Hangzhou and Pandora’s Box

From April 29th to August 5th, Hangzhou Art And Craft Museum, together with Liangyicang Museum, the biggest private museum in Hong Kong, will hold an art exhibition entitled "Pandora's Box" Liangyicang European Vanity Cases of the Twentieth Century.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, European females became more independent, they cut their hair short, put on miniskirts, went to parties, and applied perfume and makeup. Products that they wore and used became an important symbol of status, especially in the upper society. At that time, jewelers catered to the increasing needs of the modern women by launching tailor-made products, such as cigarette cases, lipstick cases, perfume bottles, powder cases and so on. In 1933, Van Cleef&Arpels designed a vanity case which was not only for storing makeup, but it was also an artistic work-in-itself which, for a time, became all the rage in Europe and America.

The period between the 1920s to the 1960s was a golden age of the vanity case. On one hand, according to the function of need, the structural design and craftmanship was extremely brilliant. On the other hand, it held a high art value, presenting the development of western design and aesthetics, and the affects from oriental art.

At the end of the twentieth century, with the rise and popularization of mass consumption, articles of luxury that were mainly tailor-made for the upper society and stood for status gradually faded away which meant very few were kept.

This exhibition showcases 260 pieces/sets of collections of Hangzhou Art And Craft Museum, Liangyicang Museum and China Silk Museum. Some of which have never been exhibited outside of Hong Kong. Through several big units, the exhibition will take you through the transition of European fashion and the unprecedented splendor of jewels.