Recently on view at The Shanghai Museum, The Ancient Olympic Games, a loan exhibition from the British Museum’s collections transports the viewer to Olympia and provides a tour of not only the competition grounds but also of the religious sanctuary with its many temples and shrines. The religious dimension of the Olympic Games is stressed with a selection of objects focusing on the Greek gods. The super athlete and hero Herakles, founder of the Games, is also featured.
The British Museum has selected more than 110 items for the exhibition, including sculptures, pottery, goldware, bronzeware, coins and medals, and the world-renowned marble sculpture Discobolus (The Discus Thrower) which has never been on loan before. This famous sculpture was the symbol of the 1948 London Olympic Games and has since taken an iconic status.
Throughout the exhibition, Greek athletics provide an opportunity to look at Greek social attitudes, especially the role of women, and to focus on the human body, which in art is much more diverse than the ideal male form associated with the ancient Greeks.
In this Olympic year, The Ancient Olympic Games is on view at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin (Hong Kong) where the 2008 Olympic equestrian events will be held.
Hong Kong Heritage Museum Web Site