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National treasure 'Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival' to highlight Palace Museum’s 600th anniversary


China's Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, will hold a series of exhibitions featuring famous cultural relics as the former imperial compound turns 600 next year.

Shan Jixiang, the museum's curator, said Monday that the museum will exhibit some of its finest collections starting from the second half of this year, including the famous painting "Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival", the masterpiece by artist Zhang Zeduan from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).

Exhibitions ranging from history, calligraphy and painting artworks, imperial life, to festival customs, foreign civilization, archaeological discoveries will be held, displaying the endless charm embodied in the 600-year-old Forbidden City and the 95-year-old Palace Museum. The series of exhibitions will last until the end of 2020.

Timeline of major exhibitions

September 2019

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China, the Palace Museum will run a special exhibition themed on ancient China's flower and plants, artifacts featuring the museum's ornamental plant relics, relevant paintings, utensils, embroidery, books will meet the public. Plants' natural, artistic and cultural properties will be fully displayed in the exhibition.

November 2019

In November, porcelain from the Hongwu, Yongle, and Xuande Reigns will be exhibited to present the craft skills in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Visitors can take a peek of the porcelain reserved for imperial use.

May 2020

An exhibition centering on The Night Revels of Han Xizai will be rolled out in May to allow visitors to see the world of the Five Dynasties period (906-960) through the eyes of the reported painter Gu Hongzhong, while at the same time displaying the development process of figure painting in ancient China.

September 2020

The acclaimed painting "Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival", which vividly depicts the lives of people from all walks of life in the then prosperous capital Bianliang, today's Kaifeng in Central China's Henan province, will be unveiled in September next year, together with a good number of other ancient genre paintings.

December 2020

Over 500 selected porcelain works and related relics from the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Reigns is planned to be showcased to the public at the end of the year 2020. The exhibits are all carefully chosen and are typical of the historical period they belong to. It is noteworthy that the artifacts would be placed in an atmosphere that is consistent with the historical background, aiming to offer visitors an authentic experience.

Thematic exhibitions on foreign culture

Moreover, several exhibitions featuring foreign artifacts will be staged this year at the Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwumen), which has long served as an important venue for foreign thematic exhibitions. An exhibition in May will display some artifacts from the Vatican Museum, including some Chinese relics collected by the Vatican.

In August this year, an exhibition of former czars' garments, photos, royal files and daily-use objects will be lent by Russia to the Palace Museum. It will be the first exhibition of such artifacts outside Russia.

Going out

In order to promote Chinese culture and facilitate cultural exchanges, the Palace Museum has also announced plans to stage exhibitions abroad. Here are the details:

March 2019

Theme: The flourishing age of the reign of Qianlong Emperor in 18th century

Venue: Moscow Kremlin Museums, Russia

Theme: The art and life of the Empress of Qing Dynasty

Venue: Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA

December 2019

Theme: Restoration of cultural relics in the Palace Museum

Venue: Hong Kong Science Museum

Theme: The Forbidden City and Maritime Silk Road

Venue: The Macao Museum of Art

March 2020

Theme: Special exhibition on watches and clocks collection of the Palace Museum

Venue: The United Kingdom

May 2020

Theme: Exploring China's Ming Dynasty through two Emperors

Venue: The Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore

China Daily

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