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LCSD to hold two major exhibitions on ancient Olympics and Roman relics

Relics from the civilisations of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire will be on display in two large-scale exhibitions to be presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art in July and August.

The Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Trustees of the British Museum will jointly organise "The Ancient Olympic Games", which will run from August 3 to November 24, 2008, at the Heritage Museum. The exhibition will take audiences on a journey through space and time to the ancient world of Olympia, where history and legends about the ancient Olympic Games reveal the relationship between the ancient and the modern games.

Presented with the support of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, this exhibition is a major cultural event specially organised for the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the equestrian events that are to be held in Hong Kong.

The British Museum has selected more than 110 invaluable items for the exhibition, including sculpture, pottery, goldware, bronzeware, coins and medals, and has for the first time allowed the world-renowned marble sculpture The Discus Thrower to leave its home museum for exhibition, giving Hong Kong people an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of this treasured masterpiece. The exhibition will introduce ancient Olympia, the events held at the ancient games as well as the ceremonies honouring the winners and associated religious activities. It will also trace the development of the modern Olympic Games and review the history of the participation of China and Hong Kong in this festival of sport.

Another not-to-be-missed exhibition, "Otium Ludens Leisure and Play: Ancient Relics of the Roman Empire", will be held at the Hong Kong Museum of Art from July 18 to October 5, 2008.

At about midday on August 24, AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted, entombing the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in lava and ash. Stabiae, a region about five kilometres south of Pompeii, where many luxurious Roman villas were located, was also buried.

Despite the destruction wreaked by the eruption of Vesuvius, a number of frescoes were left at Stabiae in an extraordinary state of preservation. Excavations were formally begun in 1749 by the King of Naples, Charles of Bourbon, who had sections of the frescoes removed for display in his palaces, before the site at Stabiae was re-buried. The location of Stabiae was then forgotten gain until 1950, when Libero d'Orsi, principal of a local classical school, restarted excavation at his own expense until 1962. Control of the excavation gradually passed to the Superintendence of Archaeology of Pompeii in the mid-20th century, who continues to maintain the site today.

The "Ancient Relics of the Roman Empire" will feature 170 fantastic works of art selected from several villas in Stabiae, including frescoes and stuccoed decorations as well as terracotta, glass, bronze, iron and marble objects and a complete installation of three wall sections, all of which tell a 2,000-year-old story of wealth, power, politics and lifestyle. This will be only the second time that the exhibits are travelling outside their home town, following an exhibition in Russia.

The admission fee for "The Ancient Olympic Games" exhibition is $20. Special admission on Wednesdays is $10. A half-price concession is available to full-time students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 or above.

Admission for the "Otium Ludens Leisure and Play: Ancient Relics of the Roman Empire" exhibition is $20, with a half-price concession applicable to full-time students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 or above. There will be no free admission on Wednesdays and the Museum Weekly Pass is also not applicable for this exhibition.

Located at 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin, the Heritage Museum opens from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays).

Car parking is available at the Heritage Museum. Those who prefer to use public transport may take the MTR to the Che Kung Temple station, which is within five minutes' walk of the museum. For details of the exhibition, please visit the Heritage Museum's website at or call 2180 8188.

The Museum of Art is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It opens from 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and Fridays, and from 10am to 8pm on Saturdays. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays). For details of the exhibition, please visit the Museum of Art's website at or call 2721 0116.

Ends/Monday, June 23, 2008
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