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Thursday, 4 July, 2002, 05:13 GMT 06:13 UK
Emperor's treasures to go on display
Exhibit
The exhibition will be open for more than two months
Treasures which have never before been seen outside China are set to go on display in the Scottish capital.

The Royal Museum in Edinburgh is hosting the exhibition of artworks drawn from the collection of the Qianlong Emperor who ruled China from 1736 to 1795.

They are all taken from the Palace Museum in Beijing, which was formerly known as the Forbidden City.


Gold cup

Two thirds of the exhibits - which include a sacred gold cup decorated with rubies, sapphires and pearls and an ornate ceremonial suit of arbour - have never been seen outside China.

The Qianlong Emperor was a great patron of the arts.

He lived in the Forbidden City - so called because the area in the centre of Beijing was hidden behind a 10m high wall and off limits to the public - for his entire adult life.

The seat of imperial power was cut off from the country's population and veiled in mystery and ritual.

A spokesperson for the National Museums of Scotland - which is presenting the one-off exhibition - said China was at its artistic and political peak during the Emperor's rule.

"The emperor's personal collections form more than half the permanent collections of the Palace Museum, the largest and most prestigious museum in China.

'Priceless collection'

"The period of his 60-year reign is widely regarded as a golden age in China's history."

The spokesperson described the exhibition as "a startling display of colour, opulence and grandeur, expressed through the remarkable skills and artistry of the craftsmen who worked on the priceless collection".

The museum will also host an exhibition of one-off cashmere garments commissioned from top contemporary designers and inspired by the exhibition.

Forbidden City: Treasures of an Emperor runs from 6 July to 15 September at the museum.

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 ON THIS STORY
Pauline McLean reports
"Most have never been seen outside China."
See also:

04 Jul 02 | Scotland
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