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Royal jewelry exhibition aims to tell East-West stories

2012/06/07 19:03:38

Taipei, June 7 (CNA) An exhibition of court jewelry from the East and West, which will open in Taipei on the weekend, aims to tell the story of the two regions and the interaction between them at the end of the 19th century, the organizers said Thursday.

The exhibition, to be held June 9-Sept. 9 at the National Palace Museum, will display 475 sets and pieces of jewelry, ranging from pearl beaded court necklaces and coral and ivory hair pins to diamond brooches, jade scent bottles and scroll tiaras.

Titled "Royal Style: Qing Dynasty and Western Court Jewelry," the exhibition features jewelry used by court members in that dynasty and by European nobility, dating back to the 19th century.

"We hope to show the unique culture behind the jewelry and bring out the stories of Western and Eastern nobilities, whether it’s the story of Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, his empress Wanrong, or the Duchess of Windsor," said Chou Kung-shin, director of the museum.

"We hope visitors will be able to see the role that jewelry played in these societies and how the interaction between the East and the West at the end of the 19th century gave birth to diverse jewelry styles," she said.

Two of the major pieces that will be displayed is a summer court hat for imperial concubines in the Qing Dynasty, decorated with seven Oriental Pearl-embellished phoenixes and a 1928 diamond necklace that features the seventh-largest diamond in the world.

Another Qing Dynasty piece, a gold hairpin with a butterfly-shaped finial, demonstrates the highly developed techniques of metal work and design at the time, according to the museum.

The exhibition also features Eastern jewelry that incorporates Western techniques and themes such as chime clocks with colorful gems, diamonds, bright enamel and Western scroll patterns, said the museum.

The exhibition will be jointly presented by the National Palace Museum, China's Shenyang Palace Museum and the Cartier Collection.

Yang Xiaodong, deputy director of the Shenyang Palace Museum, said dialogue between the East and the West has become an "unavoidable" world trend.

She said she hopes her museum and the National Palace Museum will "join hands to promote the beauty of Chinese culture to the world."

The Shenyang museum provided 69 of the Qing displays, offering a more complete picture of court jewelry of that period, according to the National Palace Museum.

(By Christie Chen)