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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Clarissa Gräfin
von Spee

Curator, China

Department: Asia


+44 (0)20 7323 8919

Clarissa von Spee is a curator in the Asia department, where her main responsibilities include Chinese calligraphy and paintings, prints and the Central Asian collections.

Clarissa studied East Asian Art History, Sinology, and European Art History in Heidelberg, Paris and Taipei. She received her Ph.D. from Heidelberg University. Before she joined the British Museum in 2008, she was Assistant Professor for East Asian Art History at Heidelberg University, and Research Assistant at the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, after having served as cataloguer of Chinese works of art at the auction house LEMPERTZ.

Her research interests include traditional and modern Chinese paintings and works of art, museum studies, and issues of connoisseurship and contemporary art.

Previous projects

  • Germany- Memories of a Nation , exhibition co-curator (2014/15)
  • Gems of Chinese Painting. A voyage along the Yangzi river, exhibition curator (2014)
  • Modern Chinese ink paintings, exhibition curator (2012)
  • The Printed Image in China from the 8th to the 21st centuries,
    exhibition curator (2010)

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

2015    Leverhulme Research Fellowship for ‘Art and Imagery in the Jiangnan region, 1100-1800’

2014     Fellow of the China National Academy of Art, Department of Art and Archeology, China Research Institute of Visual Studies, Hangzhou


Modern Chinese Ink Painting. A Century of new Directions, London: British Museum Press 2012

(ed.), The Printed Image in China from the 8th to the 21st Centuries, London: British Museum Press 2010.

Der Perfekte Pinsel - Chinesische Malerei 1300-1900/The Perfect Brush - Chinese Painting 1300-1900, (Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst Köln) Köln: asmuth 2010.

Wu Hufan - A Twentieth Century Art Connoisseur in Shanghai. Berlin: Reimer 2008.

“Visiting Steles. Variations of a Painting Theme,” in Shane McCausland and Yin Hwang (eds), On Telling Images of China. Essays in Narrative Painting and Visual Culture, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2014, pp.213-236.

“Setting Milestones. Collecting Chinese Paintings in Europe,” in Zhang Hongxing (ed.), Masterpieces of Chinese Painting, 700-1900, exhibition catalogue, London: V&A Publishing  2013, pp.65-78.

“Wu Dacheng at 58. Two Handscrolls with Bronze Rubbings from the Shanghai Museum," in Burglind Jungmann, Adele Schlombs & Melanie Trede (eds.), Shifting Paradigms in East Asian Visual Culture. A Festschrift in Honour of Lothar Ledderose, Berlin: Reimer 2012, 299-312.