutions, hosting Shanghai Museum representatives in the US to choose the works, getting loans approved by museum Boards, getting works valued, arranging couriers/transportation etc and application for a US government indemnity.

At the Chinese end, I will describe some the challenges facing Western museums when arranging loans in general to China and in particular of Chinese works of art to Chinese museums. These include the situation at customs, storage at the airport, transportation and installation requirements. Not least is the challenge of obtaining immunity from seizure of Chinese works in foreign collections from the Cultural Heritage Bureau.

My presentation will be illustrated by slides showing elements of the process and I will conclude by suggesting some ways to meet challenges in the future.