Sunday, January 9, 2011

Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City

Just back from a wonderful visit to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem – I’ve passed the museum dozens of times in my quest for the special kind of weirdness that can only be found in Salem, but have never gone in.  Today was the last day of the exhibition “Emperor’s Private Paradise:  Treasures from the Forbidden City."

I have to say I’m sorry I passed by so many times before.  I will be a frequent visitor from this point forward because the artistry on display there, both in this exhibit and in their standard offerings, was amazing.  The special exhibit was described as:

“An 18th-century compound in a hidden quadrant of the immense imperial complex, the Qianlong Garden (also known as the Tranquility and Longevity Palace Garden), is part of a decade-long, multimillion-dollar conservation initiative undertaken by the World Monuments Fund in partnership with the Palace Museum, Beijing.

Ninety objects of ceremony and leisure — murals, paintings, wall coverings, furniture, architectural elements, jades and cloisonné — unveil the private realm of the Qianlong Emperor (r.1736-1796), one of history’s most influential figures. In his time, he was among the richest, most powerful men in the world. A connoisseur, scholar and devout Buddhist, he created a luxurious garden compound to serve throughout his retirement as a secluded place of contemplation, repose and entertainment.”

With the staggering number of people there today, peace and tranquility were a bit hard to find – but overall, it was worth it!  Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure:

(Okay, so technically this was not in the Forbidden Treasures, but it was still a pretty cool goddess from India, just hanging out with BFF Cheryl.)

A funky Chinese crab.  Who doesn't like crabs?!?

Ditto the blue frog.

This was the Chinese god of scholars.  Look how angry he is.  I think he just finished grading 350 essays.  No judgments, grumpy.  I feel your pain.

How cool are these guardians?  Carved from solid pieces of stone.

The Moon Bed.

Two of four lovely statues - more pics of the others will come later.

And because they were sparkly, another photo from the Indian exhibit.

Unfortunately, the Forbidden Treasures exhibits were not allowed to be photographed, but this is just a small sampling of the wonders on display.  I hope you enjoyed them!

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