Exhibition | Treasures from the Palace Museum: The Flourishing of China

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 3, 2019

From the Moscow Kremlin Museums:

Treasures from the Palace Museum: The Flourishing of China in the 18th Century
Moscow Kremlin Museums, 15 March – 30 May 2019

Portrait of the Qianlong Emperor (Beijing: The Palace Museum).

The Moscow Kremlin Museums present pieces from the collection of the Beijing Palace Museum (Gugong). The display will be dedicated mainly to the Qianlong Emperor (1736–1796), to important milestones in his life, as well as to court ceremonial in the Qing period. This project is the first part of the bilateral cultural initiative between Russia and China. Then, from the 8th of August 2019, the Palace Museum (Gugong) will host an exhibition “Russian Court Ceremony” from the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums

Everyday life and official events at the Qing court were strictly regulated. The most important and solemn ritual was the enthronement of a new emperor, which included numerous elaborated ceremonies. Ten emperors of the Qing dynasty were enthroned at the imperial palace of the Purple Forbidden City. That explains the richness of the exhibits relating to the enthronement, kept at the Palace Museum.

The reign of the Qianlong Emperor—the most famous ruler in the history of China—is marked by military success and achievements in politics, by the spread of Tibetan Buddhism and by a particular attitude of the educated ruler towards ancient cultural heritage. He strictly maintained moral principles of his ancestors, was fond of reading and composing texts, revered rituals and music as traditional features of a civilized state — thus continuing original Chinese spiritual traditions of the Manchurian dynasty.

Being a man of many talents, the Emperor had an exquisite taste and personally controlled the creation of various works of applied art at court. The Qianlong reign can be justly called the ‘golden age’ of culture in Late Imperial China. An exceptional situation occurred at the Qing court—after sixty years of reigning, the Qianlong Emperor abdicated, and his son the Jiaqing Emperor ascended the throne, but the decisions were still made by his father.

There will be over a hundred exhibits on display at the Moscow Kremlin Museums: symbols of power, ceremonial attire of emperors and empresses, decorations for clothing, portraits, paintings, calligraphy, documents, memorial items, including gifts from the Qianlong Emperor to his mother, as well as ceremonial utensils, musical instruments and ritual objects, used during main national ceremonies and daily at court.

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