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Juanqinzhai, most lavish suite in the Forbidden City, will be open tothe public on a limited basis beginning in 2009.

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Old November 12th, 2008, 06:52 AM posted to rec.travel.asia
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Default Juanqinzhai, most lavish suite in the Forbidden City, will be open tothe public on a limited basis beginning in 2009.

China unveiled the retirement studio of Emperor Qianlong after five
years of restoration,
showing an architectural masterpiece that sheds light on the
philosophy and taste of the
Qing Dynasty's second-longest serving ruler.

The Palace Museum, the state custodian of China's 600-year- old
Forbidden City, may
open Juanqinzhai (the Studio of Exhaustion From Diligent Service,
Lodge of Retirement),
refurbished at $3 million by the New York- based World Monuments Fund,
to the public for
the first time ``on a limited basis,'' said Director Zheng Xinmiao.

Built in 1776 -- the 41st year of Qianlong's 60-year reign --
Juanqinzhai was part of a two-
acre complex of ornate gardens and pavilions the emperor designed for
himself as a
retirement villa.

Restoring Juanqinzhai is part of a broader government project to
refurbish Qianlong's two-
acre retirement grounds Ningshougong (the Palace of Tranquility and
Longevity) by 2017,
said Nancy Berliner, curator of Chinese art at the Peabody Essex
Museum in Salem,
Massachusetts, who contributed to the pavilion's restoration. The
total cost, involving
another 26 pavilions and gardens, is estimated at between $12 million
and $15 million,
said World Monuments Fund President Bonnie Burnham.

Wisteria Pattern
The ceiling of Juanqinzhai's theater room (view theater's pre-
restoration panorama) was
covered in silk with an intricate wisteria pattern. In an adjoining
room where Qianlong
received visitors, walls were lined with double-sided silk embroidery
atop zitan wooden
panels inlaid with the inner skin of bamboo.

The emperor, who ordered a trade route built from the jade mines of
Myanmar to southern China for carrying jadeite to the imperial
capital, would display his
favorite gems, ceramics and artworks in the studio.

Qianlong was deeply interested and involved in every aspect of the
Juanqinzhai's design
and construction, said Berliner. The studio was the first time the
technique of embroidering
on both sides of a silk screen was used in an interior decor.

The monarch commissioned an indoor theater in the studio, covering the
entire room with
silk murals depicting Beijing's verdant hills, palace buildings and
exotic fowls using the
perspective of trompe l'oeil, an unusual technique in 18th-century
China, she said.
``He was the kind of connoisseur who probably derived as much pleasure
from designing it
and conceiving it as actually using it,'' Berliner said.

Unused, Unoccupied
Qianlong never actually used Juanqinzhai. He abdicated in 1795 as a
filial act to avoid
surpassing the 61-year record reign held by his grandfather, the
Emperor Kangxi.
He never moved out of his formal abode at Qianqinggong even after
ceding his throne to
Emperor Jiaqing, and continued to wield influence till his death in

On his death bed, Qianlong issued an edict for Juanqinzhai to be used
as the retirement
house for his successors, establishing perhaps one of China's first
preservation laws, said
World Monuments Fund Executive Vice President Henry Ng, after a press
yesterday at the former imperial palace. The studio remained mostly
unused and
untouched until the last of the Manchu emperors Puyi was driven out of
the palace in 1924.

``It was like a wedding day'' when the veils were lifted off the
restoration for the first time,
Ng said. ``We can't believe how stunning and beautiful everything is''
once they're all put
together, he said.

Mulberry Paper
Restoration work involved the use of painting and adhesion techniques
that are no longer
employed. Restorers also had to reproduce a high-cellulose paper made
from the fibers of
mulberry trees -- no longer made in China when conservation began in
2003 - - for
holding up the murals.

Nov 12, 2008

作为故宫乾隆花园十年修复工程的第一部分,倦勤斋保护 工程昨日宣告竣工,预计将在明年对公众有限度开放。

倦勤斋,顾名思义就是倦于勤务、倦于朝政之地,是乾隆 皇帝为自己1795年退位后“颐养天年”而预建的,汇聚了 最重要、最精美、最奢华的室内装饰。

自从末代皇帝溥仪1924年离开紫禁城后,倦勤斋和乾隆花 园内的其它26座建筑内的重要内装饰基本上保存下来。尽 管紫禁城许多地方都陆续对外开放,倦勤


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