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In a World of Shells, Marvel at the Wonders of Life


As the saying goes, “Words are but wind, but seeing is believing.” Looking at those shells in countless shapes and glamorous colors, and pondering on the innate mysteries which are beyond the power of words, one experiences a journey through a wonderful outlandish world and is alive with spontaneous illusions and reverie.

It is perfectly safe to say that the exhibits in the Shell exhibition inaugurated on April 30 at BMNH are all grotesque in their own unique ways. Mother Nature has given life to numerous creatures and provided suitable environments for them. Molluscs are no exception. Their shells are ‘skeleton gems’, classic achievements that testify to the superlative creative power of Nature.

Strolling the BMNH Shell exhibition hall, one would be completely thrilled by the beauty and charm emitted from the collective display of shells. Those shells are distinct from each other and bring fresh aesthetic joy one after another to the audience. Some are like graceful lasses, lovely and attractive; some are like brilliantly-colored flowers, contradistinctively glamorous; some are like fine spiral pagodas, tall and erect; and, among others, the Rumphius’ Slit Shell, the Marie's Cowrie, the black abalone shell and the triton shell have glaring gems embedded in the shells. These exquisite shells set up a fairyland for the visitors.   

Molluscs’ most intriguing and mysterious feature is their beautiful and protective shells. When moving, a mollusc first protrudes its head and feet and, once the mollusc feels threatened, its head and feet will quickly withdraw into the shell. Mainly composed of calcium carbonate and a small quantity of conchiolin, shells have lustrous colors, curvaceous shapes and surreal patterns and have been long admired by collectors.

The Shell exhibition at BMNH consists of more than 600 species of molluscs and most of the shells are displayed in Beijingfor the first time. During the exhibition period, BMNH experts and docents will give lectures and explanations concerning the biological and ecological facts about molluscs and the methods to appreciate different shells.

The Shell Exhibition ticket is 10 yuan each visitor and will be hosted in BMNH for 4 months until the end of August. No reservation is needed for the visit.




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