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Unequalled Under Heaven and First Among Flowers: The Palace Museum Peony Exhibition

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Location:Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi gong), Hall for Abstinence (Zhai gong), Hall of Sincere Solemnity (Chengsu dian)

Dates: 2016-04-12 through 2016-06-12

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Hailed as "king of flowers", the peony has been deeply loved by the people of China for more than a thousand years.     

    At first known for its medicinal properties, by the Tang dynasty (618-907) the peony had already become an object of admiration, viewed by inhabitants of the capital every spring. By the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, many came to see the peony as China’s "national flower". Symbolizing happiness, fortune and wealth, the peony has been a rich theme for painting and craftwork.

    Among themany places where peonies are grown, Luoyang has been the most famous in China and worldwide. The Yongzheng Emperor (r. 1723–1735) of the Qing dynasty declaredthe peonies of Luoyangto be "unequalled under heaven and the first among flowers". This spring, as peonies come into bloom across the country, the Palace Museum has selected peony-related works from its collection and now presents them to you in two parts: paintings and textiles, on display in the Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi Gong), and objects, on display in the Hall for Abstinence (Zhai Gong).

    We hope that you enjoy the Chinese peony culture while bathing in the gentle breeze and admiring the vibrancy of spring.

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