Item From the Past: The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
November 16, 2002.
Today we went to Elmhurst [Illinois], which is very close to Westmont, too close for us to visit much. Mainly we wanted to see the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, which we've heard about for some years (at least I have) but never have been to. It’s a small museum, one room on each of its two floors, just about the right size for seeing most of the objects, namely a lot of Chinese jade, plus other carved stones and some precious-metal sculptures.
The Lizzadro is home to some truly remarkable carvings, some of which must have taken years to create. Mr. Lizzadro seems to have collected them in the Orient in the early 20th century, back when China was open and foreigners got while the getting was good. One ten-panel screen, adorned with all sorts of stones -- jade, amethyst, agate, coral, amber, turquoise and more -- stood beside one wall. Made for an 18th-century Chinese emperor, it apparently it left China in 1939 for the world's fair in San Francisco, the Golden Gate International Exposition, but never returned.
A dodgy time in China, for sure. Somehow Lizzadro acquired it. Probably the only reason that the current Chinese government hasn’t made a big beef about getting it back is the obscurity of the Lizzadro Museum. How many Chinese apparatchiks make it to Elmhurst?