Photos give rare glimpse of imperial China

Updated: 2015-05-26 07:23

By Wnag Kaihao(China Daily)

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Photos give rare glimpse of imperial China

The ongoing Old Photos from the Palace Museum's Permanent Collection features many images from the Forbidden City. Photo provided to China Daily

When visitors to Beijing's Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, marvel at the breathtaking ancient palace, they may easily start to imagine themselves inside a popular historical TV series.

But to know about the real lives of royal families that lived there, the museum is now displaying 300 photographs taken from late 19th to early 20th centuries.

The exhibition, Old Photos from the Palace Museum's Permanent Collection, takes visitors back in time to review the museum's final years as a place forbidden to commoners. The museum hadn't displayed the old photos after 1949. The oldest photo exhibited was taken in 1863.

The exhibition kicks off a series of events celebrating the 90th anniversary of the public opening of the museum. After the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) ended, the Forbidden City, China's royal palace since 1420, continued to be home to the last emperor, Aisin-Gioro Puyi, until 1924.

"The photos not only reflect royal life," Shan Jixiang, director of the museum, explains. "The exhibition also reveals dramatic changes in Chinese society about 100 years ago, covering various fields, including education, diplomacy and folklore."

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