For most of the Royal Ontario Museum’s century of existence, Chinese antiquities have been some of its most notable showpieces. From the Ming tomb of General Zu Dashou, which has graced the ROM since the early 1920s, to the museum’s elaborate reconstruction of a Chinese palace, these artifacts have inspired visitors to delve deeper into Asian history.
And so it’s not surprising that the ROM has decided to make China the centrepiece of its centennial year, 2014. “The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors,” announced earlier today, will offer a glimpse into the lives of the residents of Beijing’s imperial compound during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties.
Running from March 8 to September 1, 2014, the exhibition will mix artifacts from the ROM’s collection with 250 pieces from the Palace Museum in Beijing. Around 80 of the items to be displayed have never ventured beyond the Forbidden City. The pieces were chosen by three of the ROM’s curators during a week-long trip into the Palace Museum’s vaults in December 2012. The exhibit will be divided into three sections reflecting the different realms of imperial life: outer court, inner court, and private court.
Throughout a press conference this afternoon, ROM spokespeople stressed that the exhibition will provide patrons with a sense of the cultural relationship between Canada and China, and a better understanding of Chinese history. Beyond drawing visitors, we suspect the show will attract plenty of anti-Chinese-government protestors.
Click through the image gallery for a look at some of the items that will be on display.