The snake


The snake


  • 1982 - 2000

Some years ago, I was taking part in a ROM programme called ( I think) My Favourite Object. Members of the curatorial staff brought their favourite object to what was the Chinese sculpture Atrium and placed it on a table for members of the public to look at and inquire as to why it was a favourite object. My favourite object was a 19th century Japanese metal reticulate snake. This is beautiful piece which shows off the skill of the metalworkers of the period. I was holding it up to demonstrate how the body curved in a sinuous reptilian manner. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a member of the public making a beeline towards me, shaking a fist and saying what I could not at first make out. As they drew near I gathered, I was being harangued for mistreating a live snake. To which I responded as politely as possible that in fact, It was not alive and never had been.