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Palace Museum app shows world of the Five Dynasties

Ranked as the world’s most visited museum, Beijing’s Palace Museum has been putting a lot of effort into designing official merchandise and developing mobile apps.

Their latest app allows people to explore the painting, “The Night Revels of Han Xizai (韩熙载)”. And, rather than just looking at a still painting, the app, in true tech fashion, provides some interaction with it.

Using artists from Beijing, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the Palace Museum presents viewers with high-definition images, captivating performances and interactive scenes of the Five Dynasties period about 11-hundred years ago.

Han Xizai was a prominent official of the Southern Tang Dynasty. But, instead of focusing on political developments, he chose to while away his time with extravagant indulgences. The last emperor of the dynasty was suspicious of his lifestyle, so he dispatched the court painter to depict Han’s evening feasts.

“We have a group of historians and art scholars consulting for our work. Music is produced by professional musicians, and interactive User-Interface design is done by the China Central Academy of Fine Arts,” said Yu Zhuang, app developer team leader of Palace Museum.

Under the careful observation of painter Gu Hongzhong, the revealing details of the Night Revels were exposed, and peoples’ expressions were so vivid and true-to-life. In the picture, there are more than 40 figures, all betraying different expressions. The painting, indirectly, represents the lifestyle of the ruling class of that time.

“We have found this new way, with new technologies, to showcase our precious collection. It’s a completely different experience than looking at the tangible item, but they are equally interesting,” Yu said.

“The Night Revels of Han Xizai” is the fourth mobile application developed by the Palace Museum, the second released in English, and the first developed on the Android platform. The Palace Museum has also recently announced its 2015 schedule for application development, and the next one will be released soon after the Spring Festival in February this year.