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Press release:

Gifts Unwrapped! Experience the Art of Giving

Gifts Unwrapped! Experience the Art of Giving is a real treat for all the family.Come to the Tropenmuseum’s new exhibition, step into a huge, highly instagrammable installation offuroshiki(Japanese wrapping cloths) and learn more about how and why people all over the world give presents. We all do it, but no two gift traditions are the same. From jewellery for babies, gold and cash at Turkish weddings, special dolls for Queen Juliana to gifts for the dead, offerings to gods and a steamship for Japan: see all this and more at Tropenmuseum Amsterdam as soon as museums are open again.

Interactive exhibition for the whole family

There will be plenty to do at Gifts Unwrapped. Think of your top three gifts for someone else’s birthday wishlist, like your best friend, your brother, your granddad or grandma. Open the drawers and doors in our gift-wrapping station, and learn lots of fun facts. Take part in an interactive study on rules for giving and receiving personal gifts. Help prepare offerings by finding the right objects. Design a doll that shows what group you belong to, and put it in a cabinet alongside many of the dolls given to Queen Juliana. And don’t forget to step into the mega-huge gift wrapped in a special furoshiki design by Musubi, the leading manufacturer of these Japanese gift-wrapping cloths, which are also on sale in the Tropenmuseum’s gift-minded shop. Become the gift as you step inside this colourful, highly instagrammable installation.

Jewellery for babies, gold and cash as wedding gifts

There will be lots of gifts to admire at Gifts Unwrapped, from the beautiful and the unusual, to the ugly and the commonplace. Jewellery to protect a newborn baby, and impressive gifts that girls in Latin America get for their fifteenth birthday, to celebrate the fact that they are now regarded as women. When they reach the age where they become men, boys of the Sepik people in Papua New Guinea get an impressive sheath for the chalk they use when chewing betel nut for an extra boost. At Turkish weddings the bride and groom are often given gold jewellery, and sometimes guests pin cash to special ribbons which the couple wear over their shoulders. The exhibition includes a wedding dress and suit hung with gold and money.

Offerings to ancestors, 600 dolls for Juliana, a steamship for Japan

Gifts can also symbolise solidarity and gratitude. In Chinese culture honouring the dead with offerings has been an important custom for centuries. A complete Chinese-Indonesian altar used to present offerings to the ancestors that was recently donated to the museum will be making its ‘debut’ at the exhibition, which will also include some spectacular gifts given to the Netherlands and to its royal family. They include a suit of samurai armour presented by the Japanese after the Netherlands had given Japan a steamship. Juliana was given more than 600 dolls as gifts when she was queen, including one representing a mother and baby in traditional Maori dress, and dolls from Curacao. Some of her doll collection can be seen in Gifts Unwrapped.

note for editors – not for publication

For more information and/or to request an interview, please contact  Anouk Goorman: anouk.goorman@wereldculturen.nl of telefoon: 06-29602227

For images, go to the Press page on tropenmuseum.nl. Images can be downloaded free of copyright, provided that they are attributed to TM and used in the context of the Gifts Unwrapped exhibition.