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Time for Palace Museum calendar

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-23 08:05
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A copy of the 2023 Palace Museum Calendar featuring traditional Chinese figure paintings, displayed in a bookstore at the museum.[Photo provided by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

The hot weather of summer still lingers, but, as usual, the Palace Museum in Beijing is ahead of time as it reminds us, through its calendar, that a new year is not far away.

The museum, also known as the Forbidden City, was the former imperial palace. Every year, numerous fans of traditional Chinese culture avidly follow the release of the new Palace Museum Calendar, which is imminent. More than 4 million copies have been sold in the past decade. Having 1.86 million cultural relics in its collection, the museum has particularly abundant resources to share through these timely, literally, pages.

During a lecture at its bookstore on Sunday, the museum's publishing house announced that the 2023 Palace Museum Calendar will soon be released, but this time, there will be something different.

According to Yang Danxia, a researcher with the Palace Museum and editor-in-chief of the calendar, 365 figure paintings have been chosen for its pages to make it a brief art history book of figure paintings.

Basic information, brief analysis of artistic styles, as well as related stories surrounding each painting will be presented to readers as they start each day by turning a new page.

"We choose one theme for each season," Yang said at the Sunday lecture. "The ethos of figures in the paintings may respectively echo the four seasons.

"It's a calendar full of stories," she says. "Its size is small, but the cultural richness it represents is grand. Readers can thus admire the beauty of Chinese paintings and traditional culture."

For example, court ladies and celebrity women feature in the section of spring and portray, in keeping with the season, a fresh and bright tone. People may want to stay in a cool forest amid hot weather, and their feelings probably resonate with those of figures in the summer section-hermits who retreated from worldly confusion to pursue inner tranquillity.

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