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Kingdom Come

By November 2004Comments

Back in the eighteenth century, when Emperor Qianlong reigned over a prosperous China, plebeians weren’t allowed anywhere near the palatial quarters of the ruling body. The lavish buildings—9,999 in total—where the emperor lived and governed weren’t collectively called the Forbidden City for naught. Off-limits to the commoner were luxurious halls (with names like the Hall of Literary Glory), gardens, and palaces. It was once estimated that the Qing dynasty, to which Emperor Qianlong belonged, accumulated nearly 1.2 million artifacts of artistic value: calligraphy works (left, calligraphy by Qianlong, 1768), porcelain objects, statues of gold and bronze, books, jade pieces. On November 21 the Dallas Museum of Art makes the opulence accessible, hosting one of only two U.S. tour stops of “Splendors of China’s Forbidden City: The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong.” On display is a 10,000-square-foot exhibition of the emperor’s day-to-day settings—the throne from which he ruled, the table at which he dined, the chamber in which one of his wives lived—and the many treasures that surrounded him. STACY HOLLISTER.

See Dallas: Museums/Galleries for details and directions.

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