Historical photos at Forbidden City on display

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, May 20, 2015
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Old photographs of the Forbidden City and the household of China's last emperor went on display at the Palace Museum in Beijing for the first time in 66 years on May 17.

A photo of 17-year-old Empress Wanrong, the wife of Puyi and the last empress of China [Photo/Chinanews.com]

Director of the Palace Museum Shan Jixiang said the exhibition is part of events marking the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City, the former home and palace complex of China's emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties, opened as a public museum in 1925.

Shan said there are nearly 20,000 old photos in the museum's archive that depict the history, people, education and everyday life of the late Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) and the Republic of China (1912-1949).

Shan said that 300 photographs from the archive – including the oldest photo in the archive, which was taken in 1863 – were selected and displayed in the exhibit. He added that this is the first special exhibition of photos of the Palace Museum since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

"There's also a photo of 40-year-old Empress Cixi that was given as a gift, and there is a story behind it," Shan said. "When Cixi celebrated her 70th birthday, the president of the United States at that time, Theodore Roosevelt, sent her a congratulatory telegraph. Cixi was pleased and sent this photo of herself at age 40 back to President Roosevelt as a gift." The director said many photos have fascinating background stories and unique historic and cultural value.

The photo exhibition at the Forbidden City will run through July 17. Some of the items included in the exhibition will only be shown for one month.

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