US President Donald Trump is paying a state visit to China and his itinerary includes a tour of the Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as the Forbidden City. Let's follow his steps and take a good look at the ancient royal palace.
The Forbidden City, located in the center of Beijing, was the imperial palace of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Its construction started in 1406, and was completed in 1420. The rectangular palace covers an area of some 720,000 square meters. It has a total of 9,999.5 room spaces (an area enclosed by four poles).
In 1925 the Palace Museum was established here. The magnificent architectural complex and the vast holdings of paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and antiquities of the imperial collections make it one of the most prestigious museums in China and the world.
The Hall of Embodied Treasures (Baoyun lou) was built in 1914 after the fall of the Qing Dynasty. It is a Western-style building in the former imperial compound. It was used to store antiques, but now serves as an exhibition hall to give a panoramic introduction to the Forbidden City's history during its years as a museum.
The Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) is the most dignified building in the Forbidden City. Its name reflects the significant sociopolitical ideal of universal harmony under heaven. It sits in the center of the Forbidden City, on the Imperial Way – the remarkable section of the invisible central axis of the city.
The Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghe dian) is located between Taihe dian and Baohe dian, and resembles the corridor that connected the front and rear halls of a grand palace building in ancient times. It followed the architectural form of the ancient "bright hall”. Before presiding over grand ceremonies, the emperor received obeisance from his officials here.
The Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe dian) is the third of the Three Ritual Halls. In the Ming Dynasty, before attending a grand ritual or ceremony, the emperor was brought here to change into ceremonial robes. In the Qing Dynasty, the hall served as the wedding venue for the Shunzhi Emperor, and as a temporary residence for him and his successor, the Kangxi Emperor.
Antique restoration in the Palace Museum is done in the courtyards of Xi San Suo, which used to be the "cold palace" of the Forbidden City. Concubines marginalized in cruel palace conflicts were sent here as if to jail.
The high walls of the Forbidden City make Xi San Suo a silent world in isolation, out of step with the outside world. For most of the restoration masters, their craftsmanship is a lifelong career, and Xi San Suo is their home.
It takes Wang Jin and his student, Qi Haonan — the only two people repairing timepieces in the Palace Museum — eight months to fully restore the gigantic pair of clocks from Emperor Qianlong.
Wang Jin, 56, has been repairing antique timepieces at the Palace Museum for decades.
Pavilion of Cheerful Melodies (Changyin ge), built in the Qianlong Period (1736-96) of the Qing Dynasty, is the largest opera theater in the Forbidden City. It was renovated and newly opened in September this year. Eventually, dramas from the period will be performed here.
The Garden of Established Happiness (Jianfu gong) epitomizes classic Chinese gardening. It was first built in 1742, destroyed in a fire in 1923 and then restored in 1974. A separate project between 2000 and 2005 focused on rebuilding its pavilions. The Studio of Esteemed Excellence (Jingsheng zhai), located in the garden, was a place where Emperor Qianlong used to read books and practice calligraphy.
Five major exhibitions ongoing in the Palace Museum:
Paintings and Calligraphic Works of Zhao Mengfu
Location: Hall of Martial Valor (Wuying dian)
Dates: Sept 9-Dec 5
Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322), who was a Song Dynasty (960-1279) royal, made a controversial move to switch loyalties to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Also, he was an erudite and virtuous scholar renowned for his achievements in literature, calligraphy, and painting. The exhibition features 102 works.
A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains: Blue–green Landscape Paintings from across Chinese History
Location: West Wing Gallery of the Meridian Gate (Wu men)
Dates: Sept 15-Dec 14
A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the only surviving work from painter Wang Ximeng of the Song Dynasty, is one of the most important in China's art history. The 11-meter-long scroll painting is a record of people's lives and the natural scenery of that time. The work, together with 85 others, is on display.
Eternal Abundance from Heaven: Auspicious Deer Artifacts at the Palace Museum
Location: Palace of Eternal Longevity (Yongshou gong)
Dates: Sept 26-Feb 28
Nine sika deer from Chengde Mountain Resort in Hebei province, were recently ushered into the Cining Gong Garden, as part of an exhibition on deer-related cultural relics in the museum. The exhibit features 69 artifacts from the Ming and the Qing dynasties' royal collections, comprising porcelain, cloisonne enamel, furniture and paintings.
Princess Sissi and Hungary: Aristocratic Life in 17th–19th Century Hungary
Location: Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwu men)
Dates: Sept 28-Jan 3
The exhibition includes 149 cultural relics on loan from the Hungarian National Museum. They reflect the life of Queen Elisabeth of Hungary (1837-1898), who was commonly known as Princess Sissi, and the lifestyle of Hungarian aristocrats.
In Europe during that time, Princess Sissi was a legendary beauty. It is said that when she appeared on the street, curious people would flood in to see her, which always caused a traffic jam.
Among these photos, which one do you like best?
Imperial Porcelains from the Reigns of Hongzhi and Zhengde in the Ming Dynasty: A Comparison of Porcelains from the Imperial Kiln Site at Jingdezhen and Imperial Collection of the Palace Museum
Hall for Abstinence (Zhai gong)
Dates: Sept 29-Feb 28
The exhibit is a comparison of porcelain pieces unearthed from the imperial kiln site in present-day Jingdezhen, and the imperial kiln porcelain produced during the Hongzhi (1488-1505) and Zhengde (1506-21) rulers in the Ming Dynasty. It shows some 162 artifacts.
Editor: Bi Nan Copyeditor: Anne Marie Ruisi Executive producer: Feng Minghui Source: The official website and Weibo account of the Palace Museum