A collection of foreign cultural relics from the Palace Museum that have never been shown to the world before has arrived in Xiamen and will be displayed in the Gulangyu Palace Museum in the middle of May.
Located at No. 80 Guxin Road near Sanqiutian Dock, Gulangyu Palace Museum stands on the site of the former Salvation Hospital and Nursing School.
The old building has been refurbished to exhibit foreign cultural artefacts from the Ming and Qing Dynasties following the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Xiamen Municipal Government and the Palace Museum on November 24th, 2014.
Less excessive renovations were carried out on the main exhibition room in order to keep the original inner structures and exterior appearance. On the other hand, extensive refurbishments were conducted on the former Nursing School.
The reconstruction of the exhibition rooms and storerooms began in November 2005 and has now been completed and passed the security and safety checks. The precious works of art from the Palace Museum have already been installed in the Gulangyu Palace Museum, which will officially open in the middle of May.
The treasures were under the careful protection of dedicated staff during the process of packaging, delivering and unloading. To ensure these treasures arrived in Xiamen safe and sound, cutting-edge packing and delivery technologies were adopted. All of the items were wrapped with cotton paper and fixed with bandages before being put into separate boxes.
The national museum has collected about 10,000 foreign relics. Most of them have been obtained through overseas trade and commodity exchange while some were donated by individuals. The first batch of 219 exhibits are from various categories but what unites them is that they are all among the best. They are well-preserved and include lacquers, potteries, chinas, glasswares, enamel vessels, metal works, fabrics, paintings, books, sculptures, furniture, clocks, technical equipment. They have come from Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Italy, Austria, USA, Bulgaria, Japan, North Korea and other countries and regions and date from the 16th and early 20th century, with the 18th and 19th centuries being the most represented.
The treasures will be exhibited in six different sections: the relics' sources; showing where they were found and how they were collected; technological models with a focus on scientific and medical equipment in royal palaces; porcelains that display China as seen from Europe and Japan; daily necessities such as snuffboxes, powder boxes, and accessories imported from the western world; decorations that present western interior settings; fabrics and furniture manufactured or copied by foreigners.
“There foreign remains not only have their artistic values, but also can be interpreted as evidences of the communication between the east and west from various perspectives. Hence, Gulangyu is a perfect place to display them.” said Li Shijuan, deputy director of Gulangyu Palace Museum. Moreover, the cultural backgrounds of their native country and the economic, cultural and political communication between China and others can be reflected upon through these items.