Treasure Halls In The Palace Museum
Before seeing the artifacts in the treasure halls you may enjoy the two pinus bungeanes(white bark pines) in the courtyard. They lose their barks all the year round but not their leaves. There are three treasure rooms, one behind the other. There is a splendid array of works of art on display.
There are more than 440 cultural relics on display, of which nearly 210 relics are new exhibits in the Treasure Hall of the Forbidden City.These cultural relics have demonstrated the great intelligence of the laboring people of ancient China. Many rare treasures have been housed in the Forbidden City.
Here you see a jade assemblage in the showcase. It was a birthday gift for the dowager empress Cixi from her ministers. A mint of money was spent on her 60th birthday celebration when China was suffering from the tragic defeat in the Sino-japanese War of 1894-95 launched by Japanese imperialism to annex Korea and invade China.
The jade jar means that may the emperors happiness was as the eastern sea. The jade mountain means that may the emperor’s age was as the southern mountain(said as birthday congratulations to an elderly person).In the eastern room you will find pavilions,towers and pagodas made of gold, inlaid with precious stones.They were gifts for the concubines.The emperor had many wives,so after be died many of the young women became widows. With nothing to do, they prayed for long life. They were all very particular about the decorations of their own altars.
Here you can see the seven treasures: namely, gold, silver, jade, pearl,seashell, diamond, jadeite: and the eight magic weapons of wheel, spiral shell,umbrella,lid. lotus flower, jar, fish and intestine.They were Buddhist emblems usually found in the lama temples.
The Qianlong emperor wore the dragon robe when he gave an audience.It was woven with peacock feathers adorned with pearls and coral beads.
This is an armour worn by the emperor when he reviewed the military parade. It weighs more than 15 kilogrammes. The hairpins were for the empresses and concubines. There are the imperial beads and pearls worn by the emperor on big occasions. They originated from the Songhua River in Heilong -jiang Province.
Here is a woven ivory mat. The tusk was peeled into thin strips, and it is then softened in some kind of chemical agents before weaving. It is a pity that the method of making was lost!The tusks were gifts from Burma (former name for Myanmar).They are two metres long and weigh 50 kilogrammes each.Yu the Great “of the Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BC) led the people in their efforts to harness the Yellow River. It was mined at Hotan in Xinjiang,northwest China and weighs more than 5,300 kilogrammes.The carving has a height of 224 centimetres and a width of 96 centimetres. It was transported all the way to Beijing for more than 3 years and then shipped to Yangzhou for 3 months for carving and then shipped back to Beijing again for 3 months.Mining, transportation and carving (6 years) took ten years altogether between 1778/1788. It is indeed the most significant masterpiece of the ancient Chinese jade art, and it is the largest one in the world. Countless number of people were involved in mining, transport,shipping designing and carving .During the reign of Qianlong emperor 3, 000 people were involved each year to mine 15,000 kilogrammes of jade for the court. In ancient China, jade was the symbol moral standards of the Chinese people.
These are milk containers. The Manchu drank a lot of milk. These hanging screens are made of gold and precious stones.
Others are dinner sets made of gold,silver,jade and crystal. In this showcase is a pair of mythical animals(called luduan used as incense burners and a pair of column-shaped incense burners). They are made of gold.One legend tells that the mythical animal could travel 9,000 kilometer a day and know everything in the world. Usually this kind of incense burner was placed by the side of the throne, and was supposed to be a symbol of the emperor’s intelligence.
Here are 16 gold chimes, weighing totally more than 400 kilograms. Each weighs differently, so it sends out different tone when struck. In 1924 these chimes were taken to Tianjin. After 1949 they were sent back to Beijing and put on display.
this is a 6.8-kilogram gold seal conferred by the Guangxu emperor to his favourite concubine Zhenfei. She was also known as the Pearl Consort. The knob of the seal is shaped like the body of a tortoise and the head and tail of a dragon. This kind of tortoise shaped knob was a standard for imperial concubines.
In ancient China, the tortoise was considered an auspicious animal. The dragon was the symbol of imperial power.
Ruy,a good luck sceptre, was developed from a back scratcher, originated from the Eastern Jin Dynasty(317-420). The sceptre is about half a metre long and made of metal, stone, bone, Jade, coral or lacquer, etc. It was given as a gift and served as a symbol of good wishes for the prosperity and longevity of the recipient. Ruyi means literally”as you wish.”A ruyi is a sceptre designed in the shape of a medicinal fungus.
The portable incense burners. When the emperor went out, four eunuchs carried them walking ahead and another four behind, keeping the air always pleasant to him. These are sacrificial wine vessels and gold bowls.
Here is a gold tower weighing more than 100 kilogrammes. It was used only to keep the fallen hair of the Qianlong emperor’s mother.
This hanging screen is made of gold, showing a cassia tree. The new-born prince had his first bath in this gold basin three days after birth The basin has a phoenix design in the middle. This room was formerly the emperor’s residence.