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As We Encounter in Light: the Palace Museum through Diplomats’ Eyes


The opening ceremony for the photography exhibition “As We Encounter in Light: The Palace Museum through Diplomats’ Eyes” was held on 11 October at the Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi gong) in the Forbidden City. Wang Xudong, member of the leading Party group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the director of the Palace Museum; Lou Wei, managing deputy-director of the Palace Museum; Li Li, director general of Beijing Service Bureau for Diplomatic Missions; Wan Jie, chairman and president of Artron Art Group; and diplomats from nineteen embassies and international organizations attended the event. Wang Xudong and Li Li, representing the organizing institutions, spoke during the ceremony; Wan Jie, representing the supporting organizations, also shared thoughts. Uruguay Ambassador to China Fernando Lugris, representing the diplomatic community in China, also spoke at the event. The ceremony was hosted by Lou Wei, managing deputy-director of the Palace Museum.

The exhibition is organized by the Palace Museum and the Beijing Service Bureau for Diplomatic Missions with assistance from the Beijing Personnel Service Corporation for Diplomatic Missions.

Beginning in 2012, each year the Palace Museum has invited and organized members of the diplomatic community in China to visit the Forbidden City and attend numerous events. In order to add variety to the events offered, this year the Palace Museum invited diplomats to participate in a photography exhibition and submit their work for appraisal. The finest works were selected for display through a judging process, which encouraged participation among the diplomatic community, deepened diplomatic ties, and advanced cultural exchange.

The exhibition presents the Forbidden City through the eyes of diplomats in China, affording visitors unique perspectives influenced by different cultural backgrounds. The exhibition showcases the documentary art of twenty-nine diplomatic envoys from five continents, nineteen countries, and two international organizations and comprises three sections with 109 photographs. The first section, entitled “Oriental Impressions, Everlasting Splendor”, presents the majesty of the Forbidden City’s palaces and halls and represents first impressions of the Palace Museum as seen through the eyes of diplomats in China. The second section, “Unique Insight, Exquisite Details”, combines images of architecture and cultural relics in a demonstration of the exquisite beauty concealed within the expansive palace courts. The third section, “Harmony in Diversity, Shared Beauty”, shows the vibrancy of the Palace Museum with featured photographs of visitors from around the world. These photographic works have a new energy that transcends the bounds of traditional photography, national borders, and time.

Over the years, the Palace Museum has continuously organized international exhibitions, collaborative research and conservation projects, and personnel exchanges to develop communication with countries all over the world. During this pandemic, the Palace Museum has actively sought new modes for cultural exchange.

The exhibition will be promoted on the Palace Museum’s official website and other social media accounts and video platforms. The website and “Digital Palace Museum” (Shuzi Gugong) applet will feature a digital tour of the gallery for those unable to visit in person.

Major support for the exhibition comes from Artron Art Group and Beijing Artron Art Photo Co., Ltd.

On the day of the opening ceremony, the diplomats in attendance also toured “Beyond the Bounds of History: A Collaborative Exhibition Between the Palace Museum and Dunhuang Academy” in the Meridian Gate (Wu men) gallery. After the event, the group joined the Palace Museum administration and various experts at the Studio of Esteemed Excellence (Jingsheng zhai) in the garden of the Palace of Established Happiness (Jianfu gong) for further exchange.

“As We Encounter in Light: The Palace Museum through Diplomats’ Eyes” will be on view 12 October 2021 – 12 February 2022 in the east side hall gallery in the Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi gong). Admission is free with the purchase of a general admission ticket to the Forbidden City.

Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu

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Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi gong)
2021-10-12 ~ 2022-02-12
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