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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


Sui Jianguo’s discus thrower

1 June – 9 September 2012

The exhibition is now closed

The Asahi Shimbun Displays
Objects in focus

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Sui Jianguo's discus thrower

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The Discobolus (discus thrower) is one of the most famous sculptures from the ancient world and has come to mean different things to different people. This display features contemporary Chinese artist Sui Jianguo’s beautiful and thought-provoking interpretation.

He went on to study for an MA in Sculpture from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, and is now head of the Sculpture Department.

The famous marble Discobolus statue is one of the British Museum’s best known objects. It is one of many copies made by the Romans of a Greek bronze original, cast around 450 BC by Myron of Athens. The original has long been lost. The Museum’s marble copy, known as the ‘Townley Discobolus’, was excavated at Hadrian’s Villa near Rome in 1791 and can be seen on display in the Great Court.


'I wanted to show how through self-reflection I have come to throw off the bonds of the education I received at the Art Academy and its socialist ideology. Instead of these I have created a ‘way of art’ all my own.' Sui Jianguo

The power of the Discobolus as a cultural icon continues today with Chinese sculptor Sui Jianguo’s (b. 1956) clothed version, on display in Room 3.

The display of the Townley Discobolus and Sui Jianguo’s response so close to each other allows us to see the conversation(s) between ancient and modern, and East and West.