Exhibit Information

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Address 1000 Fifth Avenue @82nd Street
New York, NY 10028

Click here for quick directions
Phone Number 212-535-7710

Website http://www.metmuseum.org/

The Emperor’s Private-Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden-City

Opening: 1 FEBRUARY 2011 - Closing: 1 MAY 2011

The Emperor’s Private-Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden-City


When next you visit Beijing & the Forbidden-City—entering through an Historic-Portal, crested with the Portrait of Chairman Mao!—you may well see more of its Treasures than are now on-view at the Met Museum.


But in Beijing, the Tour-Guides are always rushing you along. At the Met, you can linger to savor the artworks now on-view.


These are interestingly-integrated into the Met’s galleries for Chinese Painting & Calligraphy, which surround a Ming-style Garden-Court—designed by the American stage-designer, Ming Cho Lee.


If you saw the film, The Last Emperor—the sad tale of Pu Yi, whom the invading Japanese made the Puppet-Ruler of Manchuria—you may have some idea of the sprawling expanses of the Imperial-Court in the Forbidden-City.


Here’s what the Met has to say—with some editorial-adjustments—about this intriguing new exhibition featuring 90 exquisite objects that once adorned an exclusive-compound in the Forbidden-City:


"When China’s last emperor, Puyi, left the Forbidden-City in 1924, the doors closed on a secluded compound of Pavilions & Gardens deep within the Palace. Filled with exquisite objects personally commissioned by the Qianlong-Emperor, the complex of lavish-buildings & thoughtful-landscaping lay dormant for decades…


"Showcasing sumptuous Murals, Furniture, Architectural-Elements, Buddhist-Icons, & Decorative-Arts—almost all of which have never before been seen publicly—[this show] presents works of art that demonstrate the highest levels of artistic-accomplishment in 18th-century China.


"Highlights of the exhibition will include an imposing portrait of the Qianlong-Emperor, a radiant silk-panel depicting a Buddhist-Shrine, magnificent Thrones, executed with impeccable craftsmanship, & a monumental jade-&-lacquer Screen, consisting of 16 panels.


"Augmenting the objects will be photo-murals of the Qianlong-Garden as well as a video-simulated "walk-through” of the Studio of Exhaustion from Diligent Service [Juanqinzhai], the first building to be fully restored [in this long-neglected complex].


"The Qianlong-Emperor [pronounced chien-lung] was the fourth monarch of the Qing Dynasty [1644-1911], who reigned from 1736 to 1795.


"Built between 1771 & 1776, the Qianlong-Garden was for the Emperor’s intended Retirement. No expense was spared, as the finest-artisans used the highest-quality materials to create intricately-embellished Interior & Exterior Spaces.


"But the Emperor never retired & the garden—relatively untouched since Imperial-Times—remains a virtual Time-Capsule of 18th-century taste at its most extravagant.


"Through the richly-varied works on-view, the exhibition conveys the Emperor’s desire both to integrate Art, Culture, & Nature, as well as to magnify his achievements as a Connoisseur, Scholar, & devout Buddhist.


"In contrast to preceding Qing-Emperors—who had emphasized Simple-Interiors, in keeping with their Nomadic-Manchu-Heritage—the interiors of the Qianlong’s Retirement-Residence were lavish & ornate in the extreme.


"For the Qianlong-Emperor, the garden was a metaphor for his well-ordered Realm. The Manchu Ruler’s ambition to unify all under heaven is evident in his effort to make the garden a microcosm of his Empire, integrating various cultural-influences within the confines of his palace-walls.”


So, there you have it!
<- Back