Cultural exchange

Works from Beijing’s Palace Museum to travel to Berlin

An international deal signed by museum directors will bring Ming and Qing Dynasty portraits to Germany next year

Beijing’s Palace Museum will send a selection of Ming and Qing Dynasty portraits to Berlin’s Museum of Asian Art next September, following an international cooperation agreement signed by the Chinese museum’s director Shan Jixiang and Michael Eissenhauer, the director-general of the German state museums. The exhibition will also mark the 60th anniversary of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees the 20 National Museums in Berlin, as well as the Berlin State Library, the Prussian Secret State Archives and the State Institute for Music Research.

The two institutions also plan to publish a bilingual book about 18th-century Tibetan Buddhism that will include portraits of eminent Buddhist monks from the Palace Museum’s collection paired with images from the Qing imperial court of the Fifth Changkya Khutukhtu, the spiritual head of the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in Inner Mongolia, now held in Berlin’s Ethnology Museum.

The agreement was signed at the Sino-German Museums Forum held on 19 September, China News Net reports, where Shan presented the Palace Museum’s recent public outreach initiatives, including tangible and digital products such as expanding its visitor and exhibition areas, improved transparency, and themed stickers to be used on social media. Eissenhauer discussed the Humboldt Forum—a new museum for world cultures under construction on the site of the former Berlin City Palace that is due to open in 2019—and the development of the state museums into a comprehensive cultural complex.

The meeting also delved into relic protection and preservation, the restoration of historic buildings, the impact of private collections and museums, and museums’ role in public education. A second forum is due to be held next September in Berlin at the site of the Humboldt Forum. Also known as the Forbidden City, the Beijing Palace Museum’s already has partnerships in place with other major international museums, including the Louvre in Paris (since 2005), the British Museum in London and Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (both since 2006).