Exhibitions help forge closer cultural links between HK and mainland
The ongoing exhibition on the Hall of Mental Cultivation in Hong Kong is just one sign of the deepening links between the Palace Museum in Beijing and Hong Kong.
Separately, another major exhibition on Chinese royal rituals, Longevity and Virtues: Birthday Celebrations of the Qing Emperors and Empress Dowagers, is on at the Hong Kong Museum of History.
And in a related development, the Hong Kong Palace Museum, to be set up in the West Kowloon Cultural District, will become a permanent venue to display Chinese royal treasures in 2022.
In 2012, Beijing’s Palace Museum signed an agreement with Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department to regularly hold exhibitions in Hong Kong.
Exhibitions from Beijing have typically done very well in Hong Kong, and according to LCSD statistics, the four concluded exhibitions, which were brought to Hong Kong by the Palace Museum since then, attracted half a million visitors.
“Hong Kong is an international cultural metropolis with a distinct identity grounded in Chinese tradition,” says Cheung Kin-chung, the chief secretary for administration in Hong Kong.
“By presenting the invaluable collections of the Palace Museum and its rich history, these highly acclaimed exhibitions have strengthened our cultural ties.”
Tam Mei-yee, director of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, says the events make Hong Kong a platform for the Palace Museum artifacts to make their global debut.
Connections between the Beijing Palace Museum and Hong Kong can be traced back to the time when Hong Kong philanthropist Ronnie Chan helped the Beijing museum reconstruct the Jianfugong Garden, which was burned down in 1923.
Chan then continued to sponsor other renovations within the Forbidden City.
For the ongoing renovation of the Hall of Mental Cultivation, his fund has donated 100 million yuan ($14.8 million), and this was followed by donations by other philanthropists from Hong Kong.
Other organizations in Hong Kong are also linking up with the Beijing Palace Museum.
For example, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust is a reg- ular sponsor of the Beijing museum’s exhibitions.
The Beijing Palace Museum, besides introducing cultural relics to Hong Kong, is also helping it boost its global cultural links.
Last week, a two-day summit co-organized by the LCSD and the Beijing Palace Museum was held in Hong Kong. It was Hong Kong’s first such summit.
Cheung says: “With our unique geographical position as a cultural hub where East meets West, Hong Kong is committed to assuming the role of super connector by acting as a platform for professional exchanges among overseas museums and institutions on heritage conservation and museum practices.”
Members from the Hong Kong Museum of History open a scroll of ancient painting for the exhibition, Longevity and Virtues: Birthday Celebrations of the Qing Emperors and Empress Dowagers.