Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Kangxi Emperor Exhibition

There is this 'The Kangxi Emperor" Exhibition going on at the Asian Civilisation Museum at the Empress Place, with exhibits coming from the Palace Museum in Beijing.

The normal admission is S$8.00, but if you are a OCBC credit card holder, you can get a 20% discount. I went down today specifically for this discount, then when I arrived, I got a positive surprise: Free.

The museum will be open for free to all visitors for this weekend (28/29 Mar). In addition, if you visit the Kangxi Emperor exhibition, you can get a free ice cream too! There are also performances on level 2 of the museum to entertain visitors.

Ok, back to the main topic, about the exhibition. The displays are borrowed from the Palace Museum in Beijing. I specifically mention Beijing, because ever since China is split into two parts, the mainland and taiwan, many things have doubles. For example, there are two Palace Museums, one in Beijing; one in Taipei. The one in Beijing has the Forbidden City, and 1/3 of the treasures; the one in Taipei has a new building, but 2/3 of the treasures. Others such as Tsinghua University, there are two, too. Again one in Beijing, one in Taiwan.

There are quite a number of official portraits of Emperor Kangxi, Empress Dowage Xiaozhuang, Emperor Yongzhen, Emperor Qianlong on display. I was amazed by the sheer size of those portraits. They are big. The elegance of the painter's skills are also of great excellence. I thought I had seen enough of them in books, but then only when I saw them with my own eyes, when I saw the real stuff, then I realised how great they are.

They showcase two long strolls, one depicting the 60th birthday celebration of Emperor Kangxi; another depicts the welcome ceremony of Emperor Kangxi when he was touring Jiangnan. Both long strolls again are stunningly great.

Emperor Kangxi's calligraphy is great too. Looking at his hand writings, I just feel ashamed of myself. Look at the Heart Sutra that he copied, wow, it looks like a piece of print work. The characters are elegantly written.

Another interesting point is the 'modern machines'. Have you ever seen a Qing Dynasty calculator? There are one or two on display. They are big, but then they look very nice.

I am very happy with this exhibition. I recommend you to pay it a visit.

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