As visitors enter, they see on display four large Chinese paintings of religious inspiration, followed by a series of 26 illustrated double-sided tiles with photos from the world. This is the privileged area for temporary Exhibits.
The Kayapò is a small group of Indios of the Brazilian Amazon region, who represent other minorities, custodians of traditional values and living. This colorful exhibit conveys the values that sustain their universe: body painting, the myths of origins, the consciousness of community and dignity, their idea of being people strong and beautiful.
We give just a small taste of African objects which come from areas (D.R.Congo, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Chad) where the Xaverians have been working for decades. There will be other opportunities that will highlight these objects of traditional African art.
The descent of the ramp is accompanied by images that shows ancient and current China, its arts, landscapes and people of past and present, arts, landscapes and the past and present people of this great nation. There are bi-lingual didactic panels as well as touch-screen monitors with lots of information, typical of every museum.
Standing by the large amphitheater, the visitor can admire the collection of pottery and porcelain from China, accompanied by an harmonious huge circular taiji – the symbols of yin and yang, the grandiose 12-panel Chinese folding-screen, the “Historical Cabinets”, the scholar study, the exhibit of Chinese religious statuary, the paintings and the rich coin Chinese collection.
The Museum of Chinese Art Museum and Ethnography of Parma began in 1901, as the wish of the founder of the Xaverian Missionaries Guido M. Conforti. At the conclusion of the Universal Exhibit of Turin (1898), Senator Fedele Lampertico donated some valuable pieces to Bishop Conforti, Bishop of Parma and founder of the Xaverian Institute.
The museum represents an artistic and documented container of exceptional importance, fruit of a long and winding journey. For a few decades, the Xaverians worked exclusively on Chinese territory; Conforti appeal to them: "As you come into the various territories of your missions, please send to the Mother house some cultural elements of ethnology and art."
The last input of objects from China through the missionaries arrived in Parma in 1947; soon after, the Xaverian mission presence in China ended.
To that first collection of objects of art and ethnography from China, other pieces were added from the 60s on, of predominantly ethnographic interest, from the other regions of the world (Asia, Africa, Americas) were the Xaverians are present: Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Africa, etc. Thus enriching the museum of cultural aspect which witness the life in those continents.
Rivista "Fede e Civiltà"
1903 - Founding of the official periodical of the Institute, that combined in its title "Faith and Civilization" (Fede e Civiltà - 1903), both sides - religious and cultural - of the initial project of Conforti. The contents of this journal conveyed the deep knowledge of its customs and traditions, its culture and society, its philosophy and religion, unknown to most.
P. Giovanni Bonardi
1911-1936 - In March 1911 Fr. Giovanni Bonardi returns from China to Parma, and the museum is enriched with lots of objects: bronzes, porcelains, paintings, coins and so on. A new space was expanded and opened to display the new Chinese material, and this configuration given by both Conforti and Bonardi lasted until 1936, and remained under the competent responsibility of the same Fr. Bonardi.
P. Giuseppe Toscano
1959-1965 - Following the War and the work of expansion of the Motherhouse, the museum received a decisive input from the trained eye and direction of Fr. Giuseppe Toscano, especially in the years 1963-1965, when more than a hundred historical and valuable pieces enriched the museum.
Fr. Toscano was able to gather and study the objects, and publish the first edition of his voluminous catalog "Chinese Art Museum of Parma" (1965), which saw a second edition with the title "Chinese Art and Culture" (1984).
P. Emilio Iurman
2001-2013 - Fr. Emilio Iurman becomes director of the museum in 2001. Due to new construction for the accessibility of the Mother House, the museum is gathered in the great hall of the basement. Fr. Iurman starts and completes a work of digital database and cataloging of all objects in the museum, including its rich numismatic collection.
In October 2010, work begins on a comprehensive restructuring of the museum, which ends with the inauguration of the new museum space on Dec. 1st 2012.