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In Praise of the Four Seasons: Photographs of the Palace Museum in China and Japanese Ikebana


Location:Japan-China Friendship Center Art Museum

Dates: 2022-03-01 through 2022-04-17

On 1 March 2022, the exhibition “In Praise of the Four Seasons: Photographs of the Palace Museum in China and Japanese Ikebana” jointly organized by the Palace Museum, Japan-China Friendship Center, and Ikenobo Ikebana Society of Floral Art opened at the Japan-China Friendship Center Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.

The exhibition, featuring sixty-seven works of photographic art and one film, presents the vitality of the Forbidden City through the lens of the Palace Museum’s photographers. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, weekly arranged displays of Japanese ikebana (i.e., floral art) will be displayed alongside the photographs in a marvelous fusion of traditional Chinese and Japanese arts.


The overall theme of the exhibition’s photography is the beauty of the four seasons, which provide a natural division for the exhibition’s four sections. Each section is further divided into three subsections to represent the twelve months of the Chinese lunar calendar. Wintry scenes, the season of blossoms, the moon, animals, and other subject matter are found throughout a sequential display of the Palace Museum’s architecture. The exhibition leads visitors on a journey through snow in early spring, warming temperatures, blossoming trees, rains in the heat of summer, the light of the autumn moon, and snow against a backdrop of the Forbidden City’s crimson walls in a demonstration of the traditional Chinese concept of auspicious snow in an abundant year. As such, the exhibition opens and closes with wintry scenes in a celebration of the retreating of winter and burgeoning of spring.



During the opening ceremony, Director Wang Xudong of the Palace Museum shared thoughts by way of video. He noted how each of the Museum’s endeavors of cultural heritage protection and research is steadily developing, which imbues the Forbidden City with new life. In the future, the Palace Museum along with people of each sector of society will continue to develop the Palace Museum as a leading institution among world museums, a model of world cultural heritage protection, and a pioneer of blending culture and tourism for mutual, civilizational exchange. He expressed the Museum’s desire to uphold the principles of openness, inclusion, and the spirit of mutual success to broadly develop exchange and collaboration with friends in all sectors of Japan. The year 2022 is the fiftieth anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, so, he noted, the Palace Museum hopes the exhibition will be an opportunity to develop and deepen exchange with Japanese people in all walks of life.

Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu

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