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Old March 29th, 2006, 02:20 AM   #1
hkskyline
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Forbidden City Restoration Project

China Exclusive: Hall in Forbidden City to relive past glory



BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Shrouded in scaffolding as scores of workers overhaul the tallest hall in China's Forbidden City, renovation of the most significant hall in the country is well under way.

The renovation is expected to restore the hall's former glory from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), said Jin Hongkui, the palace's deputy curator.

The renovation includes repairing the roof sides which have already started sinking, repairing corrupted wood columns, changing the broken glass tiles and repainting the ceramic glaze of the tiles.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony, China's tallest timber ancient palace building, was closed to the public in January. Workers are overhauling the outer and inner frame of the hall and the renovation plan will be discussed by experts in June, Jin said. The whole renovation will last for two years.

Located at a significant place at the axis of the Forbidden City, the Hall of Harmony used to be the place where grand ceremonies were held such as the emperor's enthronement, wedding, birthday and important occasions like the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The hall, originally completed in 1420, was rebuilt after several fires and is over 300 years old.

Examination and planning work for the hall's renovation began in 2004, according to Jin, which included literature research and collecting. Professionals combined manual mapping, three-dimensional laser scanning and wood survey technologies to overhaul and analyze the status of the hall.

Experts from the Italian cultural heritage department also contributed to the work of pollutant analysis and tested repairing materials, bringing their experience of renovating ancient architecture in Europe, Jin said.

He said the main structure of the hall is basically stable. But parts of the wood frame, ornaments, walls, roof tiles and the unique brackets inserted on the top of columns have suffered damage.

The paintings on the outer eaves did not comply with the original design during the past renovations, he added.

The Forbidden City, now known as the Palace Museum, situated in central Beijing, was the power center of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties from 1420 to 1912.

The labyrinthine complex, home to 24 emperors, their families and courtesans, and reputed to have 9,999 rooms, is one of China's best known icons and most popular tourist attractions. It is visited by 7 million to 8 million tourists every year.

UNESCO listed the Forbidden City as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987.

The renovation of the Palace Museum, which started in 2002, will take more than 10 years to complete at a cost of over 2 billion yuan (250 million U.S. dollars).

By the end of 2005, about 38,000 square meters of ancient architecture were repaired, costing more than 200 million yuan (25 million U.S. dollars).
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Old March 30th, 2006, 12:03 AM   #2
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Major Forbidden City hall to close for two-year repair
4 January 2006
Copyright 2006 China Daily Information Company. All Rights Reserved.

The most important building in one of China's top tourist attractions is closing for two years for renovation work.

Repairs on the Hall of Supreme Harmony Taihedian in Chinese at the Forbidden City, or Palace Museum, are due to begin on Friday. They are expected to be completed by 2008, in time for the Beijing Olympic Games.

To make the hall look how it did when first built, workers will use original materials and procedures.

A cloth, 40 metres high and 70 metres wide, is being placed over the hall while the work takes place.

As the symbol of imperial power, the hall was where Ming and Qing (1368-1911) emperors received high officials and exercised their rule over the nation.

It was also where great ceremonies were held, including those marking accessions, birthdays and the publication of lists of successful candidates in imperial examinations. It was also where war was declared.

The renovation of the hall is a major part of the biggest restoration project in the history of the Forbidden City. By 2008, areas open to the public will be nearly 400,000 square metres, 12 per cent more than now.

Among the areas under repair, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the largest and best-preserved wooden hall in China, has attracted the most attention.

Since being rebuilt in 1695 in the reign of the Qing (1644-1911) Emperor Kangxi, the aged building has had to face three major problems the affects of the weather on glazed tiles, water leaking onto wood and coloured paintings on its walls fading away.

"Many wooden parts were distorted because of years of over-loading," said Li Yongge, director of the restoration centre at the Palace Museum. "It needs surgery," Li added. "We are carrying out a thorough check."

Tickets to the Forbidden City will remain the same, at 60 yuan (US$7.5) for adults.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 06:24 AM   #3
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Forbidden City calls in termite team
23 May 2006
South China Morning Post

Termite busters from Zhejiang have been sent to Beijing to rid the Forbidden City of the insect scourge eating away at the imperial timber.

Xinhua reported on Sunday that workers renovating the 700-year-old buildings, also known as the Palace Museum, found the tiny insects munching through some of the complex's wooden structures.

Liu Endi , a restoration specialist from the Palace Museum Administration, did not deny the termite report, but would only say the report was flawed.

An administration spokeswoman yesterday said there had been restoration work at the complex but refused to say whether it was linked to termites.

Xinhua reported that a research team, including Mr Liu, travelled to Deqing county in Zhejiang late last month to assess an innovative termite-trapping technique.

Exterminators lure the insects into a trap, spray them with pesticide, then release them to kill the rest of the nest through contact.

The report said that earlier last week, four specialists from Deqing visited Beijing to help wipe out the termites at the Palace Museum.

The presence of termites at the national monument would be a huge embarrassment to its administrators, because the government earmarks millions of yuan each year for its maintenance.

The infestation is just the latest to beset Beijing's monuments. The American white moth, a destructive plant-eater, was found in the Temple of Heaven last week.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 07:53 AM   #4
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But its forbidden!! haha bad joke
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Old August 1st, 2006, 09:15 PM   #5
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But its forbidden!! haha bad joke
LOLOLOL
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Old August 1st, 2006, 11:18 PM   #6
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Great! Its going to end up looking more amazing!
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Old August 12th, 2006, 05:28 AM   #7
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Palace renovation exposes 18th-century China
Jim Yardley
The New York Times
3 August 2006

John Stubbs, an American historic preservationist, had flicked on his flashlight and was slowly ascending a darkened staircase inside the Forbidden City when he stopped at a dusty paneled wall etched with elegant lines of calligraphy.

"I didn't even see this until yesterday, or two days ago!" exclaimed Stubbs, almost ecstatic, as he stood in the dank, musty air.

The calligraphy was a poem by the 18th-century Qing Dynasty emperor Qianlong, who built the room as part of an intended retirement compound, a private city within the Forbidden City.

For a few days last week, Stubbs and colleagues from the World Monuments Fund rummaged through the restricted Qianlong Garden section and admitted that the experience left them a little giddy. The fund, a private, nonprofit preservation group in New York, has just begun overseeing the renovation of the Qianlong section, a project that should be finished by 2016.

"For us, it is wonderful seeing it this way," Henry Tzu Ng, executive vice president of the group, said during the informal tour, "before 10 years from now, when it is restored."

Anyone who has visited Beijing in the past few years knows that the Forbidden City, the ancient home of Chinese emperors, is in the midst of a total restoration. Plans call for work to be completed by 2020, in time to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the imperial compound.

The refurbishment is part of the selective preservation work in Beijing before the 2008 Olympics. Heavily visited historic sites like the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven are undergoing multimillion-dollar face-lifts, even as a few ancient residential neighborhoods are being bulldozed for new development. One such neighborhood, Qianmen, is perhaps a kilometer from the Forbidden City.

The scope of the work inside the high gray walls of the Forbidden City is displayed in the office of Jin Hongkui, the deputy director of the Palace Museum, who is overseeing the overall renovation.

On Friday, he used a red penlight to highlight the different stages of renovation on a large map of the complex, including the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the central structure of the Forbidden City, which is now shrouded in scaffolding.

Jin said the renovation program, which began in earnest in 2002, was focused on finishing the largest public buildings before the Olympics and would restore the entire complex by the 2020 deadline.

He said almost 2,000 construction workers and craftsmen were involved.

"I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that the whole world is watching," he said. "We can't make any mistakes."

The craftsmen and workers doing the renovation are Chinese, but Jin said foreign conservationists were providing advice on certain projects. Preservationists with the Italian government are consulting on the work at the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Jin said the arrangement with the World Monuments Fund was the first major collaboration involving an American conservation group and the Forbidden City. The partnership began in 2003, when the fund committed $3.3 million to restoring the building known as Qianlong's Lodge of Retirement.

Last March, a broader $15 million agreement, which included $5 million from the Chinese side, was announced to restore all 24 buildings and the elaborate outdoor courtyards of the entire Qianlong Garden.

The visit last week allowed conservationists from both sides to discuss the renovation and also gave the Americans a new chance to explore buildings sealed from the public since the last emperor, Puyi, was ordered out of the Forbidden City in 1924. On a gray morning they led a few guests through the private chambers and did not seem bothered by the disrepair. For decades the rooms had been used for storage, and Stubbs seemed tickled that curators still had the keys.

"It is as if the last emperor left in 1924 and this is what has remained," Ng said.

Qianlong, the fifth emperor of the Qing dynasty, ruled from 1735 until his retirement in 1796, then continued as a behind-the-throne presence until his death three years later. He was a major patron of the arts who wrote poetry and collected ceramics. During the 1770s he employed thousands of Chinese and foreign craftsmen to build the complex of buildings and gardens for his retirement.

The Qianlong Garden is only 0.7 hectares, or 1.7 acres, about one percent of the area of the Forbidden City. But Stubbs said the complex had been built with some of the finest examples of Chinese artistry and craftsmanship, as well as European influences.

In one building, Stubbs pointed out a large "moon gate," a wall with a circular opening decorated with bamboo and jade to illustrate an ancient Chinese motif about a virtuous official in a time of corruption. In another room he lifted a sheet of protective covering to find a stack of 16 wooden screens with inlaid jade.

"We knew it was fine," Stubbs said of the Qianlong Garden, "but we didn't know how brilliantly fine it was."

The group is bringing over American conservation specialists in textiles, wood and lacquer to share the latest preservation techniques. Nancy Berliner, a curator of Chinese art with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, came last week to offer advice on how to interpret and present the rooms for public display.

Ng jokingly said he had already decided which building would be used as the host site for the opening reception in 2016: the Fu Wang Ge, or Hall of Wishes Fulfilled.

He broke away briefly from the tour to lead a guest up a warren of narrow staircases to a third-floor room. It was empty except for a large writing table placed in front of a dust-covered throne.

He said the room must have been a personal sanctuary for Qianlong, and he stepped onto the balcony to look over the yellow rooftops of the Forbidden City and its high gray wall. "This is one of the few spots where he could look above the wall and see the outside world," Ng said.

He said he had discovered the room and the balcony only a day earlier. "We finally went up and up and up," he said of his initial visit. "And we realized we had to show this to somebody."
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Old August 12th, 2006, 05:33 AM   #8
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Does the renovation include removing the Starbucks?
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Old August 12th, 2006, 02:52 PM   #9
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I would doubt it.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 09:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Fusion
Does the renovation include removing the Starbucks?
Maybe end up more.
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Old August 14th, 2006, 08:14 PM   #11
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Gosh, i hope the renovation works won't ruin my trip to Beijing next month.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 07:08 PM   #12
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China to unveil catalogue of all relics in Forbidden City to public

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- China will unveil a catalogue of all cultural and art relics kept in the Forbidden City after relics from the Ming and Qing dynasties are sorted, said Zheng Xinmiao, curator of the Forbidden City.

"Many ancient cultural relics, including 2,000-plus paintings and calligraphy works and other belongings of emperors and empresses have not been catalogued due to outdated views towards cultural relics," Zheng said Thursday.

"Now all the items that can reflect culture and history of the palace will be kept as relics through a protection plan," he said.

"About 100,000 relics and materials will be added to the existing account and all the basic information on them will be unveiled to the public through the new catalogue," he said.

"The new catalogue will be published to show the essence of China's traditional culture and the protection of these precious 'state-owned-assets' can be better supervised by the public through the publication," he said.

Covering more than 720,000 square meters, the Forbidden City has over 9,000 rooms, and is located in the heart of Beijing.

The palace, as the treasury of China's traditional culture, has preserved 1.5 million relics, accounting for one-sixth of the total collection of relics in China's museums.

In 2005, the Chinese government decided to spend 1.5 billion yuan to revamp the Forbidden City over the next 15 years to better protect both the palace and the cultural relics.

As part of the protection plan, it will take the museum seven years to sort the relics.
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Old December 5th, 2006, 04:27 PM   #13
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That's alot of relics... After its been sorted out, they will put the items back into forbidden city right?
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Old December 20th, 2006, 11:31 AM   #14
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Restoration Website
http://gjdx.dpm.org.cn/index.htm
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Old December 20th, 2006, 07:38 PM   #15
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Needs restoration
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Old April 26th, 2007, 06:48 PM   #16
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Old May 4th, 2007, 08:39 PM   #17
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Old May 6th, 2007, 06:46 PM   #18
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Oh if i go Beijing now... so dont get the chance to see the big hall??? so sad....
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Old May 6th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #19
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The renovation will take 10+ yrs to complete? must be a hugh project... China can build a super tall in 2 years.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 07:21 PM   #20
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It's a huge palace. They're renovating on a rotational basis, not all at once.
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