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Luoyang peony flowers displayed at Palace Museum

Spring has clearly arrived! Peony flowers from the Chinese city of Luoyang are being displayed alongside relics in the center of Beijing. The place is none other than the city’s top tourist attraction, the Palace Museum. Let’s take a closer look at the unique exhibition, which combines the beauty of scenery and the enduring charm of the museum’s treasures.

If you fancy peony flowers, the Palace Museum, better known as the Forbidden City for foreigners, is now the place to appreciate their beauty. Some 60 types of peony flowers from the city of Luoyang, well-known for breeding the best peony flowers of the country, are blooming inside the gardens of the museum. The ancient imperial architectural complex lends a unique backdrop to the beauty of the flowers.

“We’ve hosted around a thousand exhibitions over the past 90 years since the museum was founded, but an exhibition like this is first of its kind,” said Shan Jixiang, Director of Beijing’s Palace Museum.

The 186 pieces of artifacts on display have been chosen from a sea of relics hidden in the museum’s treasure trove. They include porcelains, paintings and silk products. The genres of artifacts are varied, but they have one thing in common ... all have peony flowers in their patterns. Some of these artifacts are being put on display for the first time.

“They are chosen from 150,000 artifacts collected by the museum. Peony is the symbol of wealth and nobility. If accompanied by different flowers, they symbolise different auspicious meanings. So it’s been a favorite theme with artists over time,” said Ruan Weiping, deputy researcher of Palace Museum.

Peony has also been dubbed as the national flower since China’s Ming and Qing dynasties. Peony breeds from Luoyang are honored as the best of all, with Emperor Yongzheng even writing a poem to praise them. The emperor’s dowager Cixi liked the flower so much that many of her clothes have been embroidered with them. Because the blooming season of peonies is short, this exhibition will only run until April 17. So those who are interested had better hurry to catch the exhibition.