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, among which — 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.
The Moscow Kremlin Museums have launched a theme-based satellite site about the exhibition forbiddencity.kreml.ru
The catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition 'Treasures from the Palace Museum: The Flourishing of China in the 18th Century' (March-May 2019). It examines the history of the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) during its flowering period; it is dedicated mainly to the Qianlong Emperor (1736-1796), one of the most famous rulers in the history of China. The book is dvided into three sections and includes descriptions of one hundred sixty pieces of art from the collection of the Beijing Imperial Palace (Gugong). The description of the exhibits is preceded by the entries written by the specialists of the Palace Museum. The catalogue is of interest to both specialists and a wide audience of amateurs of Chinese culture. The edition is available at the exhibition hall of the Assumption Belfry, museum shops at the Aleksandrovsky Sad, Armoury Chamber and the shop opposite the Patriarch's Palace. Price - 2000 RUB.
TREASURES FROM THE PALACE MUSEUM
THE FLOURISHING OF CHINA IN THE XVIII CENTURY
- "Treasures from the Palace Museum: The Flourishing of China in the 18th Century" exhibition trailer
- The Qianlong Era
- "Treasures from the Palace Museum" exhibition. News on culture 14.03.2019
- Treasures of Chinese Emperors in the Moscow Kremlin. News, 14.03.2019
- Treasures of the Manchurian Qianlong Emperor. News, 14.03.2019
- Collection of the Beijing Palace Museum Gugong on display in the Moscow Kremlin. News on culture 14.03.19
- "Nabludatel" TV program. Moscow, 14.03.2019
- "Main Role." Elena Gagarina. Moscow, 13.03.2019
"It is a great honour to take part in organizing such a significant cultural event. This exhibition provides a perfect opportunity to get to know the richest culture of China better, to see unique art pieces of the 18th century, to learn about the rituals and everyday life of Chinese imperial court. In return, the Palace Museum (Gugong) will host an exhibition presenting items from Russia, those that were used during coronation ceremonies of Russian monarchs. Such cultural projects are immensely important, as they strengthen contacts between Russia and China and bring the nations closer together. I am sure that in the coming years Russian-Chinese partnership in different spheres—cultural, business, etc will only grow and become stronger".
“Congratulations to the Kremlin Museums on a fascinating exhibition. In recent years, political and cultural contacts between Russia and China are on an immensely high level. The programs that we realize as part of our cultural cooperation are a serious contribution to world culture. There have already been many exhibitions in China and Russia, but this project stands distinctive. Many of the objects from Beijing were brought to the Moscow Kremlin Museums for the first time. I expect that this display will touch the feelings of both visitors and specialists”.
“The display we open today is unprecedented. I think that current exhibition at the Moscow Kremlin Museums deserves attention of everyone who knows at least a little about the Qing dynasty. The Qianlong Emperor reigned over China for 64 years—during these years the population increased threefold. He was concerned with each item of imperial daily life, which was made made during his era. Therefore, all the pieced presented here were made with the Emperor’s personal contribution—and that makes a very special, sacred sense. The Qianlong era was indeed the time of high culture of the Late Qing dynasty. No wonder that this display is organized in the Moscow Kremlin Museums, in the centre of Russian culture of Muscovy. I expect the exhibition that is to be held in Gugong in August will be of the same significant importance. Projects of such value can be realized only when the countries have mutual trust, as the refined rarities that go on loan abroad, are of a colossal importance for national consciousness, culture and statehood. This exhibition means that China and Russia are certainly in the period of outstanding relations, which is marked by strong confidence and friendship”.
“This is the top-class exhibition. 2019 marks the 70th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and China. And I must say that this display is an essential part of the events timed to coincide with this great jubilee. On the part of the People's Republic of China to Russia, I express deep gratitude to the General Director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums and the stuff of the Museum. We highly appreciate Russia's contributing to cooperation in the humanitarian sphere. The Beijing Palace Museum (Gugong) will host a unique and unprecedented exhibition from the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, and I am sure that the display will attract much attention of Chinese visitors”.
“Russia and China are huge countries with a very long history of cultural relations and rich cultural traditions. The 18th-century China represented a vast country having political stability, economic prosperity and the heyday of culture. That prosperous era is also called ‘the golden age’—from the time of reign of the Kangxi Emperor to the Qianlong Emperor. The last was one of the most eminent rulers in the history of China; therefore this exhibition focuses on his achievements. His reign is marked by military success and achievements in politics; besides, he contributed to one of the greatest cultural projects—creation of the entire set of books under four sections. That was a huge project—it took thirteen years to compile over eighty thousand volumes of various works. Our display introduces visitors to the period of prosperity and flourishing in Chinese history. And I trust that by means of these art pieces one will gain greater insight into the Qianlong Era and the Emperor himself”.
“Some exhibitions are so beautiful, that it is somewhat difficult to comment on them. With a sinking heart, I stood in front of Buddhist statues of Guanyin and Tara. In the Exhibition hall of the Assumption Belfry, one can see glorious Imperial robes, adorable porcelain, and amazing furniture. I feel admiration for such high-class pieces of art. They make one want to bow to the people who made them a long time ago, and to the members of the Palace Museum who preserve these objects, and to the colleagues from the Moscow Kremlin Museums who made this exciting display”.
“It’s a very exquisite, profound, even aesthete exhibition. How else can one define a canvas illustrating the young Emperor in his leisure hours, when there is a list of paper in front of him, ink, brush, and of all the decorations—next to him there is only a modest vase with the depiction of one flowering plum branch. There are no signs of Imperial power, no luxuries; all the luxury is in the possibility to launch into the creation and to appreciate simplicity. I think that’s the point of the display. Here, I discovered many things I like—carved gemstones, jade, wonderful Imperial seals, caskets for preserving those seals, vases and very beautiful clothes. There is a portrait of the Emperor in the Imperial cap, wearing the necklace—and here they are, showcased by the portrait. It is certainly exciting and fascinating”.
“It’s a magnificent exhibition! Very significant articles of that amazing period comprise this display. It’s a rare opportunity to familiarize with the best specimens of painting, graphics and decorative arts, accessories, arms, objects surrounding the Emperor and high officials. I was impressed at the way of presenting Chinese – European cooperation of that time. That line is defined by the items that were for sure inspired by European makers, but clearly authentic at the same time. I’d like to congratulate my colleagues and mention that cooperation with the museums abroad is always an experiment, but in this current case, we feel coincidence, synergy and union of museum workers. Wonderful, fascinating display!”