‘4 things to see this week’ is sponsored by Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app. Bloomberg Connects lets you access museums, galleries and cultural spaces around the world on demand. Download the app here to access digital guides and explore a variety of content.
Each week we bring you 4 of the most interesting objects from the world’s museums, galleries and art institutions hand-picked to mark significant moments in the calendar.
‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown,’ as both Shakespeare and Stormzy have noted. There are reports that King Charles has been walking around with a two kilogram bag of flour and a top hat on his head as he prepares for the placement of the St Edward’s Crown from 1661 upon the Royal brow, which suggests that the events of 6 May will provide no exception.
A day of pomp and splendour, the coronation is above all a spectacle comprising many important elements, from the carriage and the outfit to the all-important gestures and words that make it official. While the concept of the divine right of kings might seem far-fetched to us now, civilisations around the world have been crowning monarchs for centuries; here we take inspiration from the trappings of traditions from and beyond the United Kingdom to imagine a set of essentials that will get Charles III through his big day.
1. Roof tile in the form of a lion
Burrell Collection, Glasgow
While the British lion is looking a little beleaguered right now, this big cat is full of dynamism and charm. This brightly glazed earthenware roof tile from Ming Dynasty China may have acted as a guardian for a temple or a shrine – in our opinion, the perfect mascot for a 21st-century king. Click here to find out more on the Bloomberg Connects app.
2. Minting of coins
Bode Museum, Berlin
Every new monarch needs their own set of money – even in a cashless society. This coin was minted in the 8th century by the original King Charles, Charlemagne. Click here to find out more.
3. Aztec coronation stone
Art Institute of Chicago
A less conventional object in the coronation repertoire is this ‘Stone of the Five Suns’, carved for the Aztec emperor Motecuhzoma II. Each ‘sun’ represents a different cycle in Aztec history and the stone legitimises the new ruler’s position as heir to this world of birth, death and renewal. Click here to find out more.
4. Coronation ointment
Statens Historiska Museum, Stockholm
This exquisite little box once contained ointment from the coronation of Gustav III in Stockholm in 1772. The balm, applied to the king’s body by the archbishop, was mixed by the court apothecary and made with lavender and roses. Click here to find out more.
‘4 things to see this week’ is sponsored by Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app. Bloomberg Connects lets you access museums, galleries and cultural spaces around the world on demand. Download the app here to access digital guides and explore a variety of content or scan the QR code.