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Major Events for the 600th Anniversary of the Forbidden City and 95th Anniversary of the Palace Museum

Updated: 2019-12-30 16:00:41


The year 2020 will mark the sixth centennial of the construction of the Forbidden City and the ninety-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Palace Museum, an historic cultural occasion deserving society-wide celebration. The Palace Museum has the mission to promote the legacy of China's outstanding traditional culture, diligently advance the protection, research, and preservation of the world cultural heritage it encompasses, and develop innovative ways to propagate the excellence of traditional Chinese culture.

For this year of grand celebration, the Palace Museum is preparing a brilliant array of cultural activities, including a series of academic conferences, publication of research results, quality exhibitions, social and public activities, film and TV productions focused on the Palace Museum's exceptional culture, and commendations for outstanding members of the museum staff, endearingly known as "Palace Museum People". The events are planned with the aim of emphasizing the Palace Museum's cultural substance and the values of the current age, propagating China's outstanding traditional culture, caring for cultural heritage with the utmost professionalism, nourishing society with culture, and passing on the magnificent Forbidden City in its entirety to the next 600 years.

Academic Conferences
The Forbidden City is the pride of the Chinese people as well as treasured cultural heritage for all humanity. Commemorating the sixth centennial of the Forbidden City's construction and the ninety-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Palace Museum in the form of a series of academic activities has exceptional historical value, cultural significance, and contemporary relevance. As the imperial palace for the Ming (1368–1644) and the Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, it embodies traditional Chinese ideologies of urban planning and palace building. It also witnessed numerous court events of great historical impact. The Palace Museum, installed on this unrivaled site, is distinctive in that it not only hosts and cares for the palatial architectural complex and the imperial collections of the two dynasties but also conducts in-depth research in fields such as historical architecture, museum collections, remains of court history and culture, Ming and the Qing archives, Qing imperial bibliographic collections, and the history of the ninety-five-year-old Palace Museum.

The Palace Museum will organize a series of academic conferences including "Colloquium for the Commemoration of the 600th Anniversary of the Forbidden City and the 95th Anniversary of the Founding of the Palace Museum", the fifth "Taihe Forum on Protecting the World’s Ancient Civilizations", "International Academic Forum on the 600th Anniversary of the Forbidden City and Ming and Qing History Studies in China", and "2020 International Symposium of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) and the Palace Museum on Protection of Historical Architecture". These conferences will explore in depth how the Museum may fulfill its historical responsibility of propagating the excellence of traditional Chinese culture, promoting the protection, research, and legacy of the world cultural heritage under its custody, innovating ways to advance the excellence of traditional Chinese culture, and performing its role in efficiently cultivating core Socialist values and putting them into practice all while laying a solid foundation for protecting and safeguarding the legacies of the Forbidden City for the next 600 years.

Academic research is one of the Palace Museum's core missions while publications of research results propel the constant progress of the Museum's cause in the fields of cultural heritage and museology. In 2020, the Palace Museum will publish a series of works by prominent scholars and experts including Collected Works of Xu Bangda (Xu Bangda ji), Liu Jiuan’s Research Notes on Authenticating Calligraphy and Paintings (Liu Jiuan shuhua jianding yanjiu biji), Diary of Chen Wanli (Chen Wanli riji), and Collected Works of Geng Baochang (Geng Baochang ji), which are all research manuscripts by senior experts among the Museum staff summarizing decades of professional experience and manifesting the research undertakings of a generation of staff and their scholarly refinement and established expertise.

The 2020 publication plan also includes a series of collected research papers such as Collected Works on Researching the Preservation of the Hall of Mental Cultivation (Yangxin dian baohu yanjiu congshu), Hall of Embodied Treasures (Baoyun lou), Studies of the Interior Décor of the Hall of Imperial Peace (Qin'an dian yuanzhuang yanjiu), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Qing Palace (Qinggong tudian), The Way of Forbidden City Architecture (Zijin cheng jianzhu zhi dao), Historical Survey of Manchuria: From Ethnic Folklore to Rites and Regulation (Manzhou cong zusu dao lifa de lishi kaocha), Collected Papers of the Forbidden City Society in China (Volume X, Zhongguo Zijin cheng xuehui lunwen ji), Collected Papers on the Conservation of the Palace Museum Collection (Gugong bowuyuan wenwu xiufu lunwen ji), and Collected Archaeological Papers of the Palace Museum (Volume I, Gugong bowuyuan kaogu wenji).

The Museum will also initiate projects for the publication of Centennial of the Palace Museum (Gugong bowuyuan bainian), Oracle Bones in the Palace Museum Collection (Volume I, Gugong cang jiagu wen, a collaborative project), The Complete Calligraphic and Painted Works of Dong Qichang (Dong Qichang shuhua quanji), The Paintings of the Four Rens in the Palace Museum Collection (Gugong cang si Ren huihua quanji), The Complete Calligraphic Works of Su Shi (Su Dongpo shufa quanji), Past Lives: Ancient Figure Paintings in the Palace Museum Collection (Wangxi shixiang: Gugong bowuyuan cang gudai renwu hua), exhibition catalogue Celebrating the Spring Festival in the Forbidden City (Hesui yingxiang: Zijin cheng li guodanian), exhibition catalogue The Sixth Centennial of the Forbidden City (Zijin cheng jiancheng liubai nian), the youth series I Want to Go to the Palace Museum (Wo yao qu Gugong), and the twelve-volume collectible set The Palace Museum Calendar (Gugong rili).

In this year of grand celebrations, the Palace Museum will curate exhibitions covering a wide range of themes including historical architecture, themed paintings and calligraphy, traditional decorative arts, and Chinese and foreign civilizations with the hope of bringing brand new visitor experiences.

“The Sixth Centennial of the Forbidden City” will introduce the evolution of the site over the past six centuries along more than twenty key points on the timeline and through a number of significant historical events including its construction, renovation, and preservation. The exhibition attests to the architectural complex's role as the quintessential embodiment of palatial building in the perfect combination of art and craftsmanship.



 “Past Lives: Ancient Figure Paintings in the Palace Museum Collection” showcases the development of figure paintings from the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420) to the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) through selected masterpieces from the Palace Museum collection.

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“Man of Infinite Refinement: The Art of Su Shi” highlights the artistic accomplishment and personal integrity of Su Shi (1037–1101) and his influences on generations of literati and artists.


The upgraded Ceramics Gallery will reopen at the Hall of Martial Valor (Wuying dian) and will display 8,000 years of continuous development of Chinese ceramics within the framework of the ceramic history of China. The new gallery will expand the number of works on display from the previous 400 to 1,000 objects.

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“Versailles in China" will be organized on the basis of the 2014 exhibition “China in Versailles: Art and Diplomacy in the Eighteenth Century” held at the Château de Versailles, which comprehensively showcased the historic florescence of cultural and artistic scenes of eighteenth-century China and France by way of exquisite objects from the French court or those brought by missionaries or diplomats to China now in the Palace Museum collection.


(Photo Credit: Château de Versailles)


(Photo Credit: Château de Versailles)

Social and Public Events

During the 2020 summer vacation, the Palace Museum will organize a series of social and public activities including “Operation Oasis: 600 Primary School Students at the Palace Museum", "Memories of the Forbidden City, 600 Years of Literary Tradition: 600 Middle and High School Students from Hongkong and Macao at the Palace Museum", and “The Palace Museum Couplet Calligraphy Contest”, all aimed at sharing the fascination of traditional Chinese culture with the younger generation, broadening their horizons, igniting patriotic feelings, and strengthening cultural confidence.

Film and Television Productions

The year 2020 will also witness the production of the TV series Glory of the Forbidden City (Gugong rumeng), TV documentary The Forbidden City, the third season of There’s Something New in the Palace Museum (Shangxinle Gugong), as well as the large-scale epic drama The Forbidden City (Zijin cheng), which all serve to usher the culture embodied in the Palace Museum into daily life and benefit the general public.


In commemoration of the sixth centennial of the construction of the Forbidden City and the ninety-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Palace Museum, the Palace Museum will commend staff members, known endearingly as "Palace Museum People", with exceptional contributions and reward those who have proved themselves through outstanding performance.

Additionally, the Palace Museum will design a commemorative logo for the sixth centennial of the construction of the Forbidden City and release commemorative banknotes, coins, and stamps.

When organizing these many events, the Palace Museum will uphold the principle of promoting the active participation of the public in cultural events, presenting the celebrations as festivals for the people, manifesting the cultural confidence of the Chinese people, and strengthening the influences of Chinese culture.


(The provisional English titles and other information provided in this preview may be subject to change. Final notices and introductions will be posted around the time of the events.)

Translated and edited by Zhuang Ying, Kang Xiaolu, and Adam J. Ensign

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