A landmark exhibition of priceless treasures from the Forbidden City in Beijing opened to the public on Saturday in the National Museum of Scotland.
Among the 78 magnificent objects on display at the exhibition called Forbidden City: Treasures of an Emperor, two thirds of them have never before been seen outside China. This exhibition will only be seen in Edinburgh -- the sole venue world wide for this exhibition.
A sacred gold cup decorated with rubies, sapphires and pearls, an ornate ceremonial suit of armor and a magnificent coronation portrait of Qianlong Emperor of China's Qing Dynasty by the Italian monk Giuseppe Castiglone are just a few of the awful, inspiring items to be seen at this once in a lifetime exhibition.
These great artworks were brought to Scotland exclusively from the Palace Museum, Beijing, formally known as the Forbidden City. The hidden treasures were drawn from the collections of the Qianlong Emperor who ruled China from 1736-1795. Qianlong Emperor, an art collector of tremendous charm and influence, was China's greatest patron of the arts and he had an enormous impact and influence on Chinese cultural history.
The Emperor's personal collections form more than half of the permanent collections of the Palace Museum, the largest and most prestigious museum in China. The period of his 60-year reign is widely recognized as a golden age in China's history.
During the Qianlong reign, China was one of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Emperor loved extensive displays of military and imperial might and this is reflected in some of the impressive court paintings he commissioned.
The exhibition is a startling display of color, opulence and grandeur, expressed through the remarkable skills and artistry of the craftsmen who worked on the priceless collection.
The art collections will be on display until September 15, as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.
(People's Daily July 7, 2002)