The seven columns that will travel from KODE in Bergen to China have been selected.

Editors note: This article was published 2 October 2014.

–  It has been a fantastic experience to see all of our columns assembled together and to evaluate them individually. We are all pleased with the selection that has now been made, says the director of KODE, Karin Hindsbo.

In December 2013 a three-part agreement was signed between KODE, Zhongkun Investment Group and Peking University. The main incentive of the agreement is to strengthen KODE’s expertise regarding its collection of Chinese art. A collection which today consists of more than 4000 objects. Included in the agreement are plans for a long-term collaboration between Peking University and KODE. According to the agreement seven of the twenty half-size columns originating from the destroyed Imperial Summer Palace Yuan Ming Yuan, which KODE administers, will be deposited on a long-term basis at Peking University. At the same time an academic and cultural collaboration has been established which will promote and disseminate knowledge about KODE’s collection.

The selection of columns is based on a thorough analysis of KODE’s 21 columns. The museum’s conservators and experts from London and Hong Kong have all participated in the evaluation based on criteria such as carvings, condition and colour. In addition the columns have been examined by a geologist and cleaned.

– The selection process has resulted in increased knowledge at KODE about these columns and it will be exciting to learn even more about both the columns and the other objects in the collection, says Karin Hindsbo.

The 21 columns originally came to Bergen thanks to General Johann Wilhelm Munthe, who was a native of Bergen and an art collector. The China Collection at KODE is primarily built on Munthe’s donation of 2500 objects. The original plan was to expedite the columns in the course of September 2014, but Hindsbo and KODEs collaborators in Beijing have together agreed to temporarily postpone sending them.

– I think it is a good thing we postpone the process a little, says Hindsbo. She points out that in many ways it is a pioneer project.

– That is why we wish to be extra careful and make sure that all of the paperwork is completed and that the facilities in China are ready to receive the columns before we set a date, says Hindsbo.

The date for expediting the columns is therefore still undecided, but seven columns are now ready to be shipped.

Director Karin Hindsbo, KODE, tel: (+47) 990 79 177