Norton Priory is celebrating the launch of the BBC’s Civilisations Festival with a Chinese themed family event and the loan of a mysterious item from National Museums Liverpool.

 On Sunday 4th March from 11am until 4pm, the Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu School will be demonstrating dragon and lion dancing at Norton Priory Museum and there will be family crafts activities in the education suite.

On display will be an ornate Chinese shrine that was found floating in the sea near Guangzhou in Southern China in the late 18th century. The loan and event is funded by Art Fund.

Like Norton Priory’s famous medieval statue of St Christopher, these shrines were believed to offer protection to travellers. They were carried in the trading vessels of the sea-faring people of southern China. Sadly, the owner of this example is believed to have foundered in a terrible storm over two hundred years ago.

Dr Emma Martin, Senior Curator of Ethnology at National Museums Liverpool said, ‘In most countries around the world, travel has historically been a source of personal risk and danger. The incredible St Christopher statue and this ornate shrine symbolise the investment made by two very different cultures to seek divine protection.’

 Lynn Smith, Senior Keeper at Norton Priory said, ‘We are looking forward to celebrating the ground-breaking BBC Civilisations series by participating in the associated Festival. We are very grateful to Art Fund and National Museums Liverpool for making it possible.’