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China's Forbidden City treasures showcased in Rome
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08:34, December 04, 2007

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The masterpieces from China's Forbidden City on display in Rome have received about 5,000 visitors from its opening day, one of the exhibit organizers Chiara Perazzoli told Xinhua on Monday.

"Now, the museum received about 5,000 visitors from Italy and other countries' tourists for the Chinese 18th-century attractive treasures," Perazzoli, an official of Museum of Corso said.

The exhibition, which opened on November 20, features over 300 items from the Emperor Qianlong's (1711-1799) court, including art, jewelery and weapons.

While many of the items reflect the general splendor of the court in the Forbidden City, the majority are linked to the figure of Qianlong himself, she explained.

These include a decorated table created to celebrate his 80th birthday, a massive gold throne, and his personal armour.

The exhibit also recreated his private study and spiritual room, while a number of the artworks are by the emperor himself, a keen artist, poet, musician and calligrapher.

Other artworks include pieces by the Italian Jesuit missionary and painter Giuseppe Castiglione, who traveled to China in 1715.

Castiglione remained there until his death 50 years later, working as a court painter for Qianlong and designing, among other things, a summer palace for the emperor.

Considered one of the greatest court painters of all time in China, Castiglione played a key role in teaching local artists Western techniques relating to color, perspective and human anatomy.

Qianlong, the fourth emperor in the Qing Dynasty, took over the throne in 1735 and reigned until 1796, when he officially retired but continued to run the show behind the scenes.

In addition to his military conquests, Qianlong was a major patron of the arts, a prolific poet and a collector of ceramics.

Entitled "Masterpieces from the Forbidden City. Qianlong and his Court," the exhibit was organized by the Chinese Imperial Palace's Museum and the Italian Foundation of Rome, Museum of Corso.

The showcase will remain in Rome's "Museo del Corso" (Museum of Corso) until March 20, 2008, Perazzoli said.


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