The “Inheritances Converge: The 40th Anniversary of the Forbidden City Publishing House Exhibition” opened at the Hall of Literary Brilliance of the Palace Museum on December 8.
Eminent figures including Du Haijiang, Party secretary and deputy director of the Palace Museum; Zheng Xinmiao, former deputy minister of culture and former director of the Palace Museum; Yan Xiaohong, former deputy chief of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television; Wang Yamin, former executive deputy director of the Palace Museum and former president of the Forbidden City Publishing House; Li Wenru, former deputy director of the Palace Museum and former president of the Forbidden City Publishing House; Zhang Zicheng, president of the Cultural Relics Press; and Yang Zhishui, a renowned scholar and representative author of the Forbidden City Publishing House, attended and addressed the exhibition’s opening ceremony.
Additionally, Guo Ruihong, a second-level inspector of the Publishing Bureau of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee; Ren Wanping, deputy director of the Palace Museum; and Li Jun, secretary of the discipline inspection commission of the museum’s Party committee, attended the event. The ceremony, hosted by Zhang Hongwei, president of the Forbidden City Publishing House, was attended by over a hundred experts, authors, and representatives from 25 domestic and international media outlets.
Established in 1983, the Forbidden City Publishing House is the only publishing house affiliated to a museum in China. It has garnered acclaim for its beautifully crafted books featuring cultural relics, characterized by their exquisite imagery, elegant design, and premium printing quality. The publishing house serves as a platform for showcasing the museum’s artifacts, disseminating the latest research findings, and promoting traditional Chinese culture.
During the opening ceremony, Du Haijiang acknowledged the significant role the Forbidden City Publishing House has played over the past 40 years in disseminating and promoting the excellent traditional culture represented by the Palace Museum. The growth of the publishing house has been closely tied with the development of the museum. In recent years, in response to the national call to accelerate the development of the digital economy and its deep integration with the real economy, the Forbidden City Publishing House has adopted digital approaches into its publishing efforts. This initiative includes the launch of innovative projects that align with the national strategy for cultural digitization, aiming to foster a deeper integration of culture and tourism in line with contemporary developmental needs.
Over the years, the Forbidden City Publishing House has consistently focused on public benefits, publishing almost 2,600 books, and earning the prestigious China Government Award for Publishing (also known as the Advanced Publishing Unit Award). Among its notable publications are The Complete Collection of the Palace Museum, Classics of the Forbidden City, Ceramics Classics, The Complete Collection of Ming and Qing Furniture in the Palace Museum, and Xu Bangda’s Collection. Its "Forbidden City Calendar" series has been particularly popular, selling nearly 6 million copies and sparking a trend in calendar publishing. The interactive puzzle book Mystery Palace: The Ruyi Linlang Picture Book set a world record in the publishing sector, with an initial print of 170,000 copies and a crowdfunding achievement of 20.2 million yuan (US$2.82 million).
The anniversary exhibition chronicles 40 years of the publishing house’s journey through five themed sections: “Creation – Establishment of the Forbidden City Publishing House,” “Molding – Building the Brand,” “Gathering – Showcasing Museum Treasures,” “Leading – Direction in Cultural and Museum Books,” and “Innovation – Digital Integration and Creative Culture.” This exhibition, for the first time, adopts a “Books + Artifacts” format, featuring a majestic “Forbidden City Book Mountain” and “Imperial Book City” formed by thousands of exquisite books. Meanwhile, 22 precious artifacts are on display, including prized porcelain from the five famous Song Dynasty kilns and a rare Qing Dynasty Qianlong-era jade dragon seal. Open to the public from December 9, 2023 to February 25, 2024, the exhibition offers a unique opportunity to experience cultural publishing and historical artifacts.