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Back to listMar 29, 2012

Exhibition of Treasures from Palace Museum in Beijing Opens at Tokyo Fuji Art Museum

At the Dubai Knowledge VillageParticipants viewing the court dining table at TFAM

On March 29, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum (TFAM) in Hachioji, Tokyo, opened an exhibition titled "The Palace of Heaven on Earth: Works from the Palace Museum in Beijing," in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China. The exhibition co-organizers are the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum and The Asahi Shimbun.

The opening ceremony was held on March 28 and some 600 guests attended, including representatives from 15 embassies. Following words from TFAM Honorary Director Minoru Harada and Asahi Shimbun Board Director Tadakazu Kimura, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua and the Palace Museum in Beijing Deputy Director Chen Lihua spoke.

Ambassador Cheng shared his personal memory as one of the first Chinese exchange students in Japan during the 1970s at Soka University of Japan and expressed his great expectations for the exhibition to continue deepening ties of friendship between China and Japan.  

"The Palace of Heaven on Earth" exhibition takes as a lens the hidden yet eventful lives of women, including empresses and women of the court, who lived in the Palace Museum in Beijing, once known as the Forbidden City. It is the Museum’s intention that by seeing the palace through the perspective of women, the whole culture, civilization and history can be understood.

The museum is the world's largest palace and was home to 24 successive emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties that ruled China over a span of 550 years from 1368.

The exhibition at TFAM has two parts: "Empresses and concubines of the Imperial Palace," and "Children of the Imperial Palace." Special displays depict nine scenes of the virtues and education of women according to Confucian philosophy. It also features some 200 objects including cultural treasures such as paintings, crafts, clothing and accessories and jewelry from the Palace Museum.

The celebrated work "The Ladies' Book of Filial Piety for Women," an Imperial Palace treasure from the Southern Song dynasty, is being shown outside China for the very first time. The exhibition also includes a recreated dining scene from the Qing Court with tableware used by empresses and concubines such as the Empress Dowager Cixi.

The "Palace of Heaven on Earth" exhibition was originally scheduled to have opened in Tokyo in March 2011, however, due to the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, the exhibition traveled to the cities of Sapporo, Kobe, Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Matsuyama instead. In total, some 735,000 people viewed the exhibition between July 2011 and March 2012.

Following its showing at TFAM, which finishes on May 8, 2012, the exhibition will travel to several more cities in Japan including Miyazaki.

More about the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum

[Adapted from a report from TFAM and an article in the March 29, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]