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Lie back and imagine dining Roman-style at the Teece Museum

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The ancient Greeks and Romans were obsessed with food. For most, food was a matter of daily survival. However, for the fortunate few, food was a matter of status and a way of expressing their superior tastes or lifestyles.

The new exhibition at the University of Canterbury’s Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities, at UC Arts City Location, Old Chemistry building in the Arts Centre, Christchurch, focuses on food in the ancient world. Opening 6 April, Fantastic Feasts will take visitors on a culinary tour of the ancient world through precious artefacts and hands-on activities for all ages.

Fantastic Feasts explores what the Greeks and Romans ate, the feasting and dining traditions they developed to bring their communities together, and the connections they believed existed between food and the gods. Coming together to share food with family, friends and the community was highly valued by Greek and Roman societies, as it is today.

Included in the new exhibition are fascinating artefacts on loan from museums around Aotearoa New Zealand, from a private collection and from the James Logie Memorial Collection at UC. Silver gilt cups and bowls, exquisitely decorated ceramic drinking cups, and delicate glass dishes such as a fish-shaped bottle, hint at the extravagance of the wealthy elite, who hosted elaborate feasts and served up exotic dishes.

In contrast to these are a selection of everyday crockery and utensils used by the average household, many of whom would have been fortunate just to have one decent meal per day. Even though feeding the family would have been a struggle for most people, the bowls, plates and cooking pots they used are still carefully decorated and beautifully formed - a testament to the artisans who produced them.

The Teece Museum is specifically designed to welcome visitors of all ages, so each exhibition offers hands-on activities for actively engaging in learning. Fantastic Feasts will feature some fun family activities in the gallery, including a replica Roman street kitchen, and a model triclinium where visitors will be able to recline and imagine dining Roman-style.

The generous support of the UC Foundation has made it possible for the Teece Museum to deliver a high calibre of exhibitions and educational outreach activities to the community. In support of Fantastic Feasts, the Teece Museum will continue to offer its free educational outreach service to primary and secondary schools, as well as hosting UC classes and tutorials.

School groups can choose classes that are tailored to specific learning objectives such as mythology or the history of the ancient world, but this exhibition in particular will offer school children a great opportunity to consider the connections between food and culture, and to reflect on a range of contemporary food issues.

To find out more about Fantastic Feasts, or to book school classes, see the Teece Museum page:

New exhibition: Fantastic Feasts at the Teece Museum, 3 Hereford St, Christchurch, from 6 April 2019 to 23 February 2020.

Free public talk: Get a taste of a fascinating aspect of Roman history at a short-format talk, Food, recipes and empire in Mid-Republican Rome, by Associate Professor Enrica Sciarrino, on 11 April, 5.45pm - 6.30pm. (The Teece Museum doors will be open for viewing the exhibition at 5pm, followed by the talk in the UC Arts Recital Room from 5.45pm.) Register to attend:

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