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$ 450 Million Hong Kong Palace Museum Opens in Forbidden City's Treasure Mountain

AuthorStephyChung, CNNKristie Lu Stout, CNNHong Kong

The Beijing Palace Museum, in the heart of the Forbidden City, houses the world's largest collection of Chinese art with a history of nearly 5,000 years. Currently, more than 900 of these treasures are on display at the new Hong Kong Palace Museum. This is a "gift" from the central government to mark the 25th anniversary of British to Chinese rule. The

collection is clearly nothing political, but at least by modern standards, the museum was controversial when it was first announced by Hong Kong's retired leader Carrielam in late 2016. Caused. From the

1.8 million powerful collection of public talks before the project turned green, the long-term loan of the Palace Museum, including rare paintings, calligraphy works, pottery, jade, etc., is "unprecedented at all levels. "" Said Bernard, President of the Hong Kong Museum. Chan.

"This is the first time these national treasures have been brought to another cultural institution in large numbers, so you can imagine the complexity behind them," he adds, adding that transportation, security and insurance. , The latter took a collection of about 100 insurance companies from around the world to settle.

The red-studded doors at the museum's entrance. Construction of the building was funded by a $3.5 billion HKD ($450 million) donation by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

A red studded door at the entrance of the museum. The construction of the building was funded by a donation of HK $ 3.5 billion ($ 450 million) from the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Credits:Hong Kong Palace Museum

Curation of an exhibition in the midst of a pandemic also proved difficult I did. The museum opened in time for this week's anniversary.

"When I was a curator in the United States, I was working on one exhibition for three years, and now I'm working on nine exhibitions for three years," said the museum's ambitious. That's what Deputy Director Daisy One Eyo says. Opening program.

A stunning artifact, one-fifth of which is considered a "grade 1 national treasure," focuses on exploring aspects of imperial life in a forbidden city and on innovative design and manufacturing techniques. It will appear in thematic shows such as hits. Elsewhere, horse-inspired art exhibitions line up works rented from the Louvre in Paris and works from the forbidden city. Some objects have never been published, including two recently restored sketches of the Empress of the Qing Dynasty.

A glass vase, which looks surprisingly contemporary with its spiral pattern, showcases innovative techniques used during the Qing dynasty.

A glass vase that looks amazingly modern with a spiral pattern introduces the innovative technology used during the Qing Dynasty. I am. Credits:Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images

Wang is a rotating exhibition of Chinese paintings in the museum with "big hit" attractions. I expect it to be. Jin, Tan, Song, Yuan dynasty calligraphy.

"(These works) are so fragile and so rare that after a 30-day stay in Hong Kong, they will be returned to a forbidden city storage. Rest for a few years. "I will explain.

166 artifacts of the loan are considered national treasures including this one, "Ten Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains," a 12th century ink-on-paper work by Zhao Fu.

166 loan deliverables are seen as national treasures, including the 12th century ink-on "River and Mountain 10,000 Lee" Will be done. -Paper work by Zhao Fuku. Credits:Palace Museum

Urban changing art environment

84,000 square feet gallery A museum of modern design nodding to the space and famous architecture of the forbidden city took only five years to realize. Neighboring institutions such as theM + Museumfor contemporary visual culture overlooking Victoria Harbor from the Western Kowloon Cultural District took almost twice as long.
One of the museum's nine galleries focuses on the history of Chinese ceramics, particularly imperial porcelain from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

One of the museum's nine galleries focuses on the history of Chinese porcelain, especially the Ming and Qing dynasty imperial porcelain. I am. Credits:Hong Kong Palace Museum

The Hong Kong Palace Museum was not part of the original plan for the vast art district. It is a landfill patch and has been under development since the early 2000s. The announcement of Lamb's unexpected plan in December 2016 was a means by some critics to curate political support with China's central government (which was the second highest job in Hong Kong at the time). Was considered. Others claimed that Beijing pressured the museum to be approved.

Ram rejected his claim that the project was underway for political reasons.

"I know that our society today is full of this kind of distrust, but in this project we are really motivated by selfishness and self-interest. Not, "she said in 2017. Build the Hong Kong Palace Museum for Hong Kong, which we all can be proud of. "

Nevertheless, the museum announcement was" a surprise to everyone, including me, "Chan recalls. "No one knew about it," he says. "But you can imagine why it was a kind of secret. The argument is at a very high level."

A festive robe from the Qianlong period (1736 to 1795) is displayed during a media preview of the Hong Kong Palace Museum in Hong Kong on June 22, 2022.

6 During a media preview of the Hong Kong Palace Museum in Hong Kong in March, a robe celebrating the pre-dragon era (1736–1795) was exhibited on 22nd February 2022.Credits:Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images

Beijing's role remains unclear, but $ 450 million The museum sees China's economic future and international influence intertwined with the country's past glory, China's President West Jinping's vision of "China's dream" or "the great rejuvenation of China's country." Along with. Xi has repeatedly talked about the artist's role in promoting patriotism and spreading the values ​​of China and the "core of socialism." In his vision, traditional Chinese culture should be seen as a source of inspiration for modern literary and artistic innovation.

During a three-day visit toHong Kongto commemorate the 20th anniversary of delivery in 2017, Xi attended a signing ceremony at the museum andwanted. He said he was out. Hong Kong can promote traditional Chinese culture and exchanges between China and the West.
The new arts space, designed by Rocco Design Architects, is situated in the West Kowloon Cultural District overlooking Victoria Harbour.

A new art space designed by Rocco Design Architects is located in the Western Kowloon Cultural District overlooking Victoria Harbor. Credits:ROCCO Design Associates Architects Limited

But the museum is open today in a completely different Hong Kong. The promotion of Beijing's soft power occurs when freedom of expression is diminished following protests of large-scale democratization movements and the drastic National Security Act that effectively stopped them in 2020. increase.

The art in the city is also threatened, with politically sensitive works being clearly discontinued and artists voluntarily asylum. Several famous artworks dealing with the slaughter of Tiannanmen Square, including the famous"Pillar of Shame", once allowed people to freely commemorate their victims in China. It was demolished in Hong Kong, which was the only place in the soil. Bloody crackdown. Earlier this year, the thin veil painting "New Beijing", which hints at the death of protesters in support of democratization in the 1989 genocide, wasremoved from the exhibition at M +, The museum said it was part of a regular rotation plan related to "Artwork Condition and Conservation Needs".

Shared History

The latest loan is the first, but in terms of scale, the forbidden city treasure is on display at the Hong Kong Palace Museum Not just. .. InTaiwan, which China considers to be a separate state, many of the most precious treasures of the Imperial Palace are now housed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

Withdrawal of nationalist forces in the 1940s brought more than 600,000 objects from the forbidden city to the island. Tensions between Beijing and Taipei are higher than ever, and the museum is planning training to evacuate relics in the event of a war.

"We are all introducing Chinese civilization, so I hope that one day the three museums can actually cooperate," said Chan, the city's new museum and its treasures. I hope that the mountain can transcend politics. ..

"Where did the Chinese civilization come from? And how is the Chinese civilization connected to other civilizations? It's not just us, especially the world is very polarized and divided. I think it's important when you're doing it. "

A portrait of the Yongzheng Emperor in court attire.

A portrait of Emperor Eisei in court dress. Credits:Palace Museum

On the other hand, for Hong Kong residents, the museum is a hot summer destination and already has 100,000 tickets. Is on sale. July. In addition to providing an opportunity to see famous things up close, the museum's job is to relate their story to the local audience, says the king.

"It doesn't matter if you are a historian or a driver," she says. "You can relate to these fantastic treasures and the stories we tell. You can be emotionally moved by things."

Hong Kong Palace Museum Watch the video above to see the inside of.

CNN's Kevin Broad, Momo Musa, Tom Booth, Dan Hodge and Ziyu Zhang contributed to this report.