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Tale of two cities

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-25 09:43
A folding screen of a landscape of the Sumida River in Edo. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The two capital cities of Beijing and Edo (today's Tokyo) were at the zenith of civilization in East Asia during the 18th century. Their urban histories can be explored at an ongoing exhibition at Beijing's Capital Museum which offers an up-close look at daily life in both cities back then.

About 180 artifacts are being displayed at The Metropolises and the Prosperities within Edo and Beijing in the 18th Century to tell this tale of two cities. Two thirds of the exhibits are on loan from the Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum in the Japanese capital, while the rest come from the collections of the Capital Museum. The exhibition will run through Oct 7.

"From the big picture of city planning, to residents' lives, to the abundance of art," says Zhang Liang, curator of the exhibition, "we want to show the different dimensions and facets of Beijing and Edo during their peak.

"People will then be able to understand their similarities and unique characteristics at that time," she says.

In the 18th century, Beijing was flourishing under the reigns of emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Edo was similarly blossoming as the seat of power of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1868.

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