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Zheng Xinmiao
    2010-02-04 17:23:55     CRIENGLISH.com

Many people throughout the world know the famous Forbidden City in Beijing,which is also known as the Imperial Palace or Palace Museum. Its contribution to the cultural legacy of China, and indeed the world, was recognized by UNESCO around twenty years ago. On today's program we'll introduce you to the director of the grand Museum, Zheng Xinmiao. 

He Fei has more.

Zheng Xinmiao [Photo: ccnt.gov.cn]


The Forbidden City was the imperial palace of two consecutive dynasties - the Ming and the Qing. In 1925, the Palace Museum was established on the site of the original imperial palace. Besides the magnificent buildings, the Museum also holds imperial collections of paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and decorative objects. It is one of the most prestigious museums in the world and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

63-year-old Zheng Xinmiao has been head of the Palace Museum for 8 years. As the former deputy Minister of Culture of China, Zheng Xinmiao treasures the Palace Museum more than anybody else.

"The Museum has an unceasing and increasing importance. It showcases the 5000-year old culture of China. Both its architecture and the cultural relics are an indispensable part of the culture."

Zheng Xinmiao says despite the fame it enjoys, he still needs to do more work to showcase the importance of the Museum.

"We need to do more publicity work. Ordinary people usually only know that the museum houses a lot of treasures. Few have a deep understanding of the value of the museum itself."

Zheng Xinmiao explains the value of the museum isn't just the Chinese culture and history displayed by the items it collects. For example; He says people should know the story behind the ceramics exhibits when they view them. So, the museum is opening more professional exhibitions featuring various ancient Chinese periods of history than before to give ordinary people opportunities to learn more.

"Now we are doing more professional exhibitions with diverse cultural features. For example we give treasure exhibitions in our treasure house, to let people see the invaluable cultural treasures from ancient China. We also have a special ceramics house, which, if I may be so bold as to say, is really unique, so unique that the former head of the museum also thinks highly of it. We have also opened to the public the paintings and calligraphy houses."

Zheng Xinmiao says an essential function of a museum is holding exhibitions. So, their museum has been planning to build an underground exhibition center. And they have conducted studies for the plan, but it is currently on hold due to the opposition of some experts. However, Zheng Xinmiao says building a grand and professional exhibition center will always be their target.

With the exhibition center, Zheng Xinmiao says he needs to make more efforts to draw people's attention to ancient Chinese culture.

"Besides the most important function of a museum, say, giving exhibitions, I think the Palace Museum needs to be enhanced in terms of social education. We should undertake more work to educate people, to let them know about Chinese history and culture, as well as the special position and meaning of the Palace Museum as a national art and culture center."

Zheng Xinmiao feels he is facing a great challenge to lead the museum to act as a culture ambassador advocating more people to respect to their own history and culture. He says, only if Chinese respect their own culture, can non-Chinese be expected to do the same.

For China Now, I'm He Fei.



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