Museum Current Events
The Belz Museum will be closed to the public
on April 6....
Visit us before and see our unique collection of
Asian art, Judaic art and
a new gallery open to the public....
The Belz Museum will also be closed to the public
on April 20 for the EASTER Holiday....
The Belz Museum Gives History a Face
Opening of the Holocaust Memorial Gallery
Holocaust Memorial Gallery
The years between 1933 and 1945 witnessed the systematic torture and annihilation of over ten million people under Nazi Germany and its collaborators across Europe and Asia. An estimated six million of those murdered were Jews, including over one million children. These twelve years of mass imprisonment and slaughter reduced the pre-World War II Jewish population of nine million by two-thirds. Hitler’s attempt at complete genocide is known as the Holocaust.
In order to successfully exterminate the Jews and other “undesirables,” such as disabled citizens, homosexuals, the Romani and other ethnic minorities, prisoners of war, and any opponents to Nazi law, Hitler required an elaborate network of facilities. Strategically located ghettos and concentration camps were placed throughout Germany and Nazi controlled Europe. These camps were used for internment, transfer, labor, POWs, and extermination, among other purposes. Most Jews perished within the camps, but the fortunate few who lived share harrowing tales of betrayal, loss, grief, faith, luck, strength, endurance, and survival.
The Belz Museum’s new Holocaust Memorial Gallery gives visitors a rare opportunity to come face to face with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust via portraits and testimonials from the “Living On” exhibit. The photographer worked with the Tennessee Holocaust Commission to give voice to the survivors, refugees, and liberators now living in Tennessee. These faces reveal not only their own stories, but the stories of loved ones who did not survive to be heard. Other displays in the gallery: Jewish ghetto currency, photographs of Jews in concentration camps, sculptures and artwork, World War II information panels and timeline, and other personal memorabilia work in conjunction to provide insight about the willful cruelty and ignorance Jews faced during this dark period in time.
The gallery’s purpose is not to memorialize the Holocaust as a whole tragedy, but rather to share with visitors the personal tragedies and experiences of these individuals, which ultimately define the Holocaust. One day, these witnesses will no longer be available to share their first-hand knowledge with the rest of the world. The Holocaust Memorial Gallery has been created to connect all generations; for each successive generation will face the responsibility of bearing witness. While individual experiences may seem insignificant to the greater world, human beings seek connection and understanding; thus shared struggles lead to the discovery that what haunts one haunts us all. However, not forgetting the ghosts of the past can also give the world hope. With this in mind, the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art wishes to show its support for all the Holocaust survivors and refugees, and their families, around the world.
2014 is the Year of the Horse: Chinese New Year
Horse in Chinese Culture
The horse is admired by countless people all over the world because of their strength, grace, elegance, and power. Horses led soldiers into battle, pulled ploughs and served as transportation prior to the invention of vehicles. The natural companionship between a man and the horse in both art and work is a special one! You would not be where you are today without these wonderful animals. Serving man in war, agriculture, productivity, mobility and development of all kinds; horses are considered to be one of the largest contributors to the enhancement of civilization.
As one of the symbols in the Chinese zodiac animals, horses played a crucial role in the development of the Chinese empire. Horses symbolize energy in Buddhist religion.
In China, the first evidence of horses comes from the “Longshan culture”. Several fire pits dating at about 5000 BCE were excavated in Miaodigou (Henan Province) and contained the remains of horses. It is believed that these horses were used for mystical sacrifices and domestic purposes. During the Shang Dynasty (1600 – 1100 BCE), horses were entombed with their owners to pass over with them into the afterlife. This practice was then replaced with a more humane way for an emperor to “protect or defend” his mausoleum. 1000 years ago, hunting, polo matches and horse performance were already popular activities in the Tang dynasty. Lifelike figures of saddled horses as well as the riders in the Terracotta Army unearthed from the mausoleum of Qinshihuang emperor (r.221 – 210 BC) indicate the contemporary features of the warhorses and their horsemen.
China invented three of the most important innovations in equestrian history: the horse collar, the stirrup and a reliable and effective harnessing system based on the breast strap. The artistic efforts of Mongolian were channeled into portable works of art such as, bridles, saddles and personal jewelry. Until today, the Mongols spend much of their lives on horseback.
Silk was traded for horses during the Han Dynasty (157 – 87 BCE). However, China faced several periods where horses were of short supply. Tea was the commodity of trade during the Song Dynasty (681 – 907 CE), and so began the history of “Tea for Horses” markets. Tea production was controlled by China and they attempted to maintain the prices of tea at an artificially high level in order to acquire more horses. During the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 CE), these markets were again used when horse populations were once again depleted.
1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
The sixth animal in the Chinese zodiac is the horse. Power, beauty, and freedom symbolize the horse in the Chinese culture. People born in the year of the horse are very high-spirited, active and energetic. Their enthusiasm and cheerful personalities make people like them. People born in the year of the horse are the center of attention and are enjoyable to be around.
The horse's moods can change very quickly because they are quick tempered and impatient. It is necessary for the horse to have a lot of freedom and independency, so it is hard for them to adjust to a schedule prepared by someone else. They have a sharp and quick mind which makes them good at identifying patterns and sense what you are thinking before you state it.
Current Special Exhibit!
"Two Elements: Earth and Metal"
Chinese Pottery: Long before the Bronze Age (ca.1000 B.C.), fanciful thin-walled, painted, and burnished earthenwares of intricate shapes were used as ritual vessels in various Neolithic cultures located along the Yellow and Yangtze river valleys. Mostly hand built, these red, grey, and black wares often reveal a craftsmanship and beauty exceptional for their age.
Bronzes: These beautiful ritual vessels constituted the mainstream of Chinese art for nearly 1500 years. Spanning both the Shang (1523-1028 B.C.) and Chou (1027-256 B.C.) Dynasties, the majority of bronzes were originally used in the offering of wine and foods to the spirits in ancestral rites, state ceremonies, and various ritual sacrifices. The metal was cast in a variety of functional shapes, which were excavated from elaborate funeral tombs. The warm, rich, blue-green surface of the artifacts is due to the natural oxidation of the bronze material which has occurred within the centuries of burial.
Come see these amazing pieces and enjoy this unique experience!
Belz Museum Gift Shop
Unique Asian Snacks
Find the time to sit in our cafe area, browse the surrounding art and enjoy our unique Asian snacks and teas! Be daring! Come try something new!
We have the very popular Hawthorn berry rolls, Lychee Jello cups, and perserved plums! Each month be sure to check for new Asian snacks being added to the selection.
Item of the Month: April
In honor of the Passover, all Judaic Items in the gift shop are 25% off!
Passover, or Pesach is an important Biblically-derived Jewish festival. The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.
Facebook and Twitter:
Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages! The Belz Museum posts general facts about Chinese and Judaic history and culture, gift shop sales and information about some of the museum's art collection.
Check it out on Tuesdays and Fridays!
Like Belz Museum on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
EDUCATORS, Please visit our educators page and plan a visit to our museum.
We would love to help make Asian and Jewish art and culture something special for your students!
Guided tours for students:
Guided tours are available for groups of 10 or more students in 1st through 12th grade, Tuesdays through Fridays. Groups must be accompanied by at least one adult chaperone for every 12
Due to space limitations, only 25 students will be assigned to a docent and permitted in the galleries at one time. Advanced reservations are required.
Trained docents will lead students on a 45 minute guided tour of the permanent collection. Not only will students study art appreciation, they will also be introduced to the folklore and symbolism of China. A hands-on activity or gallery hunt will be offered to qualified groups (size and age range of the group will determine availability).
Allow at least one hour for tour and activity.
Tours can be tailored to fit individual class needs. When scheduling a tour, please mention your students’ background on Jewish or Chinese art, history or language.
If interested in incorporating the Judaic gallery to learn about Jewish culture, please mention this to a staff member during reservation!
Tour Guides and Operators
The Belz Museum is always happy to have tour groups of all sizes visit.
Adult and student group tours are available
Tues.- Fri. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Reservations required a week in advance.
Group rates available for groups of 10 or more.
Docent guided tours are available to the public with reservations;
Please call ahead to guarantee staffing.
Tour and Chinese box lunch: $12.00
The Emperor's Lunch is designed for 10 - 80 people, seated in the Dynasty Room. Reservations should be made no later than one week before desired date.
- Teachers are welcome to book an Emperor's Lunch for their students. -
Please allow 1 hour and a half up to 2 hours for the Emperor's Lunch.
Call or email the museum for a Reservation Packet with menu options.
phone: (901) 523-2787 email@example.com
Like Belz Museum on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter