Current Exhibitions

The Forbidden City:
Inside the Court of China's Emperors

October 18, 2014 to January 11, 2015

Portrait of Emperor Qianlong in ceremonial robe
ink and colour on silk
Qing dynasty, Qianlong period
© The Palace Museum

Emperor's ceremonial armour
cotton padding, woven silk, gilt copper studs,
and metal plate
Qing dynasty, Yongzheng period
© The Palace Museum

Lectures & Talks
Fri, Oct 17, 8:30-10:30pm | Members Opening
Tues, Oct 28, 7pm | Historical Lecture
UBC Robson Square: Theatre-Room C300 (lower level)
800 Robson Street
Tues, Nov 4, 7pm | Historical Lecture
Sat, Nov 8, 3pm | Curtator's Tour

The Vancouver Art Gallery will be transformed into the Court of China's Emperors for the landmark exhibition The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China's Emperors. From October 18, 2014 to January 11, 2015, nearly 200 treasured objects from the collections of Beijing's Palace Museum will come under the spotlight at the Gallery. This exhibition will mark another important milestone in the Vancouver Art Gallery's ongoing commitment to represent the historical and contemporary art of China and the Asia Pacific region.

The Forbidden City in Beijing is a historic architectural site that has remained largely mysterious until recent years. It was the seat of imperial power for China's emperors for five centuries (1416-1911) during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. With nearly 10,000 rooms, 980 buildings, more than 90 architectural complexes, and over a million ceremonial, diplomatic and domestic artifacts spanning a remarkable period in global history, the Forbidden City today offers a unique opportunity to consider the political, social and cultural developments of late dynastic China. In 1925, the Forbidden City was re-named as Beijing's Palace Museum. In 1961, the Forbidden City was designated as one of China's foremost protected cultural heritage sites, and it became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987

Organized by the Palace Museum, Beijing, China, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. It is curated by Dr. Chen Shen (lead curator), ROM's Vice President, Senior Curator (Bishop White Chair of East Asian Archaeology); Dr. Wen-chien Cheng, the ROM's Louise Hawley Stone Chair of Far Eastern Art; and Dr. Sarah Fee, the ROM's Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Textiles and Fashion.

Presenting Corporate Sponsor:

Presenting Foundation Sponsor:
Ho Foundation


The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China's Emperors is organized by the Palace Museum, Beijing, China and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto