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Chileans visit 'Forbidden City' in Santiago

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-24 08:03

In the past few months, a replica Forbidden City has taken shape at the foot of Andes.

The cultural center of the Chilean presidential palace in Santiago has been dressed up in red since Sept 2 to host national treasures from the Palace Museum in Beijing.

About 120 cultural relics from the museum, also known as the Forbidden City, illustrate two themes - the emperors' dignity and empresses' secret chambers.

The Forbidden City was China's imperial palace from 1420 to 1911, and more than 1.8 million cultural relics are now housed there. This is the first time that pieces from the museum have been exhibited in South America.

The artifacts include paintings, porcelain, textiles, bronze ware and jade, according to Ding Meng, curator of the exhibition. Nine sections were created to showcase different aspects of the daily life of the imperial families, including learning, banquets and religious beliefs.

"Replicas of the rooms of the palace, like the throne room and the emperors' study, are also on display," Ding said.

"Traditional Chinese musical instruments are played at the venue as visitors travel through time and experience life at the imperial court."

More than 200,000 visitors have seen the exhibition, according to Yang Changqing, the first secretary of the cultural division of the Chinese embassy in Chile.

Lectures, folk art performances and interactive games for children are also part of the event.

The last major Chinese cultural relics exhibition in Chile was in 2010, when a display of the Terracotta Warriors was in the country. That display attracted over 330,000 visitors.

"The Chileans are enthusiastic about Chinese culture," she said.

"And (with this exhibition) we can expect another wave of enthusiasm for Chinese culture."

The exhibition, which will run until Sunday, is a key event marking 2016 as the Year of China-Latin America Cultural Exchange.

The enthusiasm for ancient Chinese culture also goes beyond Chile.

In Lima, Peru, an exhibition comprising 121 cultural relics from China takes visitors on a tour of ancient Chinese history up through the end of the empire with the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The two-month display kicked off at the Peruvian National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History on Oct 8. It is Peru's first comprehensive exhibition of cultural relics on loan from China.

Speaking about the links between the two countries, Li Tiankai, curator of the exhibition, says: "Communication between China and Peru can be dated back to the 16th century via the Maritime Silk Road. And the earliest Chinese immigrants arrived in the country in 1849, which shows the long history of friendship between the two countries."

Chileans visit 'Forbidden City' in Santiago 
An exhibition of relics from Beijing's Palace Museum has attracted many visitors since it opened in September at the cultural center of Chile's presidential palace in Santiago. [Photo provided To China Daily]

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