A total of 914 cultural relics went to Hong Kong, including 166 first-class national treasures. This was the largest loan since the Palace Museum was established in 1925, so that no insurance company dared to take the order.
The building was designed by Hong Kong local architect Yan Xunqi. The exterior is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, resembling ancient Chinese utensils.
However, before it was opened, it was criticized as "uncomplimentable", and the cultural relics shipped from thousands of miles were considered "not exciting enough".
The highly anticipated and controversial Hong Kong Palace Museum, what is inside? We collected 40 sets of key exhibits and interviewed the curator Wu Zhihua online, from cultural relics to architectural design, to reveal them one by one.
Since mid-May, batches of cultural relics have embarked on a "southbound journey" and have been transported from the Palace Museum in Beijing to the Palace Museum in Hong Kong.
914 precious cultural relics are "one in a thousand", many of which have never been shown to the public before. The nine exhibition halls, in the words of curator Wu Zhihua, are "big ambitions", covering all categories of the Palace Museum's collections, including paintings, bronzes, ceramics, jades, seals, embroidery, sculptures, books, ancient architecture, etc.
The exhibition time ranges from three months to one year. Due to the high difficulty of preservation, some exhibits need to be strictly calculated according to the number of days. The number of days in the transportation process and how many days can be displayed must be accurately planned. After this exhibition, some cultural relics will be returned to the Palace Museum to "dormancy" for several years. It is no exaggeration to say, "I may have missed this time, and I will never see it again for a lifetime."
Q:In the face of architectural controversy, can you interpret its design highlights for us?
A;The whole museum covers an area of 130,000 square meters, and the building is only 30,000 square meters. Compared with the mainland museums, the area is not too large, but it is enough in a relatively small city like Hong Kong.
The museum is built upwards, with a total of 7 floors. It was made by Mr. Yan Xunqi, a local architect from Hong Kong. Yan Xunqi has a lot of experience in museum design. The Guangdong Provincial Museum and the Yunnan Provincial Museum are all modern-style buildings created by him in combination with traditional culture.
This time, in order to build the Forbidden City in Hong Kong, he visited the Forbidden City in Beijing five times, hoping to establish an association between the two. As soon as I got involved in this project, I chatted with him, what kind of Forbidden City are we going to build in Hong Kong?
The Forbidden City in Beijing is a cultural heritage, and then the Forbidden City in Taipei was built in 1965, and the style is closer to the feeling of the palace. We felt that it should have its own architectural characteristics, which can reflect the characteristics of the fusion of Chinese and Western cultures in Hong Kong.
So its industrial style is a bit heavier, and of course there are some local Hong Kong elements in it. The whole is inclined, the top is large and the bottom is small, so it can surround the sound and the air flow is better, which is a great advantage for the preservation of collections.
Its most important concept is the central axis concept of the Forbidden City, which puts the concept of plane into the three-dimensional building.
There are three large atriums that connect the entire pavilion space, just like from the Taihe Gate and the Taihe Hall, all the way up. After viewing an exhibition hall, go to the atrium, and then go to the next exhibition hall. Three atriums are connected to the outdoor space. The first atrium faces east with a view of the city; the second atrium faces south with a view of the entire Hong Kong Island; the third atrium faces Lantau Island to the west.
In addition, the shape that everyone talks about the most is not actually designed with reference to the rumored "Ding".
The gate refers to some gates with nail holes in the Forbidden City, mainly in gold and vermilion. In order to express the time traces accumulated by the Forbidden City in Beijing after hundreds of years of history, Yan Xunqi also deliberately chose "weathering steel" as the material of the wall, which will naturally oxidize over time, which is somewhat similar to the concept of old-fashioned.
It may feel relatively new inside. The ceiling is made of aluminum. Referring to the shape of the glazed tiles in the Forbidden City, it becomes a dynamic ceiling, like the feeling of beads on clothes. After the sky light penetrates in, the atrium is very beautiful.
This is not a purely aesthetic building.
This is a place for exhibiting cultural relics, and the function is more important. It provides a comfortable environment, and it is enough to cooperate with the cultural relics. Because many famous museums have found a famous architect, the building itself is a work of art, and there are restrictions on the placement of cultural relics.
The cultural relics of the Forbidden City have great requirements for light, so it also limits the use of natural light in buildings.
Q:How difficult is it to transport more than 900 cultural relics?
A:This is the first time that so many cultural relics have been shipped out for exhibition since the establishment of the Palace Museum in 1925. Indeed, we are also under great pressure. The entire transportation process took almost two months, and the impact of the epidemic also brought a lot of difficulties, and I was in a hurry every day. I originally hoped that it would be a gift on the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, but now I am very fortunate to be able to open the museum on time and smoothly.
The insurance premiums for these exhibits may be the most expensive in the world. There is no insurance company in the world who dares to independently undertake this high-priced insurance policy.
More than 200 showcases, also a global tender, were finally handed over to an Italian company, who made the showcases at the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum and the Louvre. This time, they specially made showcase glass for the cultural relics of the Hong Kong Palace Museum, which is non-reflective and highly transparent, and also provides a very high standard for cultural relics protection.
Q:In addition to the exhibition space, are there any multifunctional places for the audience to use? Is it just an "attachment" to the Forbidden City in Beijing?
A:In addition to the 8,000-square-meter exhibition hall, there is also a large space called the Forbidden City Academy, which is a 1,600-square-meter education center. In addition, there is a lecture hall with 400 seats, which is the largest among all museums in Hong Kong.
I believe that many viewers may accompany their families, wives, and husbands to see cultural relics in the future. They are not so interested in traditional art forms, but we also hope that they can have a novel experience and become interested in the cultural relics of the Forbidden City. For example, in the Academy of the Forbidden City, there will be some activities related to the restoration of cultural relics, which are very close to people's lives. We have also discovered in Hong Kong in recent years that everyone wants to participate in the experience of cultural relic restoration.
Outside the pavilion, there is a large art park and lawn. In the future, we will plan the Lantern Festival every year and do Lantern Festival lantern activities. We hope that the audience can actively use their hands, brains and eyes to participate in the understanding and innovation of cultural relics.
The Palace Museum in Hong Kong is not dependent on the Palace Museum in Beijing. Exhibits from all over the world may be presented on this platform. For example, the Louvre collection in this opening exhibition is also worth looking forward to. Next year we have a collaborative exhibition with the Fondation Cartier, which will take the 20th century women's design as the theme, so in addition to the theme of the Forbidden City, we will definitely have a dialogue between different world civilizations.
It is built in the best place in Hong Kong now, the West Kowloon Cultural District. It takes five minutes to walk to the M Museum, which was just built last year. It only takes 10 minutes from the high-speed rail station to our museum. In the future, as well as the Greater Bay Area, it will be very convenient for mainland audiences to come.
I have positioned it as a "connected" museum, connecting ancient and modern, connecting Hong Kong and the mainland, connecting China and foreign countries, and connecting the life of every ordinary audience.