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Location: The Palace of Celestial Favour (Chengqian gong), The Palace of Eternal Peace (Yonghe gong)
East of the Forbidden City’s three rear halls lie the Palace of Celestial Favour (Chengqian gong) and the Palace of Eternal Peace (Yonghe gong). These magnificent structures are located among a cluster of small courtyards that served as the living quarters of the imperial family during the Qing dynasty. Collectively called the Bronze Gallery, they are now open to the public. Situated on opposite sides of a paved corridor, the two halls were both built in the early Ming dynasty (1368-1644). After hundreds of years, the architecture preserves the original Ming dynasty style in spite of repairs made during the succeeding Qing dynasty (1644-1911).
The historic nature of the halls provides a fitting setting for the Museum’s bronzes. The Palace Museum has one of the largest bronze collections in China. More than 15,000 bronzes belong to the collection. Two thirds of these pieces date to the pre-Qin period (before 221 BCE). Currently on show is a fine selection of ritual bronze vessels from the Shang and Zhou dynasties (16th-3rd centuries BCE). These ancient works display the technological sophistication of early metal casting. Furthermore, the early forms of Chinese characters cast into the vessels demonstrate the important governmental functions the vessels served in ancient Chinese society. Additionally, the gallery exhibits many ink rubbings of the archaic inscriptions on the vessels.
Admission to the Bronze Gallery is free with the purchase of a general admission ticket.