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Palace Museum to rejuvenate traditional culture

You see before you hear; the spectacular imperial architecture in the Forbidden City amazes the world not only by its state of art craftsmanship, but also the splendid history of each country’s ups and downs. No matter how long you’ve been walking around here, tasting the story behind each and every object or a building might be the only magic to the interconnection with the past.

Two new books, The Forbidden City 100 and The Best Palace, were released at the Palace Museum on Nov 2, 2015. Both books, written by Chiu Kwong Chiu and published by the Forbidden City Publishing House, depict the Forbidden City and the stories of imperial families in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and they feature vivid illustrations.

Zhao Guoying, editor-in-chief of the Forbidden City Publishing House, said: “We publish the authoritative books with great facilities, but it is more difficult to publish a book about traditional culture targeting the public, especially children. We would like to do something for the children, but it is a way that is highly needed for the children to accept the traditional culture.”

The Forbidden City 100 illustrates the details of architectures in the Forbidden City.[Photo/cntv.cn]

The ancient palace has an important supporter in Hong Kong. Chiu, the director of Design and Cultural Studies Workshop in Hong Kong, has been in contact with the Palace Museum for seven years and has finally found a suitable way for children to understand the ancient relics and related stories.

“I believe that high technology won’t disturb the art itself. I used to encourage the member of my workshop to pick up a pen or a mouse to draw it out. Every tiny thing they discover, we used to have a conference or seminar to discuss why it is so lovely, so soft, so elegant. After that, we try to adjust it and then we put it in the direction of sharing,” Chiu said.

“We all want our children to love our own history, our own culture, so it is not a problem of linkage. It is the problem to discover the nature of a culture. Education is the most concern in every country.”

Zhao Guoying said: “Mr Chiu has spent seven or eight years studying the details on every aspect of the imperial palace. And he also interacted with the teenage students, which I think is the most important. So it is unprecedented that this book The Best Palace has been verified by target children themselves.”

The Best Palace makes use of vivid comics to attract children’s attention.[Photo/cntv.cn]

The Best Palace belongs to the Forbidden City Children’s Program, organized by Design and Cultural Studies Workshop and funded by the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation. It is hoped that it will become a new textbook among the domestic primary school students, beginning with the ones in Beijing.

Ted Lipman, Chief Executive Officer of the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation, said: “When we think of Chinese culture, we think it great, large, not just traditional culture, but also contemporary Chinese art as well. So we are very active supporting contemporary culture. We think that by doing this, we enable Chinese culture to globalize in a way that China is globalizing on the economic front, and in another way, through Chinese culture, we feel that the world will have a better understanding of China. And in case of these books, hopefully the younger Chinese will have a better understanding of their own history and their own traditions.”