Hong Kong Palace Museum | Entering the Forbidden City: Architecture, Collection, and Heritage

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Hong Kong Palace Museum

West Kowloon Cultural District, 8 Museum Drive, Kowloon


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Entering the Forbidden City: Architecture, Collection, and Heritage

Gallery 1
Entering the Forbidden City: Architecture, Collection, and Heritage
Gallery 1

Built on Beijing’s central axis, the position of the Forbidden City testifies to its significance to Chinese politics and culture. Reconstructed many times, it was during the Qing dynasty that the current layout of the Forbidden City emerged. During this time, China embraced diverse cultures, preserved ancient artefacts, commissioned new objects, and developed contacts with other parts of the world. Featuring over 100 significant works from the Palace Museum, this exhibition sheds light on the architecture and collections of the Forbidden City, as well as the activities of the multi-cultural Qing court.

Cup

Cup
possibly Qing dynasty, Kangxi period (1662–1722)
jade (nephrite)
© The Palace Museum

Highlighted objects

Cup

Cup

possibly Qing dynasty, Kangxi period (1662–1722)
jade (nephrite)
© The Palace Museum

Cup

People expect to see “authentic” objects in museums.  But much can be learned from imitations. This jade cup nearly deceived the Qianlong Emperor, who thought it might be a genuine work from the Han dynasty (202 BCE–220 CE).  He later learned from the craftsman Yao Zongren that it was an imitation by Yao’s grandfather but appreciated the lengthy process that went into making it.  He recorded Yao’s explanation in the album and store it with the jade cup in the container consisting of an inner box and an outer one.

Cup
possibly Qing dynasty, Kangxi period (1662–1722)
jade (nephrite)
© The Palace Museum
Ewer

Ewer

Mughal Empire,18th century
Jade (nephrite), gold, lapzi lazuli, and rubies
© The Palace Museum

Ewer

Since the Kangxi period (1662–1722), the Qing court had waged wars against the Dzungar tribes of Central Asia.  After the Qianlong Emperor defeated them in 1755, opening new trade routes and regions, finely-worked jade objects from the Islamic world started to be presented to the Qing court. These jades came from not only Central Asia but also the Mughal Empire in South Asia and the Ottoman Empire in the west.  Their exotic appearance impressed the emperor and was soon influencing jade production in China.

Ewer
Mughal Empire,18th century
Jade (nephrite), gold, lapzi lazuli, and rubies
© The Palace Museum
Gramophone

Gramophone

Republican period, early 20th century
Wood and metal
© The Palace Museum

Gramophone

Puyi, the Xuantong Emperor, embraced both Chinese and Western culture. He purchased numerous records of Peking and clapper operas as well as Western classical music and played them on gramophones. Many records in his collection were products of the Pathé Orient, the first record company in China. The company was later incorporated into Electric and Musical Industries (EMI), which relocated to Hong Kong in 1952 and produced records for well-known singers, such as Roman Tam, Danny Chan, and Faye Wong.

Gramophone
Republican period, early 20th century
Wood and metal
© The Palace Museum
Ewer with figures and flowers in a cartouche

Ewer with figures and flowers in a cartouche

Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736–95)
Cloisonné, painted enamels, gold
© The Palace Museum

Ewer with figures and flowers in a cartouche

Cloisonné involves laying out designs with metal wires and soldering them onto the vessel, which are then filled in with glass paste. It was the main enameling technique used during the Ming dynasty. The Kangxi Emperor admired European painted enamelware, which featured designs painted directly onto vessels with enamels, and encouraged his craftsmen to experiment with this new technique.  After years of trial and error, they succeeded.  During the Qianlong period, craftsmen even inventively combined the techniques of both cloisonné and painted enamels on the same vessel.

Ewer with figures and flowers in a cartouche
Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736–95)
Cloisonné, painted enamels, gold
© The Palace Museum
Stupa

Stupa

Imperial Workshops
Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, 1746
Gold, semi-precious stones, pearls
© The Palace Museum

Stupa

This is the first large-scale golden stupa (a Buddhist reliquary or shrine) of the Qing court commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor. It was placed in the Palace of Double Brilliance for daily worship and meditation. The emperor also transformed his father’s former residence into a symbolic headquarter for Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the Qing state.  The emperor was a devoted practitioner and studied Tibetan Buddhism regularly.

Stupa
Imperial Workshops
Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, 1746
Gold, semi-precious stones, pearls
© The Palace Museum

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Hong Kong Palace Museum
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Hong Kong Palace Museum

West Kowloon Cultural District, 8 Museum Drive, Kowloon


Mon, Wed, Thu & Sun
10:00 am – 06:00 pm
Fri, Sat & Public Holiday
10:00 am – 08:00 pm