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‘Inheritances Converge: The 40th Anniversary of the Forbidden City Publishing House Exhibition’ opens at the Hall of Literary Brilliance
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.
Exhibition on guqin culture opens at Palace Museum
An exhibition on guqin culture opened on November 27 at the Palace of Accumulated Purity (Zhongcui gong) of the Palace Museum in Beijing. The guqin, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument, is a celebrated and iconic cultural heritage item of the Chinese nation. The exhibition aims to display this quintessential element of Chinese civilization and nurture inspiration for creative and innovative development of Chinese culture. The exhibition’s opening ceremony was attended by distinguished guests, including Wang Xudong, a member of the Party Leadership Group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and director of the Palace Museum; Du Haijiang, Party secretary and deputy director of the Palace Museum; Zhao Cong, president of the China National Traditional Orchestra; Wang Yuegong, deputy director of the Palace Museum; Luo Xianliang, deputy Party secretary and deputy director of the Palace Museum; Chao Gejin, a member of the Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and folklorist; Yang Zhishui, a researcher at the Institute of Literature of CASS; Mao Peiqi, a professor at Renmin University of China, and other experts and scholars. The opening ceremony was presided over by Wang Yuegong, at which Wang Xudong announced the opening of the exhibition. Du Haijiang and Zhao Cong delivered speeches. Du Haijiang noted the profound historical connection that the Palace Museum has with the guqin. During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the imperial palace of the Forbidden City was filled with the enchanting sounds of the guqin. Notable guqins were also displayed at the Palace Museum. In the nearly 100 years since the Palace Museum was established, the Museum has added guqins and related cultural relics to its collection, including pieces from the National Cultural Heritage Administration, thereby, preserving ancient guqins from the imperial collection. Generations of guqin experts have made significant contributions to the tradition. Guan Pinghu, a renowned guqin master, restored and repaired two Tang Dnasty (618-907) guqins – “Da Sheng Yi Yin Qin” and “Fei Quan Qin”. Zheng Minzhong, a disciple of Guan, has achieved fruitful results in the study of guqin at the Palace Museum. His publication “Classics of the Forbidden City: Guqin in the Collection of The Palace Museum,” was celebrated within the field. In the new era, the Palace Museum remains committed to preserving, restoring, and exhibiting guqins in a way that resonates with contemporary audiences. In 2019, an exhibition on guqin culture was held at the Palace of Accumulated Purity. This year's exhibition marks the second phase and introduces new elements showcasing the rich heritage of the guqin at the Palace Museum. Zhao Cong called the exhibition a significant initiative led by the Palace Museum to preserve and revive the excellent Chinese traditional culture. Both the China National Traditional Orchestra and the Palace Museum share the same vision and goal of preserving and developing Chinese civilization. The two organizations signed a strategic cooperation agreement as early as 2020, and their collaborative musical cultural project, “The Sound of the Palace Museum,” will be unveiled next year. Sun Zhaohua, the chief curator of the exhibition and deputy director of the Institute of Court Opera, explained that the exhibition displays 55 cultural relics from the Palace Museum’s collection, including nine guqins. The Museum’s guqin collection spans pieces from the “Fei Quan Qin” made by the Lei family in the late Tang Dynasty to the “Hai Yue Qing Hui Qin” made in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). The exhibition also features related cultural relics, such as chimes with golden clouds and dragon patterns from the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty, as well as a red agate seal from the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty. These artifacts highlight the function and cultural value of the guqin, which serves both as a musical instrument for national ceremonial music and as a tool for scholars to cultivate their character, express their feelings, and pursue their aspirations. In addition, a special area of the exhibition is dedicated to the Palace Museum’s collection of guqin tablature called “Qiu Hong (Wild Geese in Autumn)” from the early Ming Dynasty. This tablature consists of four volumes, each with a drawing before the tablature, creating a combination of drawings and scores. This precious artifact integrates guqin, calligraphy, painting, seal carving, and court mounting art. The tablature has been transcribed and restored with the help of artists from the China National Traditional Orchestra. A press conference was also held during the opening ceremony. Yang Zhijian, who is the co-curator of the “Qiu Hong” section of the exhibition, gave a live performance based on the tablature. Yang is also a guqin player from the China National Traditional Orchestra and a national first-class performer. The video recording of this musical performance will be played in the exhibition hall throughout the duration of the exhibition. The exhibition is now open to the public at the Palace of Accumulated Purity (Zhongcui gong) of the Palace Museum, starting from November 28.
ICOM-ITC November 2023 Training Workshop concludes
From November 21 to 30, 2023, the ICOM International Training Centre for Museum Studies (ICOM-ITC) successfully hosted its November 2023 Training Workshop at the Palace Museum. As the 14th regular training session organized by ICOM-ITC, the workshop spanned 10 days and focused on the theme “Exhibitions that Matter: Visitors at the Centre of the Experience”. Among the session’s 26 participants were 15 Chinese participants from 15 institutions across eight provinces, municipalities, and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and 11 international participants from 11 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. Notably, Barbados sent a representative to join the workshop for the first time. Leaders attended the event included Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, Luo Wenli,deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, Liu Shuguang, Chair of ICOM-China, Liu Yang, director of the museum and antique department of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, Li Jinguang, secretary-general of the ICOM-China, and Zhu Hongwen, deputy director of the Palace Museum . The closing ceremony of the ICOM-ITC November 2023 Training Workshop During the opening ceremony, Liu Shuguang and Zhu Hongwen delivered speeches. Zhu emphasized the essential role that museums play in preserving historical heritage and celebrating cultural artifacts. She stressed the necessity of conveying these aspects to the public through exhibitions, hoping the workshop would further promote collaboration between Chinese and international museum professionals. Liu highlighted the crucial role of exhibitions as a means for museums to respond to contemporary demands and fulfill social responsibilities. He expects the workshop to contribute to the systematic, standardized development of museum exhibitions. Zhu Hongwen, deputy director of the Palace Museum, delivers a speech. Liu Shuguang, Chair of ICOM-China, delivers a speech. Throughout the workshop, seven experts from China and abroad gave lectures on topics covering exhibition planning, management, display, cooperation, and evaluation. Liu Shuguang provided an overview of contemporary Chinese museum exhibitions, while Liu Wentao, director of the Shanghai World Expo Museum, analyzed the essential elements involved in implementing museum exhibitions. Wang Zilin, director of the Research Development of the Palace Museum, shared insights into the curatorial experience of the exhibition “Mirroring the Heart of Heaven and Earth — Ideals and Images in the Chinese Study.” Lectures by Chinese experts Ricardo Rubiales Garcia Jurado, director of the Light Museum at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), offered insight into the curatorial processes, exhibition support projects, and the principles and practice of evaluation systems. Professor Tilly Blyth from the University of Leicester discussed museum collection display, exhibition planning, narrative, and strategies for building trust in museum practice. Joana Sousa Monteiro, director of the Museum of Lisbon in Portugal, elaborated on partnership in organizing museum exhibitions. Lectures by international experts The Reading Artifacts, one of the workshop’s flagship lessons, was run by Ludovica Antonucci, the Capacity Building Coordinator at the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The lesson featured seven artifacts from the Palace Museum, covering categories such as ceramics, paintings, embroidery, wood carvings, stationery, architectural components, and international artifacts. After observing these artifacts, participants were invited to note information such as dimension, color, and craftsmanship, and then creatively interpret the stories behind them. This workshop also included a presentation session, where each participant shared an exhibition case from their respective museums, aiming to enhance the exchange of experiences and practical insights among participants. Additionally, various interactive teaching methods such as group discussions, case studies, and simulated curation were integrated throughout the workshop, effectively engaging participants and encouraging them to discover and share, thus, creatively exploring the value of the collections, narrating their stories, and ultimately acquiring curatorial skills centered around the visitors’ experience. Reading Artifacts Show and Tell Interactive teaching method In his speech at the closing ceremony of the workshop, Wang Xudong remarked that the event played a crucial role in promoting academic exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations. The Palace Museum adheres to the philosophy of open operation and embracing the world, he said, adding that the ICOM-ITC has become not only a professional and cutting-edge academic exchange platform within China and the Asia-Pacific region, but also a significant initiative implemented by the Palace Museum to promote communication and cooperation among museum personnel from China and abroad. Accordingly, it fosters the mutual exchange of civilizations. All participants were afforded the opportunity to provide feedback on the workshop, and completion certificates were awarded by relevant leaders. Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, delivers a speech. The representative of Chinese participants shares insights gained from the workshop. The representative of international participants shares insights gained from the workshop. Leaders present completion certificates to the participants.  Group photo It’s worth noting that this workshop adhered to the principles of the “Zero Waste in the Forbidden City” project. With support from the Vanke Foundation and in alignment with the UN Green Meeting Guidelines, the workshop incorporated the concept of zero waste and sustainability into various aspects such as accommodation, dining, and education. Participants were encouraged to experience and actively adopt a zero-waste approach throughout the workshop. The “Zero Waste in the Forbidden City” initiative practiced during the workshop The success of this workshop speaks volumes of the collaborative efforts of the Palace Museum, ICOM, and the ICOM-China. Looking ahead, the training center will continue to offer thematic practical training on museum-related topics such as collections, exhibitions, education, and management. With a global vision and through diverse courses and teaching methods, the center aims to create a platform for global museum professionals to communicate and collaborate with each other. This effort seeks to promote exchanges and cooperation among museums in different regions and of different types, contributing to the development of the global museum industry.
The 6th Taihe Forum kicks off at the Palace Museum
The 6th Taihe Forum kicked off Oct. 16 at the Palace Museum in Beijing. Aptly themed “International Exchange, Cooperation and Sharing in Cultural Heritage Conservation,” the forum was organized by the Palace Museum, the Forbidden City Cultural Heritage Conservation Foundation, and the Chinese Society of the Forbidden City. Hu Heping, Chinese minister of culture and tourism, attended the opening ceremony and delivered a speech. Distinguished guests also included Lina Mendoni, minister of culture in Greece; Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum; Evgenios Kalpyris, Greek ambassador to China; Kuziev Tursunali, first deputy director of the Cultural Heritage Agency of Uzbekistan; along with significant representatives from International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, International Council of Museums, International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC), CEN TC 346 Cultural Heritage, and over 200 scholars from cultural institutions, research institutes, standardization bodies, and universities from countries including China, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Portugal. Zhang Huawei, deputy secretary general of China Youth Development Foundation, and Kou Qin, general manager of Guardian Art Center, addressed the ceremony. Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Cultural Heritage Administration, as well as leaders from the organizers, were also present. Lou Wei, executive deputy director of the Palace Museum, presided over the ceremony. The opening ceremony of the 6th Taihe Forum is held at the Palace Museum in Beijing, Oct. 16, 2023. At the opening ceremony, Hu Heping spoke of the significance of cultural relics as societal and cultural carriers that promote mutual learning among civilizations and support the building a global community of shared future. Protecting cultural relics is akin to caring for a nation’s cultural roots; Accordingly, the Chinese government prioritizes protecting and inheriting cultural relics and heritage. With a strong emphasis on protection, and the prioritization of heritage preservation, China is advancing the high-quality development of cultural relics conservation. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Cultural Heritage Administration stand ready to work with all parties on the Global Civilization Initiative and are committed to strengthening the protection, utilization, archaeological exploration, research, exhibition, and promotion of cultural relics. Furthermore, to contribute further to protecting humanity’s cultural heritage, promoting international exchange and cooperation in cultural heritage, and building a global community of shared future, efforts will be made to enhance dialogue and discussion in bilateral cooperation under frameworks and within bodies like UNESCO, ICOMOS, IIC, and the Alliance for Cultural Heritage in Asia, in addition to hosting the Taihe Forum, and implementing the “Taihe Fellowship” program. Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, addresses the opening ceremony of the 6th Taihe Forum and delivers a keynote speech. Wang Xudong noted in his speech that the Taihe Forum was designed to provide a platform for international exchange and cooperation and to create opportunities for future communication and joint construction. As the institutional custodian for its treasure trove of Chinese culture, the Palace Museum is keen to work with cultural heritage professionals on the Global Civilization Initiative, continue to strengthen international exchanges, engage widely in international cooperation, preserve and promote the  cultural heritage of humanity, and proactively advance mutual learning among civilizations for human progress. Following the opening ceremony, Wang Xudong, Lina Mendoni, and John Robbins, chairperson of the Governing Board of International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, delivered keynote speeches concerning “Strengthening International Cooperation and Sharing in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage to Promote Cultural Communication and Exchanges,” “Strengthening the Resilience of Cultural Heritage Sites to the Impacts of Climate Change: Current State, Prospects and Challenges,” and “The Important Role Played by International Organizations in Promoting Cultural Heritage Protection,” respectively. Their presentations reviewed experiences, opportunities, and challenges in cultural heritage preservation, highlighting the importance of international exchanges and cooperation. Lina Mendoni, minister of culture in Greece, delivers a keynote speech at the forum. John Robbins, chairperson of the Governing Board of International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, delivers a keynote speech at the forum. The forum aims to foster exchanges of experience concerning international cooperation projects, academic interactions, talent cultivation, and institutional development across cultural heritage preservation. It seeks to augment awareness regarding the current state and evolving trends in cultural heritage preservation, encourage comparative research on concepts, principles, methods, technologies, and standards, and propel international cooperation, exchanges, and knowledge sharing in this domain. The two-day forum, focusing on the topics “Cultural Heritage Conservation and International Interaction”, “Cultural Heritage Conservation and International Cooperation”, and “Cultural Heritage Conservation and International Sharing,” concluded on Oct. 17. Seventeen domestic and international guests were invited to speak at five academic presentations, approached from the perspectives of institutional building, talent development, and academic achievements. Their discussions revolved around the role of international organizations in promoting cultural heritage preservation, explored bilateral or multilateral international cooperation projects on large-scale cultural heritage preservation, and introduced the significance of international standards, norms, and regulations in cultural relics preservation. Through “dialogue between guests,” the forum discussed topics like “The Role that International Organizations Should Play in Promoting the Development of Cultural Heritage Conservation,” “The Role of Bilateral or Multilateral International Cooperation Projects in Promoting the Conservation of Cultural Heritage”, and “The Growing Trends in Standardization of Cultural Heritage Conservation.” Additionally, participants conducted field visits and exchanged views on the preservation efforts of the Palace Museum and the latest technological advancements. The Taihe Forum, initiated by the Palace Museum in 2016, is an international platform for cooperation and exchange. During the inaugural event, the Palace Museum, participating countries, and relevant international organizations collectively released The Declaration of Supreme Harmony. The document aims to promote the protection and development of human civilization. The forum is committed to studying and discussing the challenges for preserving the cultural heritage of ancient civilizations in the current international environment. It also strives to foster exchanges and cooperation on cultural heritage, while highlighting the enduring significance of ancient civilizations in shaping contemporary human society.
Recent Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquers Workshop Application Announcement
中文版公告 The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) and the Palace Museum are partnering to offer the fifth Recent Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquers workshop, to be hosted at the Palace Museum, Beijing, China, April 18-26, 2024. The workshop will explore newly developed analytical procedures for acquiring detailed compositional information about Asian lacquers, their additives and their European substitutes. During the workshop, conservators and scientists will work together in research teams to study and discuss historic lacquer samples. The workshop itself will be 5 days long (April 22-26), with 2 additional days the week before (April 18-19) to offer training in microscopy for participants who did not receive such training before. This is a unique opportunity for collaboration and discussion of topics such as the compositional variation in lacquered objects made in different geographical areas and time periods, the relevance of analytical research to the conservation and interpretation, and the identification of research priorities and potential collaborations. Workshop Details Objectives To highlight the benefits that collaboration between scientists and conservators can provide. To enhance the understanding of a lacquered surface through the study of its stratigraphy and composition. To demonstrate new analytical protocols and the level of information that can be obtained using these methods. To provide participants with the tools necessary to use these methods, such as a marker compound database and custom data evaluation tools. To identify pressing analytical and conservation issues in the field and priorities for future research. The workshop provides instruction in the following low-tech and high-tech procedures with the aim of identifying traditional and non-traditional materials in Asian lacquers: Visible and fluorescent light microscopic examination of chemically-stained lacquer cross-sections which can provide visual, layer-specific information for a number of organic materials. Precision sample collection of discrete lacquer layers which permits layer-specific compositional information to be obtained. Pyrolysis - gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry with thermally-assisted hydrolysis and methylation (THM-Py-GC/MS), which is a versatile method with excellent limits of detection. A systematic protocol for data analysis and interpretation using AMDIS (Automated Mass spectral Deconvolution and Identification System) and Excel, with a shared marker compound database that permits detection of a broad range of marker compounds even when present at trace levels. The concepts taught in the workshop may also be applied to the study of materials other than lacquer. Eligibility Applicants should be conservators, scientists or conservation scientists. Scientists should have an established record of using Py-GC/MS or GC/MS; familiarity with AMDIS and Excel is helpful. Experience in lacquer analysis is not required, although priority will be given to those with current or future projects involving the analysis of Asian lacquer. Would scientists only have limited experience with Py-GC/MS or GC/MS, there could be a possibility for them to get training by the Palace Museum scientists prior to the workshop (level of experience to be clearly stated in application). Conservators should have experience treating Asian lacquer and be familiar with its properties and production. As part of the application process, each conservator will be asked to propose sample material from a specific lacquered object for potential use in the workshop, based on the following criteria: The object should be of significance within its collection and considered important from the historical and/or technological point of view. The participant should be confident that permission of the owner will be given to take a sample of approximately 2x2mm from the object for destructive analysis. The participant must ensure that permission is granted to present and discuss analytical results acquired during the workshop. A limited number of proposed samples will be accepted for study in the workshop and conservators will be responsible for preparing these samples in advance of the workshop; specific instructions for sampling and documentation of sample will be provided to successful candidates. In the instance where a conservator is not able to provide a sample but has identified a scientist partner who can, the scientist can bring the sample and provide the information requested above for the application. If conservators are not trained in microscopy, their sample can be prepared during the 2 days offered prior to the workshop (April 18-19). In this case, they will prepare over the weekend (April 20-21) the documentation needed to present their sample - and object it comes from - to the group the first day of the workshop (April 22). Application Please download and fill out the application form and submit it before the deadline of November 20th, 2023. [2024 APPLICATION FORM] Scientists and conservators work in research teams of two during the workshop. The application includes a place to identify a potential partner. Priority will be given to proposed partnerships that include one scientist and one conservator.  Ideally, partners will be committed to future collaboration. Proposed partnerships are encouraged but not required to apply.  The final selection of applicants will be made by organizers according to the criteria outlined above. There is no registration fee to attend the workshop but participants are responsible for all expenses associated with the workshop, including travel and lodging. For questions about the workshop or application process, or for additional information, please contact or (English only). Instructors Michael Schilling – Senior Scientist and head of the Organic Materials Research at the GCI, specializing in GC/MS and thermal analysis techniques. Arlen Heginbotham – Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum, specializing in the technical examination of furniture. Nanke Schellmann – independent conservator and researcher at SchellmannConservation in Munich, specializing in the conservation and analysis of mixed media objects and the characterization and treatment of degraded decorative surfaces.
Exhibition on Chinese tea culture opens at Palace Museum
“The World of Tea: Special Exhibition on Tea Culture” opened at the Wu men (the Meridian Gate) Exhibition Hall of the Palace Museum on Friday in Beijing. From September 2 to November 30, 2023, the exhibition welcomes the public to explore a curated collection of tea-related artifacts. Presented by the Palace Museum, an array of tea-related treasures sourced from 30 esteemed cultural institutions and museums, both domestically and internationally, are on display at the exhibition. With an impressive assemblage of 555 cultural relics, encompassing individual pieces and intricate sets, this exhibition illuminates the fascinating journey of Chinese tea civilization. Furthermore, it provides insights into this cultural phenomenon's origins, evolution, and remarkable achievements while emphasizing how tea has acted as a unifying thread connecting diverse regions and fostering the integration of various ethnic groups. The exhibition's opening ceremony was held on Friday at the Baoyun Lou (Hall for Accumulated Treasures) of the Palace Museum. Distinguished guests included Wang Xudong, a member of the Party Leadership Group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and director of the Palace Museum; Rao Quan, a member of the Party Leadership Group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and vice minister of culture and tourism; Guan Qiang, a member of the Party Leadership Group and deputy administrator of the National Cultural Heritage Administration; Shan Jixiang, president of the Chinese Society of Cultural Relics and former director of the Palace Museum; Liu Yuzhu, chairman of the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation; Liu Zhonghua, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a professor at Hunan Agricultural University; Fung Ming Chu, former director of the Taipei Palace Museum; Lin Zhongle, chairman of the Cross-Straits Tea Exchanges Association; and Cheng Pei-kai, former chairman of the Hong Kong Intangible Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee. Representatives from participating exhibitors, officials from cultural and museum departments in Beijing, representatives from societies, associations and foundations, experts and scholars, and leaders of the Palace Museum also attend the opening ceremony. Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum; Sergei Nilov, head of the Department of Russian Culture and History of the Russian State Hermitage Museum; Li Yun, executive vice president of China Construction Bank; and Song Yao, vice president of the Longfor Group and vice chairman of Longfor Foundation, all delivered speeches. Kang Hui, a well-known Chinese TV host, presided over the opening ceremony. In November 2022, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) acknowledged Chinese traditional tea processing techniques and their associated social practices in its intangible cultural heritage list. This noteworthy recognition marks a significant stride in promoting Chinese tea culture and facilitating deeper cross-cultural exchanges and mutual learning. To further these objectives, the Palace Museum has organized "The World of Tea: Special Exhibition on Tea Culture." This exhibition seeks to advance the systematic protection of intangible cultural heritage, stimulate innovative developments in China's rich traditional culture, and fortify the bonds within the Chinese nation while showcasing the allure of Chinese culture on a global scale. Through the medium of this exhibition, the Palace Museum delves into the depths of tea history, explores the intricacies of the tea ceremony, and celebrates the diversity of tea-related activities. Using tea as a conduit, it elucidates the essence of Chinese tea culture, which greatly emphasizes the values of harmony and unity. Tea originated in China and is popular worldwide. Legend has it that the Chinese were already aware of and making use of tea during the era of Shennong (who is considered the first Yan Emperor and an ancestor of the Chinese people). In Zhejiang Province, roots of artificially cultivated tea trees dating back about 6,000 years have been discovered. In Shandong Province, remains of boiled tea leaves dating back about 2,400 years were discovered in ancient tombs from the Warring States Period (476-221 BC), making it the oldest known evidence of tea drinking. Since the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), the tea preparation and drinking methods were diversified, including eating, frying, whisking, boiling, and steeping. Drinking tea has evolved into a cultural activity that sates an aesthetic thirst. The Chinese have combined their thoughts on life, the nation, nature, and the universe with daily practices, forming the essence of tea culture. The widespread embrace of tea within China has acted as a catalyst, promoting interactions among people from diverse regions and ethnic backgrounds who all share a deep affection for this cherished beverage. Furthermore, the global dissemination of tea has acted as a conduit for cultural fusion across the vast expanse of the Eurasian continent. The exhibition delves into tea culture and fully presents the development of Chinese civilization and its interactions with other civilizations, all through the lens of tea as a medium. The exhibition comprises four sections, each illuminating a distinct facet of tea's rich history and cultural significance.The first section explores the origins of tea in China, tracing its development over thousands of years and its pivotal role in politics, economics, and cultural exchanges. On display are cultural relics from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), including preserved tea leaves, export paintings, and combinations of various objects. The second section delves into the essence of the tea ceremony, featuring a collection of notable paintings and calligraphy from the Palace Museum, as well as ancient texts and excavated tea sets. In the third section, the exhibition traces the global spread of tea from China to various parts of the world, highlighting how different cultures adopted and adapted tea culture. Exhibits include exquisite tea sets from the UK, Japan, and Russia, unique tea sets used in the Qing Dynasty court, and foreign-style tea sets produced by the Imperial Workshop of the Qing Dynasty. The fourth and final section discusses the enduring appeal of tea culture, emphasizing its diverse and integral role in people's daily lives across the globe. Rooted in tradition, it showcases tea culture's ongoing development and prospects. The exhibition spans from the Neolithic Age to the present day. It highlights the development and adoption of tea culture over thousands of years, as well as its embodiment of Chinese philosophical ideals such as unity of nature and man and universal harmony. The exhibits include ancient green-tea tree roots unearthed from the Tianluoshan site of the Hemudu culture (about 5000 BC to 4000 BC) in Yuyao, Zhejiang Province, pushing back the timeline of tea planting in China to about 6,000 years ago. Tea bowls and remains of boiled tea leaves were unearthed from a tomb of the Warring States Period in Zoucheng of Shandong Province, making it the oldest known evidence of tea drinking. The exhibition also features unearthed tea leaves from the Han and Song (960-1279) dynasties, along with over 40 pieces or sets of tribute tea (Gong Cha in Chinese) from the Qing Dynasty collected by the Palace Museum. Together, these cultural relics document China’s over 6,000-year history of tea cultivation and utilization. On display for the first time, a complete set of tea wares unearthed from a Tang Dynasty (618-907) tomb in Qujiangzhuang of Changzhi City, Shanxi Province, in 2022 is one of the most recent archaeological discoveries reflecting Tang Dynasty tea culture. The painting Spring Banquet illustrates a gathering of literati around a rectangular banquet table, with tea-related tools such as tea spoons and tea cups on it, offering a snapshot of how Song Dynasty literati enjoyed tea. A painted clay sculpture of the “Tea Sage” Lu Yu, originally displayed in the Emperor Qianlong’s tea room in Chengde Mountain Resort, is also featured. Accompanying this sculpture are tea sets and a statue from the Tang Dynasty unearthed in Gongyi, Henan Province. The statue is believed to be a representation of Lu Yu. From the Tang to the Qing Dynasty, the once-in-a-millennium meeting of two statues of Lu Yu is unprecedented in the history of tea culture. This exhibition features a total of 555 pieces or sets of exhibits, including 227 from representative collections of 30 cultural institutions and museums both domestically and internationally. These collections are sourced from esteemed institutions such as the National Library of China, the National Museum of China, the China National Tea Museum, the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Museum of Ethnic Cultures of Minzu University of China, the Management Center of Ming Tombs in Beijing’s Changping District, the Shanghai Museum, the Tianjin Library, the Museum of Heilongjiang Province, the Hebei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum, the Shaanxi Academy of Archeology, the Famen Temple Museum, the Hanyangling Museum, the Gongyi Museum, the Shandong University Museum, the Changzhi City Cultural Relics Protection Research Center (Changzhi City Archaeological Research Institute), the Xiyang County Cultural Relics Institute (Xiyang County Museum), the Hunan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, the Hunan Museum, the Nanjing Museum, the Guizhou Provincial Museum, the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, the Guangdong Provincial Museum, the Shaowu Museum, the Opium War Museum, the Russian State Hermitage Museum, the British Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Tokyo National Museum and the Idemitsu Museum of Arts in Japan. “The World of Tea: Special Exhibition on Tea Culture” comes with an exhibition catalog. Simultaneously, the Palace Museum's official website will initiate online exhibition tours. Moreover, multiple channels and formats will be adopted to promote the exhibition, including the museum’s official accounts on Weibo, WeChat, and online video platforms. The Palace Museum will sequentially present a series of public academic lectures to facilitate visitors to understand the exhibition. Please stay tuned for lecture announcements on the “The Palace Museum Publicity and Education” official WeChat account. During the exhibition, a tea-related cultural and creative products experience space is open to visitors at the Chonglou (the Lofty Pavilion) in the northeast of Wu men (the Meridian Gate). This unique space is a dedicated area for cultural and creative exploration, highlighting the essence of tea culture within the Forbidden City, with a theme centered around "thousands of feet of snow." By seamlessly integrating elements such as white jade carving, meticulous mortise and tenon craftsmanship, and the iconic red wall color, visitors are invited to fully immerse themselves in the captivating allure of traditional Chinese culture while indulging in a profound tea culture experience. China Construction Bank, as the joint promoter of the exhibition, and Longfor Group, as the public welfare supporter, have collaborated to support the exhibition activities. During the exhibition, the Palace Museum and China Construction Bank will launch the fifth round of new precious metal cultural and creative products – the “Divine Animals of the Forbidden City.” Admission to this exhibition is free with a Palace Museum ticket, and visitors can make real-name reservations through the "Palace Museum" WeChat mini-program.
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