“Auspicious Beginnings” exhibition opens at the Palace Museum in Beijing
“Auspicious Beginnings: Joint Exhibition of Artefacts from the Palace Museum and Tibet” opened at the Palace Museum, Beijing, on April 28, 2023. Distinguished guests invited to the opening ceremony included Wang Xudong, a member of the Party Leadership Group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and director of the Palace Museum; Zhong Tingxiong, deputy director-general of the Department of Communications of the National Ethnic Affairs Commission; Zhang Xuxia, deputy director of the General Office of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism; Lian Xiangmin, deputy secretary-general of China Tibetology Research Center; Song Xinchao, chairman of the Chinese National Committee for the International Council on Monuments and Sites and former deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration; Qu Zhen, deputy secretary of the Party Leadership Group and head of the Cultural Relics Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region; Yang Fan, Party secretary of the National Museum of China; Men Fayan, deputy director of the Cultural Palace of Nationalities, Zha Ga, director of the Museum of Tibetan Culture; Master Yanjue, president of the Buddhist Association of China; officials from the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, representatives from cultural institutions, museums and related associations in Beijing, and past and present leaders of the Palace Museum. Du Haijiang, Party secretary and deputy director of the Palace Museum, Dekyi Drolkar, deputy secretary of the Party Leadership Group and director-general of the Department of Culture of Tibet Autonomous Region, and Yang Xun, vice chairman and general manager of Glorious Sun Group and representative of the GS Charity Foundation, all delivered speeches, and Ren Wanping, deputy director of the Palace Museum, presided over the opening ceremony.
The exhibition, jointly organized by the Palace Museum and the Cultural Relics Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region and supported by the GS Charity Foundation, is held at the Meridian Gate (Wumen) Gallery and East and West Wing Gallery in the Palace Museum. It will last from April 29 to July 30, 2023. Guided by General Secretary Xi Jinping’s statement that cultural identity is the deepest form of identity and also the root and soul of ethnic unity and harmony, the exhibition chimes with the museum’s plans to build itself into a peaceful, academic, digital and dynamic institution. Resulting from the “Research on the Community of the Chinese Nation Based on Cultural Relics from the Palace Museum and Tibet” project, supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism from 2021 to 2023, this comprehensive exhibition displays ethnic relations in the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. The exhibition showcases the Palace Museum’s research achievements of the past five years and explores the cultural implications behind cultural relics. Tracing the history of interaction, exchange and integration between Tibet, other parts of China, and the court, the exhibition tells a compelling story of ethnic unity and progress.
In his speech, Du Haijiang noted that the strong sense of community for the Chinese nation was interwoven throughout the exhibition’s collection. Using academic research, the exhibition demonstrates that Chinese culture has been an emotional bond connecting all ethnic groups in Tibet Autonomous Region, which in turn highlights the necessity and importance of fostering a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation. For thousands of years, people of all ethnic groups across the country have maintained close ties, helped each other, and regarded each other as brothers and sisters. The Forbidden City, where the Palace Museum is located, is a testament to the exchange, interaction and integration between Tibet and other parts of China, as well as the formation of the sense of community for the Chinese nation. By showcasing historical connections between cultural relics and their interactions with exhibition spaces, the exhibition vividly relives the history of exchange, interaction and integration between Tibet and other parts of the country, and shows how the sense of community for the Chinese nation has grown and developed.
Dekyi Drolkar called the exhibition a significant event that implements the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress and General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important views on cultural heritage work. The exhibition explores the extensive exchange and in-depth integration between the Tibet Autonomous Region and other regions of China, which is testament to China’s cultural diversity. As a region with abundant cultural relics, Tibet has made remarkable progress in the protection and utilization of cultural relics over the years, contributing to the long-term stability and high-quality development in the autonomous region while playing a vital role in fostering a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation.
Yang Xun noted that Chinese culture is the aggregate of various ethnic cultures and serves as the shared cultural home for people of all ethnic groups. Through the study of cultural relics, “Auspicious Beginnings: Joint Exhibition of Artefacts from the Palace Museum and Tibet” tells inspiring stories of interaction, exchange, and integration between Tibet and other parts of China, and serves as a vital testimony to the joint efforts of multiple ethnic groups in building the shared cultural home for the Chinese nation. He said that Glorious Sun Group’s dedication to the preservation and inheritance of Chinese culture had helped bolster confidence in culture, and its support of this exhibition was both a necessary and essential measure to make good on this commitment.
“Auspicious Beginnings: Joint Exhibition of Artefacts from the Palace Museum and Tibet” is divided into three sections: “Flower-filled Roads: Communications with Tibet,” “Flourishing Flora: Identity and Belonging,” and “Glorious Fruition: Monuments to Inter-ethnic Cultural Dialogue.” The “flowers” serve to highlight integration between Tibet and other parts of China. The exhibition features a total of 108 artifacts, including 13 items (sets) from subordinate institutions of the Cultural Relics Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region and the Administrative Committee of Sakya Monastery, and 95 from the Palace Museum. In addition to well-known paintings and calligraphy, such as “Emperor Taizong Receiving the Tibetan Envoy” by Yan Liben from the Tang dynasty and “Stele for Danba the Emperor’s Teacher” by Zhao Mengfu from the Yuan dynasty, there are also many cultural relics that are being displayed to the public for the first time, including the Manchu Buddhist canon from the Palace Museum, a portrait of Emperor Yongle from the Potala Palace in Lhasa and a thangka depicting the first meeting between Kublai Khan and Phagspa from Sakya Monastery. These exhibits fully demonstrate the diversity and artistic charm of Tibetan cultural relics.
For the needs of cultural heritage protection and according to routines, all original paintings and calligraphic works from the Song and Yuan dynasties and earlier periods in the exhibition will be replaced with replicas after one month of display.