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Heart of Forbidden City to have facelift
Latest Updated by 2006-03-30 10:49:50
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After three centuries, Hall of Supreme Harmony, the heart of the Forbidden City, is to receive its first facelift.

The palace, commonly known as the Jinluan Palace, which housed the highest-ranking events the crowning of emperors and the declaration of wars during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties and thus had the greatest political importance of all buildings in the royal palatial complex.

The renovation will begin when Chinese and Italian conservation experts have completed damage assessments in June, said Jin Hongkui, deputy director of the Palace Museum, the administrative arm of the Forbidden City.

"We want to restore it to its original glory at the height of the Qing Dynasty in the late 17th and 18th centuries by the time the renovation is complete in 2007," he told China Daily.

"This vast building has never been touched, except for minor maintenance work, since it was rebuilt in 1697 after being burnt down in a fire," he said. "So we are very careful about how we handle it."

Experts from both the Palace Museum and the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage are checking the conservation status of the building's framework, roof, supporting pillars, the tiles on its top, the slabs on its floor, and the colourful paintings under its eaves, the hardwood throne and silk screens.

 

"For each single piece of the palace we have to decide the specific materials and methods to be applied on its cleaning and conservation," said Li Yongnian, a chief conservationist at the Palace Museum.

Two of the four sides of the wooden palace's arched roof are sinking, while the glazed tiles and supporting pillars also need urgent attention.

"We will mainly use centuries-old renovation skills as well as cutting-edge technologies from our Italian colleagues," said Li.


Emperor's seat inside the hall

"Fortunately we have families in our renovation team who have worked for hundreds of years on these palaces. The skills that our ancestors used in building the palace have almost all been handed down," he noted.

Renovations have been in full swing at the Forbidden City since 2002, with works touching 17 palaces and gardens.

Editor: Wing

By: Source: China Daily Website
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