Reimagining Circularity Through a Walkthrough at the British Museum This October

Picture report by Annie Jia

At one of the main entrances to the British Museum stands the iconic Great Court. The great dome connects the four sides of a rectangular lobby, encompassing coffee carts, souvenir stores, sandwich stands, benches, and various other recreation and entertainment areas for visitors. One of the most magnificent circular shapes in this museum, this dome sets the atmosphere of modernity and continuity in both arts and humanities.

Entering the main exhibition on the ground floor, the Ancient Egypt room (room four), one can see this semi-circular dome with two Egyptian statues at the base. This semi-circular dome elegantly provides a passage for visitors to observe the details of these ancient artifacts, as well as a public and shared experience for them to relate to these statues in both a personal and a collective way.

A circular gold plate owned by European royalty in the seventeenth century.

A circular artwork created by the Japanese artist, Tokuda Yasokichi III in 1992, called Dawn.

One of the most significant scientific discoveries that took place during the Enlightenment, this astronomic apparatus in King George III’s library was used by the Earl of Orrery. It was the first orrery that presents our knowledge of the solar system following Copernicus’s theory. From circular lines to circular objects, this model captures humans’ longing to understand and classify the world using an emerging scientific logic.

A glass vase with circular intercepts and lid.


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