Construction for the Hong Kong Palace Museum, which is expected to open in the West Kowloon Cultural District of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) by 2022, commenced on Monday.
The museum was designed under an agreement between the HKSAR and the Palace Museum located at Beijing’s Forbidden City in 2017, and once built, it will display treasures and cultural relics from the Forbidden City. The two museums will also cooperate in exhibitions, staff training and cultural communication.
The museum will have 7,600 square meters of gallery space dedicated to gold, bronze and jade items, paintings, and ceramic objects, as well as displays on life in the Imperial Court which will greatly enrich the museum experience. Other museum facilities include a 400-seat lecture theater, activity rooms, a restaurant and shop for cultural creative productions.
According to the agreement, the relics on display at the Hong Kong Palace Museum will be divided into two categories generally, according to their loan terms. Relics of long-term exhibitions will be on display for at least a year, or extended if necessary. There will be at least 600 pieces of relics in this category.
In an interview with Shan Jixiang, curator of the Palace Museum in Beijing ahead of the ground-breaking ceremony, he said he hopes that the Hong Kong Palace Museum will become a culturally agreeable museum, adding more charm to the “Pearl of the Orient”.
Shan also promised that the Palace Museum in Beijing will transfer a large number of relics with high historical, scientific and artistic values to Hong Kong. They will also study the tastes of Hong Kong residents, and therefore hold exhibitions based on their aspirations.
He added that there are quite a number of Hong Kong graduate students working at the Palace Museum as interns, who currently have the chance of learning cultural repairs, relics authentications and explanations.
“I was deeply touched by their reflections and feelings after the internship. There are an increasing number of Hong Kong scholars paying attention to the culture of the Palace Museum,” said Shan.
The cooperation agreement was signed by Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Hong Kong’s chief secretary for administration and chairman of the board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and Curator Shan Jixiang last year.
President Xi Jinping also attended the ceremony while he was in Hong Kong for the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.