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Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Palace Museum jointly launch programs for conservation of relics

Updated: 2024-05-10 16:50 ( chinadaily.com.cn )
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Renovation of Chengqian Gong will be a focus of the program. [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]

The Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Palace Museum in Beijing signed an agreement on Friday in the museum to launch a framework of long-term cooperation.

According to the agreement, the jockey club and its charities trust will donate 371 million yuan ($51.3 million) within the next 5 years to sponsor a series of projects within the museum concerning promotion of traditional Chinese culture and training of cultural heritage-related talent.

The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, was China's imperial palace from 1420 to 1911. As a trove of treasures witnessing the evolution of Chinese civilization, it is home for over 1.86 million cultural relics.

The projects lasting from 2024 to 2028 will include the renovation of ancient architecture, organization of exhibitions, training of professionals, archaeological research, public education and so on. The renovation of Chengqian Gong (Palace of Celestial Favor), which is located on the eastern wing of the inner court of the Forbidden City, is a highlighted project within the new agreement.

Both sides vowed the program would further strengthen cultural communication between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that helped the youth from the SAR to understand the history and culture of the motherland on a deeper level.

Chengqian Gong was first built in 1420 and the structure people see today was formed in 1697. It has been continuously renovated in the following centuries, but most work in the past 50 years focused on its facades, leaving its interior mostly untouched.

The so-called "soft ceilings", which feature painted decorations mounted on paper or silk and pasted onto the base paper of the wooden framework, in Chengqian Gong were exceptional. Created in the early period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), they are now among the earliest surviving complete soft ceilings in the Forbidden City. The couple-phoenix pattern is also the only example of its kind on the soft ceilings of this former royal palace.

After the upcoming renovation of Chengqian Gong is completed, the place will be used as a venue for joint exhibitions and other cooperative projects concerning the Palace Museum and Hong Kong.

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