The culture of the Forbidden City takes root in Victoria Harbor

In the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong, a square tripod-style giant building stands proudly facing the sea, spreading Chinese culture and writing Hong Kong stories, demonstrating cultural confidence and historical consciousness. It is the Hong Kong Palace Museum (hereinafter referred to as “Hong Kong Palace Museum”).

The Forbidden City in Hong Kong has been officially open to the public since July 3, 2022, and has received more than 1.2 million tourists in one year. From Beijing to Hong Kong, crossing mountains and rivers and traveling thousands of miles, the culture of the Forbidden City took root on the banks of Victoria Harbour, and began a new interpretation and inheritance. Looking from the north to the south, they jointly protect and inherit the Chinese civilization.

Inheriting Chinese Culture and Dialogue with Modern Life

In June 2017, the Palace Museum and the Hong Kong West Kowloon Cultural District Authority signed the “Cooperation Agreement on the Construction of the Hong Kong Palace Museum”. After five years of construction, this museum that connects the cultural bloodlines of Hong Kong and the Mainland has sprung up on the shore of Victoria Harbour.

Approaching the Forbidden City in Hong Kong, the vermilion main entrance, golden exterior walls, the atrium built with reference to the concept of Beijing’s central axis, glazed tiles, and old-fashioned walls are all designed to continue the style of the royal palace with a history of hundreds of years. The Northern Song copy “Ode to Luoshen”, the Yuan Dynasty painter Zhao Mengfu’s “Autumn Suburbs Drinking Horses”, the Northern Song Ding Kiln Children’s Pillow… More than 900 pieces selected from the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing spanned thousands of miles and appeared safely in the exhibition hall of the Hong Kong Palace Museum. Tourists from all over the world tell about China’s long history and splendid culture.

Wu Zhihua, curator of the Hong Kong Palace Museum, introduced that the Hong Kong Palace Museum currently has 9 exhibition halls, of which 7 exhibition halls are jointly organized by the museum and the Palace Museum. Since its opening one year ago, the Hong Kong Forbidden City has held a series of exhibitions such as “Golden Showcasing – Ancient Gold Artifacts Collected by the Hong Kong Forbidden City and Mengdiexuan” and “Riding the World – Horse Culture and Art”. Three-dimensional civilization. “For example, the ‘One Day in the Forbidden City—Exhibition of Palace Life in the Qing Dynasty’ we set up is to display cultural relics in a life-like way, so that tourists can better understand the daily life of ancient emperors and concubines, and make the exhibition more grounded .” Wu Zhihua said.

“Young people in Hong Kong have an additional channel to understand the history of the motherland.” “During the visit, a sense of pride kept coming to my heart, proud that we have such a broad and profound cultural heritage”… Hong Kong citizens commented. By visiting the wonderful exhibitions, the citizens fully realized the profound heritage of the excellent traditional Chinese culture, and further enhanced their sense of identity and belonging to the country.

Improving the service level and emphasizing the educational function

During the May Day and Dragon Boat Festival holidays this year, there is an endless stream of tourists visiting the Hong Kong Forbidden City. They admire the treasures in the exhibition hall in the middle of the atrium, and overlook Victoria Harbor and Lantau Island from the terrace outside the atrium. You can have a panoramic view of the charm of culture and art and the beauty of the urban landscape.

“According to preliminary statistics, most tourists stay in the Forbidden City in Hong Kong for about 4 to 5 hours, which is twice as long as that of ordinary museums. Many tourists come more than once.” Wu Zhihua said, seeing the audience intoxicated in the exhibition hall, My heart is full of pride.

Wu Zhihua introduced: “Since the customs clearance between Hong Kong and the mainland, there have been more and more mainland tourists. Before the May Day holiday this year, local tourists accounted for about 60%, mainland tourists accounted for about 30%, and tourists from Southeast Asia and Europe accounted for about 10%. During holidays, the proportion of mainland tourists has risen to 65% to 70%.” In response to changes in the structure of tourist sources, the Hong Kong Forbidden City continues to promote service quality improvements. “Over the past year, we have continuously strengthened training to help staff in the reception and security departments improve their Mandarin proficiency; we have opened up a storage area for tourists with luggage; in addition to promoting online ticket reservations, we also reserve offline ticket quotas… …In the future, we will continue to improve our exhibition and service levels to provide tourists with a better experience.”

According to reports, the current ticket price for the Forbidden City in Hong Kong is 50 Hong Kong dollars, and it costs 120 Hong Kong dollars to watch the special exhibition. Since the beginning of this year, through corporate sponsorship and other means, the Hong Kong Forbidden City has also donated 170,000 tickets to low-income families, school students and other groups, which has been widely praised.

“In terms of cultural and creative product development, the price does not have to be expensive, but the value must be high.” Wu Zhihua introduced that at present, the Hong Kong Forbidden City has developed more than 50 cultural and creative products. “In the future, we will continue to make good use of the culture of the Forbidden City and launch cultural and creative products with more international influence.”

“Facing the major issue of the era of ‘strive to build the modern civilization of the Chinese nation’, we must shoulder the new cultural mission of the new era. To realize the creative transformation and innovative development of China’s excellent traditional culture, the participation of young people is particularly important.” Wu Zhihua According to the introduction, in the past year, the Hong Kong Forbidden City has received more than 60,000 students and educators. It has made many attempts to attract young people in Hong Kong to experience the charm of Chinese culture and promote cultural inheritance, such as holding a series of special academic seminars and lectures, recruiting 115 student cultural ambassadors, etc., the “Palace Academy” has become the place where the most educational work is carried out among all museums in Hong Kong. Lecture halls, workshops, etc. attract many students to experience.

Deepen exhibition cooperation and promote exchanges and mutual learning

Bronze masks, bronze portraits, golden masks… The Hong Kong Forbidden City has recently signed an exhibition cooperation agreement with Sichuan Guanghan Sanxingdui Museum, Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum, Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, and Chengdu Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. A special exhibition will be launched in September this year “Gaze at Sanxingdui – New Archaeological Discovery in Sichuan”, 120 precious cultural relics of Sanxingdui will be exhibited at that time.

In Wu Zhihua’s view, if Hong Kong wants to develop into a cultural and art exchange center between China and foreign countries, it should shoulder the important task of telling Chinese stories well and present a real, three-dimensional and comprehensive China to the world. “In the future, the Hong Kong Forbidden City will closely communicate and integrate with mainland museums, promote complementary advantages, resource integration, information sharing, and academic exchanges between museums, and promote the construction of a cultural community in the Greater Bay Area.”

The unique geographical, political, and historical backgrounds give Hong Kong a unique temperament, and also endow the Hong Kong Forbidden City with a strong advantage in the exchange and mutual learning of civilizations.

Wu Zhihua believes that the Hong Kong Forbidden City is not only an important place for Hong Kong citizens and tourists from all over the world to understand the development of Chinese civilization and culture, but also an important platform for exchanges and dialogues between Eastern and Western civilizations. “The Forbidden City in Hong Kong will play an important role in expanding the overseas influence of Chinese culture, promoting international dissemination through innovation, and expanding cultural exchanges with foreign countries. This year, a number of international seminars will be held to bring together experts from home and abroad to discuss archaeology, cultural relics protection, and curation. , Talent training and other topics. At the same time, we are also considering planning special exhibitions to let tourists from all over the world appreciate the excellent traditional Chinese culture and feel the credible, lovely and respectable image of China.”

According to reports, in addition to promoting Chinese culture to the world, the Hong Kong Forbidden City will continue to do a good job of “bringing in” to promote cultural dialogue and mutual learning between the East and the West. Tourists learn about the civilizations of different countries and regions, and enhance exchanges and mutual learning.

At the end of the interview, Wu Zhihua issued an invitation to tourists from all over the world: “Welcome to come often and come more!” Backed by the motherland, rooted in Hong Kong, and looking at the world, a cultural bridge connecting ancient and modern times, the mainland and Hong Kong, and China and the world has been established. In the future, the Forbidden City in Hong Kong will surely spread the long-standing and profound Chinese civilization farther and wider with new interpretation methods and languages ​​that the world can understand.

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