Come See! Come See! Come See Before it’s Too Late! – The Kangxi Emperor Exhibition

June 8, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers finally visited The Kangxi Emperor: Treasures From The Forbidden City exhibition at the Asian Civilisation Museum a fortnight ago. After our visit to the National Palace Musuem in Taipei, we were really looking forward to this blockbuster exhibition, with many artefacts being exhibited in Southeast Asia for the first time.

Banner outside the museum

As it was the International Museum Day and a Sunday, there were many visitors. We went straight to the special exhibit gallery and found a long queue already forming outside. Luckily it only took like 15 or 20 minutes before we were finally admitted into the gallery.

It was only slightly after noon time and the queue was already quite impressive…

Hailed as one of China’s greatest emperors, Kangxi 康熙 succeeded his father, Emperor Shunzhi 順治帝, at the tender age of eight as the second Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. The Kangxi Emperor’s reign (1662 – 1722) lasted for an unprecedented 61 years. 

The first thing that greeted you when you entered the gallery was a huge portrait of Kangxi Emperor in his late 20s wearing court dress. Later as you proceeded to the other inner section, you would see another portrait of him in his sixties, as well as portraits of Emperor Yongzheng 雍正 and Emperor Qianlong 乾隆, all of which displayed some degree of variation with the improved techniques and style of painting, especially on the fabric.  

There were also two impressive painted scrolls on display: one showed the emperor’s inspection tour while the other was his sixtieth birthday celebration. It is amazing how the artists could render with such great details and accuracy the many facial expressions as well as scenery! 

While I like the Emperor’s dragon robe 龙袍, Tisu Boy prefers his ceremonial armour and helmet – silk and gilt copper on the armour and lacquered leather, gold and pearls on the helmet. Apart from being a just and benevolent ruler, Kangxi was also known for his military prowess, and he was the only Qing emperor to personally lead his troops in battle. He was an excellent rider, archer and huntsman. On display were also a set of hunting equipment including bow and bag, which I thought looked modern for the time…heee :p

Kangxi Emperor was a keen learner, curious and open-minded. His interests ranged from the arts including poetry and calligraphy, to mathematics, astrology etc. He was also a filial grandson, devoted husband and dedicated father. 

As with most museum exhibition, photography is strictly prohibited inside the gallery. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take home some memories with you….

Tisu Girl standing in front of the lift…

Tisu Girl camouflaged against the wall mural…

Frankly speaking, my knowledge of Chinese history is not very good, most of which I gathered bits and pieces from Hong Kong dramas when I was a little Tisu..haha… :p  But reading through the text, I really learned quite a bit and understand much better now. This is really an exhibition worth your time and bucks! No matter how much we say, nothing beats seeing the real thing for yourself! So quickly! Come see! Come see! Come see before the Kangxi Emperor Exhibition ends this Sunday June 14th! 😀

Also see related post:
> National Treasures – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #19


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