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Feature: Curator behind the increasingly charming Palace Museum

(People's Daily Online)    17:09, April 09, 2019

Curator of the Palace Museum Shan Jixiang (Photo/

April 8 marked the last day of Shan Jixiang’s seven-year term as the curator of the Palace Museum, according to the Imperial Palace.

Before his retirement, Shan told China Youth Daily that he wished to hand over a beautiful Forbidden City where 1,862,690 relics are housed, to the next 600 years, as the year 2020 will mark the museum's 600th birthday.

Shan had walked through each of the 9,371 rooms and 1,200 buildings in the Palace Museum within five months of being named the sixth curator in 2012. Over the following seven years, he brought more vitality to the world’s largest example of ancient royal architecture which still exists today, and made it a hit among visitors, especially young people, via a series of cultural creative products and themed activities.

For the first time, the Palace Museum held the grand exhibition “Celebrating the Spring Festival in the Forbidden City”, which attracted between 60,000 to 80,000 visitors per day in offseason and allowed people to enjoy a royal Spring Festival with access to all open areas of the Imperial Palace and a total of 886 antiques.

Later, the museum wowed visitors again by opening for free at night during the 2019 Lantern Festival, and for the first time decorating the ancient buildings in the Forbidden City with traditional lamps.

On top of these exciting activities, Shan Jixiang also attended a large-scale cultural exploration program, National Treasure, launched by China Central Television (CCTV) in Beijing, which presented treasures from national museums including the Palace Museum.

In the TV program, Shan interpreted the stories and history behind the cultural relics from the museum in a way that the audience could easily understand and appreciate.

“The Forbidden City was renamed the Palace Museum on Oct. 10, 1925. All my colleagues have made tremendous efforts to keep the ancient palace complex complete and well-preserved,” said Shan, who aimed to present more antiques in a larger open area to visitors.

After considerable efforts, last year saw 80 percent of the Palace Museum's floor space open to the public, said Shan.

The percentage is expected to hit 85.02 percent by 2025, when a third of over 1.8 million treasures currently stored at the Palace Museum will also meet the public, Shan told CCTV in July 2018.

Shan was born in 1954, and graduated from China’s prestigious Tsinghua University with a major in urban planning and design. Before he took office in the Palace Museum, he worked as head of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Cultural Relics, Beijing Municipal Commission of City Planning and National Cultural Heritage Administration.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Hongyu)

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