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85 stars that light up the heavens

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-15 09:17
Eighty-five star paintings and calligraphies on display in a new section of the Liaoning Provincial Museum in Shenyang were selected to present a concise history of Chinese fine art as the extensions were officially opened on Aug 17. [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]

Other big names, such as Ouyang Xiu of the Northern Song, Zhao Gou, an emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and Zhao Mengfu of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), are also represented in the exhibition.

This all raises the question of why so many top-level national treasures are in the possession of a provincial museum in Northeast China, most, Yang says, from the Forbidden City in Beijing, known as the Palace Museum today.

It functioned as China's imperial palace from 1420 to 1911 and is home to myriad former royal collections. Many emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) were avid antique collectors, and among these, paintings and calligraphies held special place. Of those collectors Emperor Qianlong was probably the most zealous.

He left comments on many works. On at least one he wrote: "This is without doubt the original." That comment relates to text that precedes calligraphy by Ouyang Xun that is on display.

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