Wharton Club, Exclusive Curator Guided Tour of HKU Museum and Art Gallery

Date and Time
Saturday, December 18, 2021
10:50am— 1:00pm
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University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong
90 Bonham Rd
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
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The Wharton Club of Hong Kong (WCHK), is delighted to launch a family friendly, weekend program of art and culture, for a Curator Guided Art Tour of HKU Museum and Art Gallery (HKUMAG) on Saturday December 18th at 10:50 AM.

Thanks to Fellow Penn Alumni Dr Shuo (Sue) Hua, SAS12, for organising this tour exclusively for The Wharton Club of Hong Kong and includes two exhibitions:

1. High Gothic: Christian Art and Iconography of the 13th–14th Century 

2. Reflected Beauty: Chinese Reverse Glass Paintings from the Mei Lin Collection.  

Dr Florian Knothe, Director of the museum and Dr Shuo (Sue) Hua, SAS12 will lead the tours, followed by a talk by Dr Florian on the museum's collections history and the visual culture scene of Hong Kong since the mid-20th century.

Event Details

Date: Saturday, December 18th, 2021 

Time: 10:50 AM to 1:00 PM

Location and Admission:

University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong

90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

(Please enter the museum via the Fung Ping Shan Building entrance, please be sharp on time at 10:50 AM)


  • 10:50-11:00am: Registration
  • 11:00-11:55am: guided tours at the University Museum and Art Gallery
  • 11:55am-12:15pm:  talk by Dr. Florian Knothe at the University Museum and Art Gallery 
  • 12:20pm onward: lunch on campus (Bijas Vegetarian Restaurant)

Price: HKD 60 per head, price does not include Lunch.

Guests: We welcome guests of alumni at same alumni price of HKD 60 per head (price does not include lunch)

Lunch: campus-cafeteria style, pay by weight Chinese vegetarian buffet, run by a social enterprise (expect to pay about HKD 50-100 per head)  

Important Instructions:

- All alumni and guests should be fully vaccinated, except Children below 12 where vaccines aren't yet available.

- Please be sharp on time at 10:50 AM as it is a group tour and any delay by even one participant will hold up the whole group and inconvenience our Hosts.

- Lastly please be reminded that WCHK follows a "No Walk-ins Allowed" policy and our tickets are non-refundable.

Please find below, more details of the tours and the guides for the tour.

Guided Tours

Guided Tour I – High Gothic: Christian Art and Iconography of the 13th–14th Century (Dr. Florian Knothe)

High Gothic: Christian Art and Iconography of the 13th–14th Century showcases classic examples of statuary, stained glass, diptychs, textiles and caskets that were used in the expression of Christian devotion in Western Europe.

‘Gothic’ was originally a derogatory term coined by scholars during the Renaissance to describe the ‘barbaric’ medieval architecture that arose with the decline of the classical forms of the Roman Empire. The word is now understood to describe a style of buildings and objects created between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries which incorporate elements such as novel advances in masonry work and the characteristic ogival arch.

The Gothic period saw an increased emphasis on the power of images, where vision became an active force for activating emotion and inspiring contemplation. The great cathedrals constructed in this period—with their thin walls and high vaults filled with statuary and stained-glass windows—were designed to evoke awe among visitors. The exquisite Gothic objects featured in the McCarthy Collection represent a broad spectrum of workshops and styles across Western Europe, dating from between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, all of which contributed to the splendour we now associate with the aesthetic of the High Gothic.

Guided Tour II – Reflected Beauty: Chinese Reverse Glass Paintings from the Mei Lin Collection (Dr. Shuo (Sue) Hua)

Reverse paintings on glass occupy a special place in Chinese art, spanning the genres of glass working, export art, folk art, erotica, and meiren hua (paintings of beauties). Their unique appearance is the result of a challenging production process in which artists layer pigments in the reverse order of the normal painting procedure–highlights first, then mid-layers, and finally base colours. The final product is viewed in reverse from the opposite side of the glass, which must also be considered when creating the paintings. 

A product of the encounter between East and West, the manufacture of glass paintings in China was stimulated by European glass paintings brought to the imperial court by traders and diplomats in the seventeenth century. Initially made in Canton for Western consumers, by the eighteenth century their production had spread throughout China, with subjects and styles adapted to suit local tastes. 

The glass paintings in the Mei Lin Collection represent this later flowering of works for the domestic market. Largely ignored by scholars and collectors in favour of exoticized paintings for the West, they depict romantic landscapes, traditional motifs of happiness, scenes from plays and novels, and the changing image of the Chinese woman, demonstrating the diverse appeal of this unique and fragile art form. 

Talk (Dr. Florian Knothe)

The guided tours will be followed by a talk by Dr. Florian Knothe on the history of the University Museum and Art Gallery, the collections history since the museum’s early days, and its relation to the museum and visual culture scene of Hong Kong from the mid-20th century onward.



Dr. Florian Knothe studies and teaches the history of decorative arts in the 17th and 18th centuries with particular focus on the social and historic importance of royal French manufacture. He has long been interested in the early modern fascination with Chinoiserie and the way royal workshops and smaller private enterprises helped to create and cater to this long-lasting fashion. Florian is currently working on a study of the scientific and technological development of art objects, bringing together results from both historical and chemical analysis, and launching UMAG_STArts that teaches the science and technology of art.

Florian started his career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art focusing on European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Before joining The University of Hong Kong, where he now serves as Director of the University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG), Florian was the curator of European glass at The Corning Museum of Glass overseeing the European and East Asian departments. There, he organized an exhibition on East Meets West, and afterward, lectured internationally on cross-cultural influences in art and workshop practices in Western Europe and East Asia.


Dr. Shuo (Sue) Hua studies the history of Chinese paintings and the art market from a transcultural perspective. Shuo is currently working on curatorial projects of the Chinese reverse glass paintings from the Mei Lin Collection and modern and contemporary Chinese oil paintings from the UMAG collection. She recently defended her PhD thesis on the topic of exhibiting and collecting Chinese paintings in the 20th century Hong Kong. She was Lee Hysan visiting research fellow at the Global Art History, Cluster of Excellence: Asia and Europe in a Global Context, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Shuo started her career in finance with Credit Suisse before joining academia. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics and Mathematics from the School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania.

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University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong

90 Bonham Rd, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, Hong Kong,
by public transit by car by bike Walking