About the exhibition
Many of us perceive death as a dreaded moment when a happy and fulfilled life is finished. Do people in different cultures see it in the same way? The exhibition Death Rituals will show you how great ancient civilisations as well as contemporary societies perceived death in various parts of the world.Despite the gap of time as well as space the ancient and contemporary non – European cultures approach death similarly in many aspects.
Death in fact did not use to be and is not only a dreadful end but rather an inseparable part of life. There are places where people prepare for the moment all their life and elsewhere it is one of the many moments of the incessant cycle of lives.
The story of the exhibition starts with a chapter called parting which illustrates the notions of dying and death. Mainly there are the depictions of the deities related to death from ancient Egypt and Mexico.The next chapter follows the passage from the world of the living to the world of the dead. A number of exhibits presents various ways of burials from Oceania, South America, ancient Egypt, China, Mexico, India, Africa and Indonesia. The return focuses on ancestor worship as the ancestors symbolically return to the world of living. A number of wooden sculptures depicting the ghosts of the dead come from Africa. The realistic painted portraits of the dead come from China. Japan is represented by the woodcuts with depictions of the dead in the shape of ghosts. This part is also interested in the idea about the afterlife, mainly in Buddhism that is spread in China, Tibet, Mongolia and Japan.
The imaginary circle of parting - passage -return comes to its full. People die and leave the world of living only to return either as the dreaded ghosts or the worshipped ancestors.At the exhibition you can also find a creative area where the visitors can relax and children as well as adults can fill in some ready-made worksheets.