The Palace Museum
The Palace Museum

Visitor Information

The Palace Museum is housed in the former palace of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Popularly called The Forbidden City, the museum covers an area of 720,000 square meters. The collections comprise nearly a million art treasures spanning five thousand years of Chinese history with a rich concentration of art and artifacts from the Qing imperial court.

Open daily all year.
April 1stóOctober 31 8:30ó17:00
Last Entry at 16:10
Tickets sold until 16:00
November 1stóMarch 31 8:30ó16:30
Last Entry at 15:40
Tickets sold until 15:30

Current Exhibitions
Dynastic Paintings and Calligraphy throughout the Ages
The exhibition examines acclaimed paintings and calligraphy in chronological order from the third century to the early 20th century. Accompanied with these masterpieces are entries focusing on the feature of the times, change of styles, major schools, and famous artists. Due to conservation requirements, the works will be changed regularly. For this year:
The 1st rotation lasts from 21 Apr to 9 Jun
The 2nd rotation lasts from 15 Jul to 31 Aug
The 3rd rotation lasts from 15 Sep to 31 Oct

Dynastic Ceramics in the Collection of the Palace Museum
A total of 429 ceramic objects, representing a comprehensive history of the development of Chinese ceramics, comprise this permanent exhibition. The new exhibition incorporates the newest advancements in ancient ceramics research. Housed in an expanded exhibition space, the new exhibition utilizes electronic technology to better educate and interact with viewers. Optimal lighting allows viewers to see the objects more clearly. A specially designed electronic exhibition area, which includes educational films, touch screens and interactive games provide a fun learning experience for children and adults. Moreover, electronic touch screens located throughout the exhibition allow viewers to learn more about the displayed works. The Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua dian).

Splendors of Qing Imperial Costume
Clothing was one of most important cultural components in ancient China. People of different ranks and on different occasions followed a strict dress code, which reflected individualsí social rank and status. Because the dress code helped to maintain social order, it was used by rulers of all periods as a governing tool. The choice of material, style, color and decoration all followed a complicated and rigid set of customs. Moreover, craftsmanship adhered to high quality and aesthetic standards, which gave Qing dynasty court attire a stately and luxurious appearance. The exhibition features 105 sets of selected works of clothing, textiles, and accessories appropriate for different occasions. Open from 8 August 2008 to 8 November 2008, the Meridian Gate tower.

The Acme of Perfection: The Precious Collection of Palace Edition Books
In the Hall of Concentrated Doctrines (Ningdao dian), east side hall of the Hall of Martial Valor (Wuying dian), the exhibition features 40 types of "palace edition" books, focusing on the development of book printing industry in the Hall of Martial Valor for visitors to understand the activities and achievements of the court cultural governance of the Qing dynasty, and to have a glance at the acme of paper, ink, block-carving, collating, and binding techniques that have been lauded by predecessors.

Standardizing the Written Language: Dictionaries on Ethnic Languages from the Qing Palace
Thanks to the special cultural supporting policy, dictionaries on ethnic languages proliferated in the Qing dynasty, which was characterized by large inventory of words, comprehensive contents, various languages, varied editions, and colorful designs. Arranged in two sections, more than 40 dictionaries accompanied by the portraits of the ruling emperors are presented. Hall of Luminous Appeals (Huanzhang dian), west side hall of the Hall of Martial Valor (Wuying dian).

Qing Dynasty Court Insignia
In the corridors flanking the Xihemen which is to the west of the "Inner Golden Water River" (i.e. inside the Meridian Gate on the west) can be seen some of the grand canopies, fans and insignia that were used in imperial ritual.

Qing Dynasty Ritual Music
An exhibition on Qing dynasty court music is installed in the Pavilion of Spreading Righteousness (Hongyi ge) to the southwest of the great throne hall (Taihe dian). Music was an essential feature of court grand ceremonies The exhibition includes recordings of court music reconstituted from the Qianlong era (1736-1795) imperially authorized musical manuals.

Weapons of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
Established and ruled with horsemanship and archery, the Qing dynasty relied on weapons. Bows and arrows were primary, representing the so-called cold arms. Firearms became popular during the Kangxi reign (1662-1722) and played an important role in subsequent wars. Three sections-- Reviewing Troops, Hunting, and Weaponry-- display seventy artifacts including armor, saddles, horsewhips, equestrienne archery, bow and arrow containers, deer whistles, spears, guns, and cannons.

Long Live the Royal House: Treasures from the Qing Palace
Located in the north-south corridor rooms west of the Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe dian) down to the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian), the serial exhibition features different aspects of selected paraphernalia and collections of the Qing court, as well as donations from prominent connoisseurs. The exhibition is open all year round, with English signboards provided.

Memory of the Old Palace
On permanent display in the eastern corridor rooms of the Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe dian), this exhibition introduces the architectural significance, imperial customs and institutions as well as historical stories associated with different areas of the palace. This exhibition complements the exhibition of palace life in the western corridor rooms of the same building. Together these two exhibitions narrate a rich but intangible history through tangible remnants such as the magnificent architecture and exquisite rare book collection of the Forbidden City. In addition to more than 200 objects and 200 images, the exhibition also features a model of the Forbidden City architecture and a film titled, The Majestic Imperial Residence to create a comprehensive overview of the Forbidden City architecture.

Central inner court
Permanent Exhibition of the Qing Emperors' Grand Weddings (1644-1911)
The exhibition consists of four parts: Engagement; Grand Ceremony; Dowry and Wedding Presents; and Bridal Chamber Rituals. With the assistance of digital technology, these four parts present visitors with almost every aspect of Qing emperors' weddings in the east corridor of the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong).

Long Live the Emperor! Permanent Exhibition of Imperial Birthday Celebrations(1644-1911)
The imperial birthday was one of the most significant festivals in traditional China in which the whole country participated. The exhibition in the west corridor of the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) consists of the grand celebratory spectacles for three Qing emperors and two empress dowagers including the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1662-1722), the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795) and the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908).

West Palaces of the Inner Court
The Daily Life of Qing Dynasty Concubines
Palace of Eternal Longevity (Yongshou gong). Based on historical records, photographs, and fine objects, the exhibition illustrates the selection and certification of concubines, health, leisure, costumes, accessories, and the all-important registers of "appointments" with the emperor.

The Life of the Last Emperor Pu Yi
Ascending the throne as a toddler in 1908, Pu Yi was allowed to live in the Forbidden City after the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911. His life is chronicled in photographs and possessions on display in the Belvedere of Enchanting Scenery (Lijing xuan) located in the back courtyard of the Palace of Preserved Elegance (Chuxiu gong).

Ruling from behind the Screen: Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908)
Selected costumes, baubles and luxurious articles of daily used by the powerful Empress Dowager Cixi are on exhibition in the Palace of Universal Happiness (Xianfu gong).

East Palaces of the Inner Court
Purple Clay with Delicate Aroma: Zisha Ware from the Permanent Collection of the Palace Museum
The "unglazed purple clay", or zisha ware, is a cultural emblem of Yixing, a ceramic center in southeast China's Jiangsu province. The artifacts entered the imperial court beginning from the Wanli reign (1573-1620). The wonderful interpretations in clay and usefulness of the Yixing wares made them favourites at the imperial court. Hall for Abstinence (Zhai gong), Hall of Sincere Solemnity (Chengsu dian)

Hall of Donor Recognition
From the over twenty-thousand items presented to the museum over the decades, eighty important artifacts are on display, including bronze vessels, sculpture, ceramics, crafts, seals, calligraphy, and painting. Visitors can touch an inter-active computer screen to see the list of the donors and the circumstances of their gifts. Palace of Great Benevolence (Jingren gong), east route of Inner Court.

Bronze Mirrors of Past Dynasties from the Palace Museum
Roundels of polished bronze served as reflective surfaces for thousands of years before glass mirrors appeared in China at the end of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The backs of the mirrors were adorned with cast decorations that evolved over time and reflect some of the social and religious themes of each era. This chronological survey presents outstanding examples of bronze mirrors from the Warring States period (475-221 BCE) to the Qing dynasty. Palace of Eternal Harmony (Yonghe gong) and the Studio of Equal Obedience (Tongshun zhai).

Artifacts Donated by Zhang Naiqi
The exhibition featuring over ninety pieces of artworks donated by Mr. Zhang Naiqi (1897-1977), a nation acclaimed patriarch with profound traditional cultural knowledge and superb connoisseurship. Palace of Great Benevolence (Jingren gong).

Digital Painting and Calligraphy Gallery
On the second floor of the Center for Calligraphy and Painting Research in the Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi gong) are four computer screens with digital images of about 270 of the Palace Museum's finest paintings and calligraphic works. Using high-resolution photography, the images can be magnified dozens of times the original scale.
Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi gong).

Seeing the Large in the Small: Small-scale Landscape Paintings by Wang Hui (1632-1717)
This exhibition showcases more than fifty fan paintings and album leaves by Wang Hui (1632-1717). As one of the renowned landscape painters collectively called the ìFour Wangs,î Wang Huiís body of work includes many landscapes in the style of old masters, including numerous small paintings. Wang Hui was influenced by the theories of Dong Qichang (1555-1636). His small works followed the theory of ìseeing the large in the smallî by capturing the essence of ancient masterworks on a miniature scale. The practice of making small works not only established a painterís method and pictorial language, but also promoted interest in following the style of ancient masters, thereby making older painting styles the mainstream of Qing dynasty landscape painting.

The Glitter of Gold and Silver: Qing Imperial Gold and Silver Objects
The newly refurbished Palace of Great Brilliance (jingyan gong) now provides an ideal space for exhibiting gold and silver. Because the works in this exhibition represent a variety of functions, the exhibition is divided into four categories: religious sacrificial ware, decorative ware, articles for daily use, and dress and personal adornment. In addition to the 122 sets of objects, the exhibition also provides information on the technological process of making gold and silver objects.

Shards from Chinese Kiln Sites from the Palace Museum Collection
The Center for Ceramic Research, Hall of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi gong). The shards are arranged by their respective kiln sites and complemente the exhibition "Porcelains from Qing Imperial Kilns."

Imperial Porcelain with Royal Designs: Exhibition of Porcelain and Designs Dating to the Qing Dynasty Tongzhi and Guangxu Periods in the Collection of the Palace Museum
This exhibition is dedicated to an immediate comparison between the Qing royal designs and the corresponding porcelain ware, in particular, the porcelain ware for wedding ceremonies of the Tongzhi Emperor (r. 1862-1874) and the Guangxu Emperor (r. 1875-1908), for the birthday celebrations of the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908), and those with her private style name mark "Studio of Great Refinement" (Daya zhai). Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi Gong).

Early 20th Century Architectural Folly
From 1909 until 1911, a garden building with five pavilions and a below-ground aquarium was under construction on the old foundation of the Hall of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi gong). Popularly called the Crystal Palace (Shuijing gong), it features marble carving and cast iron of outstanding quality. The fantastic architecture was unfinished when the Qing dynasty fell.

Bronze Vessels from the Permanent Collection
A fine selection of ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou eras (first millennium B.C.E.) demonstrate the technological sophistication of early metal casting as well as the importance of these vessels in governance. Ink rubbings of the handsome inscriptions cast in the vessels are on display with transcriptions into modern Chinese and English translations. Palace of Celestial Favour (Chengqian gong).

Jade of a Prosperous Age: Jade Articles Made during the Qianlong Reign in the Collection of the Palace Museum
Chinese jade arts reached a peak of refinement in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The court of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795) created a quantity of carved jadeware, which catapulted jade arts to the pinnacle of popularity. The popular use of jadeware reflects various aspects of court culture, including daily life and sumptuary regulations. This exhibition includes 155 sets of jade objects, which provides a survey of the major types of jadeware and their functions at the Qianlong court. Palace of Accumulated Purity (Zhongcui gong).

Eastside of the Forbidden City
Hall of Clocks
The perennially popular display of clocks and timepieces from the Palace Museum collections, reinstalled with climate and temperature controls. Located to the northeast of the throne hall in the Hall for Ancestral Worship (Fengxian dian). On most days a selection of clocks will be "played" at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

Treasure Hall-Imperial Treasures and Ornaments
Located on the eastside of the Forbidden City in the corridors surrounding the Hall of Imperial Supremacy (Huangji dian), in the Hall of Cultivating One's Character (Yangxing dian), in the Hall of Joyful Longevity (Leshou tang), and in the Belvedere of Well-nourished Harmony (Yihe xuan).

The Stone Drums-Seal script of the Qin Dynasty
These historically important drum-shaped stones are carved with a form of Chinese script that was current in the third century BC. They are displayed on the eastside of the Forbidden City in the Hall of Imperial Supremacy's (Huangji dian) eastern corridor

Opera at the Qing Court
A colorful display of costumes, masks, props, and playbills from the opera troops in residence at the Qing court (1644-1911). The exhibition is located at the northeast corner of the Forbidden City in the Pavilion of Pleasant Sounds (Changyin ge) and the Hall for Viewing Opera (Yueshi lou).

From November 1 through March 31, admission is 40 rmb
From April 1 through October 31, admission is 60 rmb

1. Treasure Gallery and Clock Gallery require a separate ticket of 10 rmb respectively.
2. Children under 120 cm in height are free of charge.
3. Tickets of 20 rmb are available for elementary, middle school and university students with student identity card or certified letter from the school (including students from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, excluding graduate and adult education students).

Audio guides in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, and Thai are available at the Meridian Gate (Wu men) and the Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwu men). The deposit is 100 rmb for each. The rental fee is 40 rmb for each, except the Mandarin guide which is 10 rmb. Please return the audio guide before exiting.
Services include package check (Meridian gate, Wumen), gift shops, bookstores, refreshments and light meals, an Information Center in the Archery Pavilion (Jian ting), public address system.

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