The Department of History of the University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Social Sciences recently organised an extracurricular activity titled ‘History Meets Heritage’. The event attracted many UM students. To celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Tai Fung Tong Art House, the students visited the art house and learned about the historical meaning behind its precious exhibiting items. Choi Chun Heng, a Macao artist and a master of Chinese calligraphy; and Liu Daqiu, director of the journal Aomen Huawenbao, also participated in the activity.
The topic of this activity was ‘birdcage’, a well-known object to people from both Chinese and Western cultures. The art house owns a collection of birdcages that can be traced back to the last century. From the explanation of professors, the students gained a better understanding of birdcages and their cultural values. Choi also presented his calligraphy works to students as souvenirs.
The Department of History hopes that through the activity the participating students will learn more about the various hidden aspects of daily material culture and will realise that objects like people also go on travel. In this process, the objects will acquire new identities and meanings. The objects have a use. They are consumed and appreciated, and will eventually be disintegrated and even ‘die.’
‘History Meets Heritage’ was co-organised by Beatriz Puente-Ballesteros, an assistant professor of the Department of History and a corresponding member of the sub-committee on education and research, UNESCO Memory of the World Programme; and Prof Hans Ulrich Vogel, chair for Chinese history and society and director of the Department of Chinese Studies at the University of Tübingen, Germany. This activity was an offspring of the project ‘The Galleries: Sources, Voices, Histories.’