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Donation of 45 Chinese and Tibetan Rugs to the Shanghai Museum

07-12-2019 08:09 AM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Martin Posth Collection

(LTR: Alexa Posth, Katharina Posth, Jana Posth, Yang Zhigang (Director of Shanghai Museum

(LTR: Alexa Posth, Katharina Posth, Jana Posth, Yang Zhigang (Director of Shanghai Museum

On June 24th 2019, the Shanghai Museum hosted the donation ceremony of ancient Chinese carpets from the late German collector, Honorary Citizen of Shanghai, Dr. Martin Posth. A total amount of 45 pieces of ancient Chinese carpets were donated by the Posth Family in 2018 with the help of the Embassy of the PR China in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Martin Posth (1944-2017), born in Berge (Havelland), participated in the establishment of the Sino-German joint venture “Shanghai Volkswagen” from 1984 to 1988. From 1993 to 1997, he acted as President of Volkswagen Asia Pacific. In 1997, he received the award of “Honorary Citizen of Shanghai” for his outstanding performance and contribution to Sino-German relationship. He was also an art historian. He loved carpet art ardently throughout his life and spent his spare time in collecting and carpet research. In 2014, he published his collection with the title “Collected Beauty: Anatolian Carpets and Tapestries”. The best among which were exhibited in Berlin in 2016 and published with the title “Woven Paradise: A journey through the Anatolian textile craft of the 18th and 19th century". Since 1980s, he began to collect Chinese carpets. He compiled the relevant research work during his lifetime, leaving it unpublished nevertheless.
After the successful Anatolian Carpet Exhibition in Berlin, in the following year, Dr. Martin Posth came up with the idea of donating his rare Chinese carpet collection to the city of Shanghai. Unfortunately, in September 2017, he passed away, leaving his wish unfulfilled. He had visited the Shanghai Museum many times and thought highly of its quality and collection management. As Honorary Citizen of Shanghai, he hoped that the citizens of the city have the access to these rare Chinese carpets. Therefore, the decision to donate the collections to the Shanghai Museum is made in his last will. Following his will, his family expressed their consent to the Shanghai Museum through the Embassy of PR China in Germany. In May 2018, accompanied by Mr. CHEN Ping, Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Germany, experts of the Shanghai Museum visited Berlin to arrange the donation with the Posth family, and thus finally accomplished his wish.

Dr. Martin Posth collected these carpets in China since the 1980s. Their origins are mainly Ningxia and Tibet, and a few came from Inner Mongolia and other places, all of which are made in the 19th and 20th centuries. Identified by several carpet experts in China, these carpets are of great variety, including Kahden (seating rug), saddle rug, meditation rug, throne back carpet, pillar carpet etc. Their designs vary from Buddhist (Seven Treasures and Eight Auspicious Symbols), Taoism (Eight Immortals), court art (dragon, waves and peaks), to flowers, birds symbolizing wealth and longevity, safety and auspiciousness. Among the collection, Tibetan carpets and Mongolian carpets are particularly well-preserved, precious artworks.
According to Dr. Martin Posth, the collection of these carpets was gathered together during his career in Shanghai Volkswagen from 1985 to 1988 and during the period from 1993 to 1997 in Hong Kong, as well as during his several visits to China. A considerable number of carpets from Tibet and Inner Mongolia were selected by Martin Posth personally on site, reflecting his keen on Chinese carpet art.

After the arrival of the carpets, associate curator Ms. Yu Ying wrote a research article with the title "Silk Road Art Carpets in the Shanghai Museum", providing a preliminary introduction to Dr. Martin Posth's collection and illustrating its outstanding value, together with research results of other donated carpets from LI Rukuan family in 2017 and the excavated carpets from the Ming Tombs in the museum collection. The article was published in the 4th issue 2019 of "Cultural Relics"(Wenwu Tiandi) as a part of the special feature "Researches on new acquisitions of the Shanghai Museum in the 21st century".

To carry out the unfinished work of Dr. Martin Posth, the Shanghai Museum plans to publish his draft on his Chinese carpet collection. With the ongoing research of craftsmanship and art of carpets by experts of the museum, these treasures bearing rich historical, artistic and cultural values will be displayed in front of the public with their full glamour. By then, visitors can catch a glimpse of the great, prosperous ancient Silk Road connecting various ethnic groups with its unique beauty.

Image and press release: ©Shanghai Museum

Martin Posth Collection
Kreuzbergstr. 74
10965 Berlin

Press contact: Jana Posth | mail@janaposth.com

The Martin Posth Collection gathers a big collection of rare, mostly Turkish-Anatolian kilims and rugs from the 18th and 19th century.
His Chinese/Tibetan collection was donated to the Shanghai Museum in Summer 2019.

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