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Opening of the Exhibition The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles: Exchanges Between China and France in the 17th and 18th Centuries, with MOUs Signed Between the Palace Museum and French Institutions
On the afternoon of April 1, 2024, the exhibition The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles: Exchanges Between China and France in the 17th and 18th Centuries opened in the Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua dian) of the Palace Museum. The exhibition is jointly hosted by the Palace Museum and the Palace of Versailles, and sponsored by China Construction Bank, Longfor Group, and Cartier. In April 2023, President Xi Jinping and President Emmanuel Macron announced the joint holding of the Franco-Chinese Year of Cultural Tourism in 2024, which marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. A major aspect of this year’s event, The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles: Exchanges Between China and France in the 17th and 18th Centuries, is about the diplomatic relations and the exchange of art and culture between China and France. About 200 exquisite artifacts from the Palace Museum, the Palace of Versailles, and other institutions showcase the mutual respect, appreciation, and learning that took place in the context of political and cultural exchange between the two nations over the span of a century. The exhibition is open to the public from April 1 to June 30 in the Hall of Literary Brilliance.   In addition, as proposed by the French Embassy in China, the opening of the 2024 Festival Croisements shall coincide with the exhibition. The Festival, inaugurated in 2006, is aimed at promoting exchange and dialogue between Chinese and French art institutions and artists, demonstrating innovation and vitality in the art of the two nations, and boosting the two peoples’ friendship and understanding of each other’s culture. After 18 years, the Festival has evolved into a major platform for cultural exchange. The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles formally launched the Festival Croisements in Beijing. The Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Versailles and the China National Traditional Orchestra performed together at the opening ceremony. The former is the official orchestra of the Palace of Versailles, where they put on several hundred concerts and other music-related events each year, including performances for royalty, important guests, and leaders from other nations. The China National Traditional Orchestra, an ensemble under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is the largest and most instrumentally complete Chinese traditional orchestra in the world, and owes the only professional Chinese traditional chorus in the country. The Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Versailles performed the Versailles Court Opera Medley of Select Pieces and excerpts from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Afterwards, the China National Traditional Orchestra performed Impression of Beijing. As for the final piece, Zhao Cong, head of the China National Traditional Orchestra, took the stage and performed Impression of a Rose with the French orchestra’s percussionists. With this splendid feast for the ears, the two orchestras jointly promoted the cultural exchange between China and France. Before the opening ceremony, the press conference for the exhibition was held at the Archery Pavilion of the Palace Museum. Mr. Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, Mr. Christophe Leribault, president of the Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles, Mr. Li Yun, executive vice president of China Construction Bank, Ms. Song Yao, senior vice president of Longfor Group, and Mr. Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s director of image, style and heritage, attended and addressed the press conference. The opening of the exhibition also marks a new beginning for exchanges and cooperation between the Palace Museum and French institutions. During the ceremony, the Palace Museum signed strategic cooperation agreements with the Palace of Versailles and the Guimet Museum. During the press conference, the Palace Museum and Cartier also signed a cooperation agreement. The Palace Museum and the above three institutions all enjoy good partnership and broad prospects for cooperation. Through the signing of the documents, they jointly confirmed their intention to continue to promote exchanges and cooperation in the future. In 2004 and 2005, the Palace of Versailles and the Palace Museum jointly held the exhibition Emperor Kangxi and the Sun King Louis XIV. To mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-French diplomatic relations, in 2014, the Palace of Versailles held the exhibition La Chine à Versailles: Art et diplomatie au XVIIIe siècle. Highly popular among the public, these events established a strong foundation for exchange between the two institutions. This exhibition The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles: Exchanges Between China and France in the 17th and 18th Centuries is divided into three sections. The first is “The Encounter of the Dragon and the Fleur-de-lis.” The dragon is a unique creation of Chinese culture and symbol of the Chinese spirit while the fleur-de-lis is a symbol of the French royal family. These two symbols first encountered each other in 1688, when the French King Louis XIV dispatched some of his mathematicians to Beijing, who were received by the Kangxi Emperor and were instrumental in initiating official political and cultural exchanges between the two nations. Back then, the interaction between China and France was characterized by a high level of attention from both courts, exchanges in the realms of science and art, and the service of Jesuit missionaries in the Qing court as a bridge of communication. The transmission of Chinese classics contributed to the birth of modern sinology in France. The second section, “The French Landscape in the Forbidden City,” is divided into the sub-sections of “Gifts and Commissions” and “Convergence and Innovation.” The Qing court collection features a rich variety of objects from France, which were either gifts and merchandise from the interaction between the two countries, or contributions from missionaries. With the deepening of bilateral relations, the Qing court began to commission objects from the West. The Qing court had many pieces that exhibit the influence of French craftsmanship and French cultural imprints. The profound, fascinating cultures of China and France interacted closely within the Forbidden City, inspiring rich creativity and innovation. The third section, “Chinese Vogue at the Versailles,” is also divided into two sub-sections: “Collection and Adaptation” and “Imitation and Inspiration.” With the deepening of exchanges between the East and the West, numerous goods from China, adored by the French royal family and political leaders, were brought to Europe. Meanwhile, French dealers decorated and remodeled Chinese imports to better suit the tastes of the French. Chinese culture has greatly influenced French art styles, with the replication of Chinese porcelain playing a significant role in the development of French Chinoiserie art. China thus became a wellspring of inspiration for French artists and intellectuals, with the latter incorporating many Chinese elements in numerous areas of their work. The period from the latter half of the 17th century to the 18th century was a golden age of cultural and court exchange between China and France, which was also when the French royal family and court expressed the greatest interest in Chinese culture. A massive quantity of Chinese craftwork and books made their way into the collections of the French court and nobility, leading to a wave of Chinoiserie art creation that initiated at the Versailles and rippled across Europe. The French court possessed a multitude of objects from China and French-manufactured Chinoiserie art, which are now important pieces of evidence for understanding this period of Sino-French relations and art exchanges. Similarly, far away in China, after King Louis XIV sent his Jesuit “king’s mathematicians” to China, numerous other French Jesuits followed in their footsteps, many of whom remained in long-term service in China, exerting an important influence on the Qing court in the realms of science, art, architecture, medicine, and cartography up through the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. This exhibition looks at this fascinating century of Sino-French exchange. China and France, though separated by tens of thousands of kilometers, spent an extensive amount of time trying to understand each other and engaging in cultural exchange. Their mutual attraction during that period has remained solidly rooted within unforgettable memories and served as an outstanding example of exchanges and mutual learning among world civilizations. The exhibition may be visited with a general admission ticket to the Palace Museum. Visitors can book admission tickets and pick visiting dates viathe museum’s ticketing website. 
Palace Museum, DingTalk sign strategic cooperation agreement
A signing ceremony for the strategic cooperation agreement between the Palace Museum and DingTalk (China) Information Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “DingTalk”) was held Monday in the Studio of Esteemed Excellence (Jingsheng zhai) at the Palace Museum’s Palace of Established Happiness (Jianfu gong). Luo Xianliang, deputy secretary of the Party Committee and deputy director of the Palace Museum, presided over the event. Zhu Hongwen, deputy director of the Palace Museum, and Yang Meng, president of Global Business of DingTalk, signed the agreement on behalf of both parties. The agreement was signed under the witness of leaders including Wang Xudong, a member of the Party Leadership Group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and director of the Palace Museum, and Ye Jun, president of DingTalk. The strategic cooperation between the Palace Museum and DingTalk began in 2022. Over the past two years, both parties have worked together to combine the Palace Museum’s expertise in the cultural and museum industry with DingTalk’s strength in the sector of mobile office. Together, they have developed a digital office platform tailored for the Palace Museum, advanced the “Digital Palace Museum” initiative and promoted digital innovation in the cultural sector’s management models. In this renewed partnership, both parties will leverage their respective advantages to deepen cooperation in areas such as administrative efficiency, digital business management, AI development, and youth cultural education. By utilizing DingTalk’s various features, including YiDa, its customized platform, its smart meeting solutions, which combine both software and hardware, and its knowledge repository, they aim to streamline approval workflow and enhance efficiency. Based on large-scale AI models, they will collaborate on developing and applying AI technology tailored for the culture and museum sector. Leveraging the Palace Museum’s expertise in youth education and DingTalk’s popularity among young users, they plan precision cooperation spanning content delivery and channel engagement, and will explore innovative ways to empower the cultural sector with technology. Lou Wei, executive deputy director of the Palace Museum, noted that DingTalk is a leader in the field of intelligent mobile office platforms. He noted that the Palace Museum’s collaboration with DingTalk over the past two years has yielded tangible benefits, notably enhancing administrative efficiency through the systematic development of the mobile office platform. Looking ahead, he hopes that both parties will fully leverage their respective advantages and delve into pioneering areas where culture and innovation converge. The Palace Museum plans to work with more partners dedicated to the cultural and museum sector and promote its high-quality development, Lou said. Ye Jun highlighted the role of the cultural and museum sector in upholding fine traditional Chinese culture, with museums serving as essential spaces for the protection and promotion of human civilization. DingTalk, as an intelligent mobile office platform, aims to leverage its user base and industry cases to support the cultural and museum sector’s digital transformation. In the era of intelligence, DingTalk seeks to share its expertise in digital management with partners in the cultural and museum sector, helping them enhance their digital capabilities. Through this collaboration, both parties aspire to advance the integration of culture and technology, driving innovation in frontier areas like AI. They aim to strengthen technological development and promote the renewal of fine traditional culture to usher in a new chapter in the integrated development of culture and technology.
Notice on the Extension of the “AlUla, Wonder of Arabia” Exhibition
To allow more visitors to appreciate the precious archaeological findings and rich cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia, the “AlUla, Wonder of Arabia” exhibition, which was originally set to end on March 22, has been extended until April 11. Visitors can access the exhibition with an admission ticket to the Palace Museum. Real-name reservations can be made via the Palace Museum’s official WeChat mini program.   The Palace Museum March 22, 2024
Notice on the Opening Hours of the Palace Museum During the 2024 Spring Festival Holiday
During the 2024 Spring Festival holiday, the opening hours of the Palace Museum are as follows: Closed on February 9th (Chinese New Year’s Eve). Open daily from February 10th to 17th (the first day to the eighth day of the first lunar month) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, with the last entry at 3:30 pm.                       The Palace Museum                        January 26th, 2024
Palace Museum kicks off 2024 with three major exhibitions
“Historic Encounters: Interaction Between China and West Asia,” “The Glory of Ancient Persia,” and “Al Ula, Wonder of Arabia” Navigate the course of civilizational progress through exchanges and mutual learning
Palace Museum holds ‘AlUla, Wonder of Arabia’ exhibition
The “AlUla, Wonder of Arabia” exhibition opened at the West Wing of the Tower Gallery, Meridian Gate (Wu men) on January 6, and will run through March 22. Co-organized by the Royal Commission for AlUla and the Palace Museum, with support from the French Agency for AlUla Development, the exhibition features over 230 exhibits that immerse visitors in the grandeur of AlUla’s desert landscapes, river valleys, and oases, alongside its rich historical and cultural legacy. On the morning of January 5, the exhibition’s opening ceremony was held at the West Wing of the Tower Gallery in the Meridian Gate (Wu men) of the Palace Museum. The ceremony was presided over by Wang Yuegong, deputy director of the Palace Museum. Abdulrahman Altrairi, chief of communications and PR of the Royal Commission for AlUla, Simond de Galbert, first counselor at the French Embassy in China, and Lou Wei, executive deputy director of the Palace Museum, delivered speeches. The exhibition was officially opened by Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, Xie Bing, deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, Abdulrahman Altrairi, and Simond de Galbert. Guests included Ambassador Li Lianhe from the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xie Bing, deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, Xu Rong, deputy director of the Bureau of International Exchange and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Du Haijiang, Party secretary and deputy director of the Palace Museum. Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Palestine, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait, as well as the French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, representatives from the Royal Commission for AlUla and the French Agency for AlUla Development, and representatives from museums and the cultural circle in Beijing, also attended the opening ceremony. China and Saudi Arabia sit at opposite ends of Asia. For a long time, West Asian civilization and East Asia civilization have played significant roles in shaping the world. The Silk Road, which connected Asia, Africa, and Europe, was forged by the combined efforts of the people of East Asia and West Asia, facilitating cultural exchanges across the region and even between Asia, Africa and Europe. The exhibition “AlUla, Wonder of Arabia” tells the 7,000-year-old story of human settlement in AlUla, a city in the northwest of Saudi Arabia. Located 1,100 kilometers northwest of the capital city Riyadh, AlUla is a valley oasis in a vast desert. Its abundant water resources and extensive farmlands made it a haven for human life. AlUla was not only an important stop on the Arabian Peninsula’s Spice Route but also a key passage for pilgrims traveling to Mecca and Medina. The site contains numerous archaeological sites dating back to 5200 BC, including the Neolithic period’s Mustatil, a rectangular structure, the ancient kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan of northern Arabia, the city of Hegra during the Nabataean Kingdom and the Roman empire period, the Umayyad site of Qurh, and the old town of AlUla. Today, AlUla remains vibrant and open to visitors worldwide. The exhibition is divided into four sections: “From Prehistory to the Bronze Age,” “Northern Arabian Kingdoms,” “Script and Language,” and “Modern AlUla,” illustrating how humans have adapted and transformed this harsh environment to create wonders. The Palace Museum’s mission is to foster cross-cultural understanding and dialogue by showcasing ancient cultures and histories. This exhibition allows Chinese people and visitors from around the world to learn more about Saudi Arabia, strengthening friendship between the two nations. It also contributes to promoting the Belt and Road Initiative and building a global community of shared future.
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