Through this month in Florence, there is a small but fine exhibition at the anthropology museum.
Here is the exhibition’s premise:
“The discovery of a set of costumes and set jewels realized by the costume designer Luigi Sapelli (aka Caramba), dating back to the première of the Turandot by Puccini (1926) and coming from the private wardrobe of Iva Pacetti, great soprano from Prato, is at the base of the exhibition ‘Turandot e il fantastico Oriente di Puccini, Chini e Caramba’, opening on 22 May at the Museo del Tessuto in Prato.
The interdisciplinary exhibition – music, theatre, art, dance, and anthropology – has its core in the friendship between the great composer Giacomo Puccini and Galileo Chini, one of the most important representatives of Art Nouveau in Italy and the brilliant author of the production and set design for the Turandot.
The University Museum System (SMA), co-organizer of the exhibition, participates with 120 objects from the collection of over 600 oriental memorabilia brought back by Chini on his return trip from Siam (now Thailand) in 1913. Donated in 1950 to the Museum of Anthropology in Florence, by Chini himself, these include precious textiles, dance accessories, theatrical masks and costumes, painted porcelain objects, musical instruments, sculptures, weapons, and custom artifacts of Thai and Chinese production.
The exhibition is curated by Daniela Degl’Innocenti (Prato Textile Museum) and Monica Zavattaro (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology of the University of Florence). Other public and private bodies collaborated and contributed to the wealth of the exhibits, including the Ricordi Historical Archives, the Giacomo Puccini Foundation, the Uffizi, and the Teatro alla Scala Museum.
It is precisely to coincide with the exhibition in Prato that a room was set up at the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology – ahead of its full reopening – with some precious objects of the Chini Collection, especially selected for the occasion, which testifies the dialogue between the institutions and the territory.
Turandot e l’Oriente fantastico di Puccini, Chini e Caramba
22 May ̶21 November 2021, Museo del Tessuto, Prato”
Among the curiosities are the musical instruments assembled by the Tuscan painter Galileo Chini in the first decades of this century. Chini was summoned by the King of Siam to decorate his palace. Skulls from all over the world constitute the most important part of the anthropological collection.