Outer Coffin of Nesperennub
British Museum: History of the World in 100 Objects (1)
British Museum: History of the World in 100 Objects (2)
British Museum: History of the World in 100 Objects (3)
British Museum: History of the World in 100 Objects (4)
British Museum: History of the World in 100 Objects (5)
British Museum: History of the World in 100 Objects (6)
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The history of the world with 100 objects

The British Museum claims that they can tell the history of the world with 100 objects. The exhibit’s theme is that objects tell stories about the people and societies that created them. Without written words, objects can communicate how people adapted their environments to make life more liveable. The exhibit comprises a vast range of materials, including bronze, gold, ceramics, silk, stone, clay, and plastic. The source of the objects spans human history and geography. The earliest man-crafted object, a stone-chopping tool, was found in Tanzania and dates back 1.8-2 million years. The 100th object is a plastic solar-powered lamp and charger made in China only nine years ago.   

The exhibition, at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, starts with some of the oldest artefacts in the British Museum’s collection, including the stone chopping tool and a 13,000-year-old spear point from Arizona. We see through the objects the progression from nomadic hunting to settled farming. We also see the human desire for beautiful things.

An example is The Assyrian Relief dated 700-695 BC decorated a royal building of the Assyrian king Sennacherib at his capital of Nineveh. Empires grew out of cities with the most wealth and power. The Assyrians were skilled soldiers who gained control of most of the Middle East through conquest, creating the greatest empire of the time. Men from across the empire fought in the Assyrian army as conscripts in professional guard units.

Another is the Model Fishpond. The Ancient Chinese people believed that the soul had an existence after death and that the afterlife was much like the living world. By the Eastern Han period, elaborate models, some depicting scenes, or objects from daily life, were included in burials alongside real items such as lacquer wares, textiles and metal vessels. The Model Fish Pond, c. AD 1-200 is an elaborate tomb model that shows a pond, complete with fish, frogs, a tortoise and ducks. Models such as this were believed to function in the afterlife as their full-scale equivalents would during life.