Snakes Come Out for Chinese New Year of the Snake
by Antonia Lovelace and Sinny Cheung
This weekend it’s Chinese New Year and we are taking some snake objects (not real snakes!) along to an event at Headingley Library (Saturday 9th February 10 to 2), and to the big celebration by Leeds Chinese Community Association at Leeds Town Hall on Sunday 10th February. According to the Chinese Zodiac people born in the year of the snake are wise, enthusiastic and attractive, but sometimes conceited, stingy and unfaithful. You are likely to be a Snake Chinese Zodiac person if you were born in 1953, 1965, 1977, 2001 and this year too – 2013. The red paper-cut snake shown here is one of a set of 12 donated to the museum in 2008 by Suna Zie who was working with us on the Chinese Treasures project. They were made by her mother. You can see several from the whole set in the Fate and Fickle Fortune exhibition that opened recently at Abbey House Museum.
Looking for toy snakes that would appeal to family participants we’ve chosen a colourful beaded Turkish snake, eating a lizard, from 1917, and a plastic snake, made in China from the early 1970s.
I definitely remember playing with a similar bendy snake as a child.
The name is fabulous ‘ Wriggly Billy’! If you come and meet us you will also see a real python skin, on loan from HMS Customs.
As dragons are also another Chinese Zodiac animal and very LUCKY we will bring some Chinese dragons along too: a hundred year old embroidered panel with a five clawed golden dragon and a modern dragon puppet.
Leeds Museums and Galleries has helped in the Leeds Chinese Community Association New Year celebrations for many years, beginning in a big way in 2007, the year before the Chinese Treasures exhibition. We will be working with them again for the Voices of Asia project, the major redisplay in the World View Gallery at Leeds City Museum, that is due to open in Spring 2014.
Photos from Headingley Library Chinese New Year on Sat 9 February:
Photos from Leeds Chinese Community Association big celebration in Leeds Town Hall