The Chinese Museum’s 2016 holiday gift guide

It’s that time of the year again! Good for you if you have all your gifts sorted already, you superhuman being — but for the rest of us currently experiencing a pre-holiday headache/total meltdown, the Chinese Museum hopes to help with some of our own nifty gift ideas. Good luck, and shop wisely!



Shao Qihua Paintings ($200)

Ideal for: your arty sister
She’s both stylish and creative; her wardrobe might consist of only Gorman dresses, which she coordinates with equally colourful lipsticks and her own handmade jewellery. In fact, most days you swear she’s actually the physical manifestation of a Shao Qihua painting — vibrant, animated, too adorable to bear. As an arts and crafts fanatic with a penchant for all things independent, she’ll especially appreciate the cultural and artistic significance of Shao’s paintings: not only is the artist renowned in the Chinese ‘Peasant Painting’ canon, but she utilises her skills in traditional folk arts passed down for generations — like paper cutting, embroidery, weaving. It’s a must-have for our Marketing and Events Coordinator Michelle (who is very much the arty sister in both her family and the office): “I want one for my lounge room!”

Shao’s paintings are currently part of our exhibition ‘Modern Folk Art: Peasant Paintings by Shao Qihua‘. Artworks can be picked up on 21 and 22 Dec, just in time for Christmas.



Kwan the Lion  ($47.50) 

Ideal for: the playful, hands-on kid in the family
He/she is really, really into Lego. Puzzles and colouring books? Probably too old-school for their tastes. Either way, if something requires constructing from scratch — this kid is definitely up to the challenge. And Kwan the Lion, the Melbourne-based DIY kit that began life as a Kickstarter project, might just be that challenge. Not only do you colour and build the 3D head of the lion, you get to wear the finished product too! The toy/artwork/headpiece can be made after Christmas and worn out on the streets by Chinese New Year in January, making it a truly versatile holiday gift.

You can pick it up from the museum gift shop, open 7 days a week.

Membership (from $20)

Ideal for: the precocious, know-it-all kid in your family
Who needs presents when you can give the gift of knowledge! Admittedly that might not sound so appealing, but when one floor of the museum is entirely dedicated to replicating the experience of the gold rush, kids often forget they’re even learning. Good thing if the kid in your family already has an insatiable appetite for knowledge: he/she might find the the museum’s more immersive and interactive exhibits especially worthwhile. At $20, an annual concession museum membership guarantees unlimited visits all year round, as well as many other perks. Hint hint: an annual family membership package (two adults and three children) at $50 might be a sneaky way to reward both the little ones as well as yourself.

You can fill our your form here and submit it to



Parasols ($10)

Ideal for: your social butterfly best friend
He’s already lined up his summer calendar with every music festival/outdoor cinema/arts extravaganza you can think of, so you probably shouldn’t buy him any more event tickets (he’s probably got it already). Usually hibernating throughout winter, he’ll emerge out of his cave as soon as temperatures hit past the mid-twenties — ready to party, mingle, and bask in the sun. A parasol might just be the perfect stocking filler for him since, a) he overlooks just how much damage the sun actually does to one’s skin every single year and b) he’ll obviously need a hilarious prop to go with his summer shenanigans. Our museum volunteer Tim might want to get one in all three colours: “It’ll definitely be a festival conversation starter, for sure.”

You can pick up a parasol from the museum gift shop, open 7 days a week.


Book sale stocking fillers (from $1)

Ideal for: Adventurous parents/grandparents
Bonus points if they recently returned from an overseas trip in China. Our gift shop always has a large selection of titles on all things Chinese – from Chinese language learning resources to coffee table books on contemporary art. Aside from the usual suspects, the museum is also clearing out old stock, with most books on sale for only $1 or $2. Not only do they make great stocking fillers, you’ll be able to fill up the bookshelves of your avid-reader parents/grandparents — one stack of books at a time.

The museum gift shop is open 7 days a week.