Share this Collection
1 Citation in this Annotation:
Xingyu Bai on The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage
8 November, 2023
From the vast accumulation of thousands of objects of various anonymous identities, carefully locked behind the reflection of perfect glass panels, trapped by their shiny superficiality, I was brought in front of one of them by the British male voice of the audio guide. A sitting Bodhisattva in white porcelain, the étiquette says: “from China”. “So am I”, I thought. I have seen many statues of Bodhisattvas in China, in wood, in bronze, in jade, but not in porcelain. I could tell by its mere appearance that this was a piece of mastery. There, in front of the White Bodhisattva, I travelled through space. I found myself in front of our own wooden statue of the Bodhisattva at home. My grandma would offer it the first pot of boiled water in the morning. The smell of incense of santal has just risen from its holder next to the water jar. Outside on the veranda of one of the Villas of the Rietberg Museum Zürich, we talked about what should be done with the objects of the collections exposed. “How nice”, I thought, to see a piece of home here, in a foreign place where I have spent 8 years, perhaps a second hometown.