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Tomb Treasures

New Discoveries from China’s Han Dynasty
Feb 17 —
May 28, 2017

“Tomb Pleasures” self-guided tour with contemporary experts.
An underground exploration for visitors curious to learn more about the mysteries and histories of 10 surprising highlights in the exhibition. Showcasing intriguingly contemporary objects, “Tomb Pleasures” provides an intimate peek into how the Han nobility cared for their bodies and hearts — from hotpots, latrines, wine warmers, silver love tokens… to a pair of usable bronze dildos!

Commentary from a range of experts and museum-enthusiasts, like Sex with Emily’s Dr. Emily Morse, Good Vibrations’ resident sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Yuan Yuan Tan, fashion and YouTube star Jenn Im of ClothesEncounters, and local food and wine authorities, offer an engaging, unique perspective into how we relate to the past, today.

Share your tour on social media: #TombPleasures

Yuan Yuan Tan
Cynthia Linh
Jason Alexander
Mustafa Shaikh
Jenn Im
Tina Phan
Doniece Sandoval
Dr. Emily Morse
Dr. Carol Queen

Yuan Yuan Tan, Prima Ballerina

Yuan Yuan Tan Prima Ballerina Principal Dancer San Francisco Ballet Guest Principal Dancer Hong Kong Ballet
Yuan Yuan Tan (Prima Ballerina, Principal Dancer, San Francisco Ballet; Guest Principal Dancer, Hong Kong Ballet)
Dancing Figure

“Certainly as long as any other form of human expression, dance is in our very nature to express ourselves and our desire to be understood. It is a window into another’s soul. Through the movements and expressions of dancers, we catch a glimpse of their inner monologue: the joys, agonies, triumphs and failures that are part of the universal human experience.”

Cynthia Linh, Food Blogger

Cynthia Linh Food Blogger Cyn Eats
Cynthia Linh (Food Blogger, Cyn Eats)
"Hot Pot" - with five compartments

“Good recipes don’t change. Think about it: this hot pot is 2,000 years old. This dish has staying power and is not a trend, like fondue. I think hot pot will be around for another 2,000 years, if only because people like me could eat it at least once a week.”

Jason Alexander, The Progress/State Bird Provisions

Jason Alexander Managing Partner and Wine Director The Progress and State Bird Provisions
Jason Alexander (Managing Partner and Wine Director, The Progress and State Bird Provisions)
Wine warmer (zun)

“Wine is greatly affected by temperature. Heat kills bad bacteria in the fermentation process to keep wine clean. I wonder if wine from this period needed to be heated before consumption, or if warm wine was simply a style that was enjoyed. There is hot, mulled wine that uses cooking spices to accentuate flavor, but you don’t taste mulled wine for complex baseline. You drink it in celebration!”

Mustafa Shaikh, 36 Chambers

Mustafa Shaikh Founder 36 Chambers
Mustafa Shaikh (Founder, 36 Chambers)
Divination board

“Putting faith in inanimate objects is a ritual practice that is found across all cultures and generations. Whether it’s a particular jacket that is worn on first dates, or a divination board that’s consulted before picking up a sword, the underlying principle remains the same: we trust these favored objects to lead us down the right path.”

Jenn Im, YouTube Star

Jenn Im YouTube Star
Jenn Im (YouTube Star)
Cosmetics box

“There's something very therapeutic about applying makeup. You get to start with a blank canvas and transform into whatever look you want. Han nobility could have taken cosmetics on the go! Just think, they attended parties until dawn. Now that would require a touch-up.”

Tina Phan, Attorney/Fashion Blogger

Tina Phan Attorney and Fashion Blogger Phashionable
Tina Phan (Attorney and Fashion Blogger, Phashionable)
Bath stone

“Oh my, this seems painful! This bath stone looks punishing but would be effective for removing dead skin. Today we use products that recall beauty routines from the Han dynasty, like pumice stones that smooth skin—except mine has plastic, pink handles. Even in Sephora you can find face loofah that are reminiscent of this bath stone.”

Doniece Sandoval, Lava Mae

Doniece Sandoval Founder and CEO of Lava Mae
Doniece Sandoval (Founder and CEO of Lava Mae)
Toilet model

“It’s remarkable that 2,000 years ago nobility of the Han dynasty enjoyed the pleasure of toilets and bathrooms that were considered a luxury, and that even today toilets are still an unattainable luxury for many. People think toilets are readily available to everyone, but that’s far from reality. Access to sanitation and hygiene should be a basic human right and a pleasure that’s available to all.”

Dr. Emily Morse, Sex and Relationship Expert

Dr Emily Morse Sex and Relationship Expert
Dr. Emily Morse (Sex and Relationship Expert)
Belt hook in the shape of a dragon

“To me, this artifact is a permanent symbol of what may have been a fleeting romantic connection; its inscription intended to safeguard a memory of love. This basic human need to acknowledge intimacy has remained unchanged throughout time. Today, whether you glance at a lover’s photograph or a ring on your finger, you experience the same emotions that these two people shared 2,000 years ago.”

Dr. Carol Queen, Good Vibrations Staff Sexologist

Dr Carol Queen Good Vibrations Staff Sexologist
Dr. Carol Queen (Good Vibrations Staff Sexologist)
Bronze phallus

“Look at the way these phalluses are carefully and artistically cast. However, these were used by the elite, wealthy nobility and were created with an artistic vantage. It makes me wonder what the sex toys of the Han citizenry looked like, or if they had them.”