Emperor Looks West image

The Emperor Looks West

On view September 23, 2006

Located in the: Online Interactive

Art has been used to mark important events throughout the history of nations. In China, some of the finest examples have emerged from palace workshops. In this exhibition, an exquisite court painting from the 18th century--on view for the first time in a U.S. museum--shows a banquet in the Forbidden City celebrating Emperor Qianlong’s military victory in a region of western China. "Victory Banquet at the West Garden” (19’w x 20”h), which once belonged to former French President, Paul Doumer, is painted in ink, color, and gold on silk in the traditional hand scroll format. Other objects, including a dazzling European-style clock; a Mughal jade bowl; ceramics; enamels, and cloisonné, reflect the range of international influences that helped shape imperial art during the Qianlong era.

Explore the interactive scroll.  Highlights include details of the imperial barge, the Qianlong emperor arriving on a sedan chair, lavish Central Asian carpets and a monumental Mongolian yurt that served as a temporary outdoor throne room.

View the Automation clock movie.  Launch the Movie link to experience the clock’s delightful performance: the central doors open and close, peacocks flap their wings, flowers twirl and figures appear and disappear, all to the accompaniment of delicately chiming music.