Monday, November 21, 2005

Chinese imperial glory on show in London

Today, just before I leave London in the evening, I visited the special exhibit of "China The Three Emperors 1662-1795" in the Royal Academy of Arts. Last week, when Hu Jintao was in London, he officiated the opening of the exhibition with the Queen of Britain.

The three emperors were of course Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong. Treasured robes, paintings, printed scrolls, jades, bronzes, palace furnishing were on display. Most items were from the Place Museum in Beijing, but some were drawn from various museums in England, France and Germany, a reminder of the foreign invasion after the passing of the last high point of imperial China under these three emperors that this exhibition celebrated. Scrolls and paintings showing foreign diplomats bowing to the emperor of China -- if those were historically accurate depiction of the times, then history was certainly ironic and cruel.

It was worth every pence of the 11 pound admission fee. No better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in London, even with Christmas shopping.


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